The 2012 football season taught the Purdue team many lessons that will translate to this fall’s performance.
Looking back at the missteps and mistakes that were made by last year’s squad began as soon as Purdue replaced Danny Hope with current coach Darrell Hazell. Hazell, along with his staff, have brought the mentality of ‘winning’ to a program that went 17-21 over the past three seasons. When asked at Big Ten Media Day what the biggest change for this upcoming season was, senior cornerback Ricardo Allen replied with one word: “win.”
Holding the players accountable for their actions was something stressed at Big Ten Media Day this summer. The Purdue representatives were Allen, defensive tackle Bruce Gaston and tight end Gabe Holmes.
“Players need to be more accountable,” said Allen. “No matter what the coaches call, no matter what the coaches do, at the end of the day the players are (the ones) playing.”
Discipline is another factor into the idea of the team being held accountable for its actions. When Holmes talked about how the team will be different in the fall, he stressed how discipline has already begun to impact the team. “Our togetherness ... we win as a team and we lose as a team,” said Holmes.
Allen reiterated what Holmes said about the team being held accountable. “We were a very immature team last year,” said Allen. “We have developed to be more mature and developed to be deep as a team.”
The maturity of the team may not be questioned after the announcement of senior quarterback Rob Henry as the starter and Allen, also a senior anchoring the defense.
Gaston said the players have “bought into the system,” and is a part of the success that Hazell has already brought to the team. It is essential for having the support of the players, which translates to success on the field. Gaston continued to repeat that same sentiment when talking about Hazell’s plan.
“I really wanted to go along with it,” said Gaston.
With the team buying into the idea of winning, the performance on the field is now the only piece that needs to be proven.