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October 14, 2012
Listen: Coach Danny Hope before practice
A "normal" number on missed tackles in a game is about 10 percent of total plays.
That would have been about eight for Purdue against Wisconsin on Saturday.
The Boilermakers had 27, Coach Danny Hope said. Though Montee Ball and James White can do plenty to make defenders miss, they also had some help in racking up 371 rushing yards between them.
No wonder, then, tackling was Hope's area of greatest concern coming off a 38-14 loss.
"That was a real difference-maker in the ball game," Hope said. "It was one reason why they were able to pile on so many rushing yards. So missed tackles is a huge concern. Some of that is a result of being mis-aligned and mis-assigned. We were very poor from a defensive standpoint throughout the course of the game from an alignment standpoint. We made some errors from an assignment standpoint moreso than we have throughout the course of the season. I don't know why. We thought we had a good game plan, practiced well and obviously we didn't play as well as we needed to."
Hope also lamented the team's tackling after a loss to Michigan the previous week. The Wolverines had a dynamic player, too, in quarterback Denard Robinson, who rushed for 235 yards against the Boilermakers.
Next up is Ohio State and its Heisman candidate QB Braxton Miller, who has blossomed in Urban Meyer's system to become a dual-threat quarterback. Miller is seventh in the FBS in total offense with 2,183 yards and second to only Northern Illinois' Jordan Lynch in rushing yards by a QB (912).
"We have to get it corrected because you've already potentially got yourself beat on a play when you don't line up right or don't have your assignments correct," Hope said.
Mostert injured his right knee when he was tackled awkwardly to end a 57-yard kickoff return.
Freshman Danny Anthrop took Mostert's place alongside Akeem Hunt as a return man, but Hope said a decision hasn't been made yet on who will have that job against the Buckeyes.
O.J. Ross likely would have went in on Saturday but had turf toe, and Antavian Edison and Akeem Shavers are other options. But so is Anthrop.
"Danny is very reliable catching the kicks and he's also very reliable as the off-returner," Hope said. "The off-returner has to catch the ones they don't kick to the main returner, but he also has to do some communication and choreograph things back there. He also has to be a guy who can throw his body in there and mop up whoever comes through the cracks. He's very courageous, so I think he'll do a good job. Whether or not, he's the guy or not, I don't know. But he certainly is one of the guys."
Though Mostert hasn't been much of a factor on offense in his second season - he has yet to catch a pass - he has been utilized as a running back some. So in his absence, it's possible quarterback Rob Henry will get more snaps, Hope said.
"I thought he did a good job of brining a new dimension to the field in a lot of ways," Hope said of Henry's performance against the Badgers. "He's a skill player. He's one that can fit in any one of them spots."
TerBush was on the field for Purdue's first five drives before Robert Marve came into the game for the final two possessions of the half. TerBush started the second half, but the offense managed negative-15 yards on three series before Henry finished the game.
"I don't know with the weather being like it was it would have been better just leaving Caleb in there and keeping him warm," Hope said. "I didn't think his performance was a detriment. I know he threw a pick and the ball was a little high, probably could have caught it. I don't know that pulling him out and having him sit out all that time and putting him back in later on in the second half, that's a long time to sit out as a quarterback. He was significantly less-effective performance-wise in the second half than he was in the first half. I don't know why. Maybe he was out for too long.
"Not taking anything away from the other quarterbacks, but we probably didn't do Caleb TerBush any favors. When we took him out, it wasn't that he had done anything wrong. Robert's a really good player and wanted him to get in some. He pitched around and did some things but, again, he got himself in a situation where it'd been a lot better off if he'd thrown the ball away."
Hope said he hasn't decided on a rotation plan - if there is one - for Ohio State.
The Boilermakers had negative-three yards on 13 carries in the first half. The fourth quarter skewed the numbers - 4.6 yards per carry for the game - when Hunt had an 81-yard touchdown and Shavers got untracked on Henry-led option-read plays.
But with only 128 yards rushing, Purdue has averaged only 111 yards rushing per game over the last three.
"We didn't do very well running the football," Hope said of the team's effort against Wisconsin. "We had some concerns coming into the ballgame being able to manufacture some run with the size of their defensive line and the quality of their linebackers. Their linebackers are outstanding. They're two or three of the top linebackers in our league. So we have to block a lot better against good defensive linemen and very accurate and active linebackers. We didn't manufacture a whole lot of run game this past Saturday."
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