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September 25, 2012
Top 25 talk: Hope says Purdue worthy
Purdue may only be receiving votes in the national polls this week - in the Associated Press and the coaches' poll - but Coach Danny Hope has no doubt his team has top 25 talent.
"I think we're potentially a very good football team," Hope said during his weekly Tuesday press conference. "I'm excited about the way we've played so far. If you look at our stats and our numbers and how we compare to other teams in our league at this point in time, I think the competition has been comparable. We've played a top-10 team in Notre Dame and played them well and had chances to win at their place. We've also played some MAC level teams and we've won and won big. Against teams we were supposed to beat, we beat them like we were supposed to beat them. I look at the stats, and I see where we're at, and we're at the upper half in the league in almost every statistical category and ranked in the top two or three in many statistical categories.
"I think we're playing like a good football team early in the season. The key for us as a football team is to continue to get better. Our players can see where we're at and they can see the scores. They can compare where we're at to other teams. We know if we continue to improve, we're going to be a hard outfit to beat.
"I think we're a top 25 football team and if we continue to improve, we'll certainly be a top 25 football team."
Purdue hasn't been ranked in the AP poll since Oct. 1, 2007, and the last time it'd received votes in the AP poll was Nov. 4, 2007.
Hope said he doesn't have a vote in the coaches' poll, but if he did, he "certainly would have" ranked the Boilermakers.
Starting quarterback Caleb TerBush echoed his coach's sentiment, saying he thinks Purdue has enough playmakers and maturity to continue to prove the team is worthy of a ranking.
"We've been confident the whole way," TerBush said. "We feel like we can hang with anybody."
Kawann Short and his defensive teammates have a lot to do with Purdue's confidence level being high. The Boilermakers rank among the top 25 among 120 FBS schools in total defense (17th), scoring defense (19th), sacks (19th) and rushing defense (25th).
But Short isn't entirely impressed with those numbers, saying the defensive players can continue to be more sound and limit missed assignments. If those improvements are made, then he's ready to shoot Purdue up into the rankings.
"I feel like we're working our way up there," he said.
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