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Purdue Boilermakers Offensive Scouting Report

By Rob Trimber | September 04
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Purdue's Deion Burks catching a pass over Fresno State's Carlton Johnson, via Journal & Courier

Purdue Boilermakers offense: Air Raid Scheme

Offensive Coordinator: Graham Harrell

Impact players:

QB Hudson Card

RB Devin Mockobee

WR Deion Burks

Virginia Tech will see a familiar face this Saturday. Purdue offensive coordinator, Graham Harrell, is starting his first year in the role at Purdue along with their head coach, Ryan Walters. Harrell is coming from West Virginia where he had the same role. He brings along with him the same air raid scheme Virginia Tech faced when they played West Virginia last season. With this scheme, Purdue likes to stretch the field with 3 or 4 wide receivers in formation. They run an assortment of run-pass-options with a mobile QB. They also like to throw it downfield as much as possible. However, much like the Hokies saw against West Virginia, Purdue wants to run the ball between the tackles as well.

Despite Purdue's loss to Fresno State in week 1, their offense still put up 35 points. The Boilermakers displayed a potent passing attack lead by transfer QB, Hudson Card, from Texas. Card was able to hook up with standout wide receiver, Deion Burks, for 2 touchdowns and 152 yards. This includes the below first quarter catch where Burks caught a slant route, broke a few tackles, and showed his break away speed for an 84 yard touchdown.

Burks is a dangerous weapon and certainly one the Virginia Tech defense should be keying in on to stop the Boilermakers. He is the primary weapon they like to use to stretch the field, which is an important aspect of the air raid offense. Overall, Hudson Card threw for 254 yards. He also added 29 yards on the ground. He is not a scrambler, but he is more than willing to tuck and run.

The Run Game

As previously mentioned, Purdue wants to run the ball well inside. They have a powerful running back in Devin Mockobee and a mobile QB with Card. The problem is they struggled to do so against Fresno State. In the second half, Purdue had a 28-17 lead, but they failed to establish a ground game and allowed Fresno State to comeback and win. Mockobee carried the ball 16 times for 60 yards for an average of 3.8 yards per carry. The problem lies in Purdue's offensive line. Their guards and center are inexperienced and last Saturday was the first time all 5 starters had played together. Their center, Austin Johnson, is a transfer from Colorado. Additionally, he was expected to be Purdue's third string center. But injuries to the starter and backup in camp, have forced Johnson into the starting position. Center is the most important piece of an offensive line. Having a guy there that knows the scheme and the players around him is critical. It could be a real struggle for the Purdue running game. Despite that, Virginia Tech showed against ODU that their interior run defense is a weakness. So, Purdue will likely try to exploit that and build chemistry for their struggling offensive line in the process. I would expect a heavy dose of Mockobee up the middle early in this game. The Hokies defense must be ready to further frustrate Purdue's run game.

Keys to Defensive Success

We know Purdue wants to run the ball up the middle. The key will be to shut that down and make Purdue a one-dimensional offense. Then the Hokies can focus on covering Burks and rushing the passer. Virginia Tech showed that the strength of their defense is the pass rush and secondary. Thus, they need to make Purdue play to the defense's strength. This should be a good test of the secondary because Purdue's strength is their passing game. This might bode well for Tech, but they need to be ready for the run. Graham Harrell will likely see this as a "get right" game for his offensive line's run blocking. If Virginia Tech does not allow the Boilermakers to "get right", then the Hokies have a good chance at victory.

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