March 13, 1998
Head Coach: Joe Tiller (Montana State, 1965) O-(765) 494-3220 or 3224 Record at Purdue: 9-3 (One Year) Career Collegiate Record: 48-33-1 (Seven Years)
Offense: Scott Downing (Sterling College, 1979)-assistant head coach, running backs, special teams Jim Chaney (Central Missouri State, 1984)-co-offensive coordinator, offensive line, recruiting Danny Hope (Eastern Kentucky, 1981)-offensive line Greg Olson (Central Washington, 1986)-quarterbacks Kevin Sumlin (Purdue, 1987), receivers
Defense: Brock Spack (Purdue, 1984)-defensive coordinator, linebackers Tim Burke (Luther College, 1977)-defensive backs Randy Melvin (Eastern Illinois, 1982)-defensive ends Gary Emanuel (Plymouth State, 1982)-defensive tackles
1997 Overall Record: 9-3, Alamo Bowl Champion, Ranked 15th in both polls 1997
Big Ten Record (Place): 6-2 (Tie for Second)
Offensive Formation: One-back, pro-set
Defensive Formation: 4-3
Lettermen Returning/Lost: 41/18
Starters Returning/Lost: 11/11
Offensive Starters Returning: 4 WR Isaac Jones, WR Gabe Cox, C Jim Niedrach, OG Chukky Okobi
Offensive Starters Lost: 7 WR Brian Alford, QB Billy Dicken, RB Edwin Watson, OT Mark Fischer, OG Brian Nicley, OT Dan Maly, TE Jon Blackman
Defensive Starters Returning: 7 DE Rosevelt Colvin, DE Chukie Nwokorie, MLB Willie Fells, OLB Willie Burroughs, CB Mike Hawthorne, CB Lamar Conard, FS Adrian Beasley
Defensive Starters Lost: 4 SS Lee Brush, DT Leo Perez, DT Greg Smith, OLB Mike Rose Kickers Returning: 2
PK Shane Ryan, P Danny Rogers
Kickers Lost: 2
P Brandon Kaser, KO Chris Arnce
Purdue enjoyed one of those storybook seasons in 1997 that Hollywood dreams are made of. The Boilermakers, behind the leadership of new coach Joe Tiller's staff, turned around their fortunes which resulted in a 9-3 season, second-place Big Ten tie (6-2 mark), final ranking of 15th in the national polls and a victory in the Builders Square Alamo Bowl. It was the Old Gold and Black's first winning season and bowl appearance since 1984, and highest national finish since 1979. The 9-3 record was the nation's second-best turnaround (from a 3-8 record in 1996).
Purdue led the Big Ten in passing (285.2 yards per game) and total offense (459.2) in 1997. It ranked seventh in the NCAA in total offense, 13th in passing and 22nd in scoring (33.0). The opportunistic defense helped the team lead the conference and rank ninth in the country in turnover margin with a school-record plus-14 total. Boiler fans took notice in a big way, averaging 51,690 fans per home game, an increase of 14.1 percent over 1996 and the highest average since 1988.
Tiller, who recently had his contract extended through the 2003 season after winning National and Big Ten Coach-of-the-Year honors, welcomes back 41 lettermen and 11 starters for the start of spring practice. A highly-regarded recruiting class will join them in the fall, although five junior college transfers already are on campus and will take part in spring drills.
Seven returning defensive starters provide high hopes for the stop troops. The secondary and linebackers each lost only one player, and the line lost both tackles. End Rosevelt Colvin (second team All-Big Ten), middle linebacker Willie Fells (ranked third in the Big Ten in tackles), outside linebacker Willie Burroughs (198 career tackles), cornerback Mike Hawthorne (team's best cover man) and free safety Adrian Beasley (Alamo Bowl Defensive MVP) are the featured defenders.
The offense must be retooled as only four regulars return. All-America receiver Brian Alford, record-setting quarterback Billy Dicken, the top two running backs, one tight end and three interior linemen must be replaced. Center Jim Niedrach (honorable mention All-Big Ten), guard Chukky Okobi, and fleet receivers Isaac Jones, Donald Winston, Gabe Cox and Vinny Sutherland provide high hopes for another prolific offense.
Two of four kickers will be back. Placekicker Shane Ryan (Purdue's No. 2 scorer in 1997) and punter Danny Rogers are solid returnees.
"We need to address our personnel at several positions this spring, especially offensively," Tiller said. "The defense returns basically intact so it should be stronger and more physical. We need to overhaul the offense but we feel good based on the players who will return. Our wide receivers should be talented and our running back mix will be interesting. The kicking game will be less of a question mark than it was last spring. We are anxious to see how our young players and newcomers will respond."
1998 PURDUE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE Aug. 30 at Pigskin Classic vs. USC 11:30 a.m. PDT (ABC-TV) Sept. 12 RICE TBA Sept. 19 CENTRAL FLORIDA TBA (Band Day, Parents' Day) Sept. 26 at Notre Dame 1:30 p.m. EST (NBC-TV) Oct. 3 MINNESOTA TBA (P-Awards, Hall of Fame) Oct. 10 at Wisconsin TBA Oct. 17 at Penn State TBA Oct. 24 ILLINOIS TBA (Homecoming) Oct. 31 IOWA TBA Nov. 7 at Northwestern TBA Nov. 14 at Michigan State TBA Nov. 21 INDIANA TBA
Times tentative and subject to change. The earliest kickoff is 11:20 a.m. EST.
1998 Purdue Alphabetical Football Roster Updated Feb. 26, 1998 No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Elig. Hometown (High School) 96 *Allen, Ian DT 6-4 260 So. Fairburn, Ga. (Westlake) 33 Austin, Da'Shann CB 5-10 175 Jr. Liberty, Mo. (Coffeyville, Kan., C.C.) 7 **Beasley, Adrian SS 6-0 195 Jr. Atlanta, Ga. (Douglass) 28 *Bell, Henry CB 5-11 180 Sr. Los Angeles, Calif. (Montclair Prep) 53 *Berch, David LB 6-4 225 So. Alta Loma, Calif. (LaVerne Damien) 42 *Botts, Brent DT 6-3 255 So. Cincinnati, Ohio (LaSalle) 15 *Brees, Drew QB 6-1 200 So. Austin, Tex. (Westlake) 22 Bunten, Aaron K 5-9 185 So. Danville, Ind. (Brownsburg) 23***Burroughs, Willie LB 5-11 200 Sr. Punta Gorda, Fla. (Charlotte) 85 *Clopton, Chris WR/RB 5-7 163 So. Lynwood, Ill. (Thornton Fractional South) 73 Cohen, David OL 6-4 298 Jr. Ballwin, Mo. (Lafayette) 59***Colvin, Rosevelt DE 6-3 245 Sr. Indianapolis, Ind. (Broad Ripple) 22 **Conard, Lamar DB 5-10 197 Jr. Elkhart, Ind. (Central) 8 *Cox, Gabe WR 5-10 190 Sr. Tucson, Ariz., Mountain View 43 Crabtree, J. RB 5-9 205 Jr. Wichita, Kan. (Coffeyville, Kan., C.C.) 20 **Daniels, Chris WR 6-3 202 Jr. Clearwater, Fla. (Clearwater) 99 Davies, Kurt LB 6-3 230 So. Evansville, Ind. (Central) 50 Dinkins, Brian DE 6-2 250 So. Indianapolis, Ind. (Arlington) 38 *Doe, Brady DB 6-1 175 So. Tucson, Ariz. (Sabino) 40 **Fells, Willie LB 6-1 215 Jr. Palatka, Fla. (Palatka) 87 *Foggio, Rocco DE 6-4 260 So. Farmington, Mich. (Brother Rice) 95 Goatley, Jody DE 6-4 250 So. Hickory, Ky. (Graves County) 94 *Gorin, Brandon OT 6-6 270 So. Muncie, Ind. (Southside) 31 Graham, Tarah RB 5-8 193 Sr. Wentzville, Mo. (Wentzville) 30 *Gustin, Billy DB 6-2 195 Sr. Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (St. Thomas Aquinas) 16 ***Haddad, Eric RB 6-1 235 Sr. Westlake, O. (Cleveland St. Ignatius) 11 **Hawthorne, Mike DB 6-3 195 Jr. Sarasota, Fla. (Booker) 25 Jackson, Cliff WR 5-10 180 Jr. Chico, Calif. (Butte, Calif., College) 26 Jacquay, Bryan DB 5-7 154 Jr. Decatur, Ind. (Bellmont) 24 Johnson, Dondre RB 6-0 205 R-Fr. Kokomo, Ind. (Kokomo) 35 ***Johnson, Lee LB 6-0 220 Sr. Palatka, Fla. (Palatka) 6 ***Jones, Isaac WR 6-0 195 Sr. Wallingford, Pa. (Strath Haven) 32 ***Jones, Noble SLB 6-1 245 Sr. Atlanta, Ga. (Douglass) 72 Kirkpatrick, Josh DT 6-1 260 R-Fr. Veedersburg, Ind. (Fountain Central) 66 Koppen, Brian OL 6-6 290 R-Fr. Carpentersville, Ill. (Dundee-Crown) 2 Kurz, Scott PK/P 6-1 170 R-Fr. Bloomington, Ill. (Central Catholic) 84 Lane, Randall WR 6-1 205 Jr. Chicago, Ill. (Los Angeles, Calif., Valley J.C.) 57 **Lee, Ray LB 6-1 225 Jr. Indianapolis, Ind. (Cathedral) 91 *Light, Matt TE 6-4 255 So. Greenville, Ohio (Greenville Senior) 88 Loerzel, Jason LB 6-3 195 R-Fr. Park Ridge, Ill. (Maine South/Milford Academy, Ct.) 41 *Ludwig, Matt RB 6-0 225 So. Lemont, Ill. (Lemont) 86 Miles, Cortez WR 5-10 175 R-Fr. Irving, Tex. (MacArthur) 13 Mitchell, Jim QB 6-3 190 R-Fr. Florissant, Mo. (Hazelwood Central) 74 Mitrione, Matt DT 6-3 260 R-Fr. Springfield, Ill. (Sacred Heart-Griffin) 58 *Moore, Warren DE 6-2 260 So. Memphis, Tenn. (Whitehaven) 17 Neal, Antoine DB 5-9 185 So. Indianapolis, Ind. (Lawrence North) 63 *Niedrach, Jim C 6-3 275 Jr. LaGrange, Ga. (LaGrange) 82 **Nugent, David DT 6-5 280 Jr. Collierville, Tenn. (Germantown Houston) 49 ***Nwokorie, Chukie DE 6-3 260 Sr. Lafayette, Ind. (Jefferson) 56 *Okobi, Chukky OL 6-2 310 So. Hamden, Conn. (Trinity-Pawling, N.Y.) 29 Pernick, Matt WR 5-10 170 So. Lowell, Ind. (Lowell) 90 Randolph, Chris TE 6-5 240 R-Fr. Memphis, Tenn. (Wooddale) 26 **Rogers, Danny P 5-10 193 Jr. Sanibel, Fla. (Cypress Lake) 70 Rufolo, Sean DT 6-3 270 R-Fr. Mokena, Ill. (Lincoln Way) 18 **Ryan, Shane K 5-9 170 Jr. The Woodlands, Tex. (McCullough) 17 Smith, Ben QB/S 6-3 185 R-Fr. Chadron, Neb. (Chadron) 60 *Standifer, Andy LS 6-1 215 So. North Judson, Ind. (North Judson-San Pierre) 19 Starling, R'Kes CB 5-8 175 R-Fr. Arlington, Tex. (Sam Houston) 75 Starnes, Aaron OL 6-3 310 Jr. Shawnee, Kan. (Shawnee Mission Northwest) 37 *Stelma, Todd DB 5-11 185 Sr. Goshen, Ind. (Goshen) 89 Stratton, Tim TE 6-4 215 R-Fr. Oak Brook, Ill. (Elmhurst York) 14 *Sutherland, Vinny WR 5-10 185 So. West Palm Beach, Fla. (Palm Beach Lakes) 9 *Tolbert, Robert WR 6-1 195 Jr. Memphis, Tenn. (Whitehaven) 69 Treutelaar, Justin OL 6-1 240 R-Fr. Libertyville, Ill. (Libertyville) 61 Turpin, Steve DL 6-3 240 R-Fr. Lafayette, Ind. (McCutcheon) 48 Upshur, Tim LB 6-2 210 R-Fr. Trenton, N.J. (Hamilton West) 65 **VanderWeele, Pete OT 6-5 290 Sr. Fort Wayne, Ind. (Homestead) 46 *Vaughan, Tom DB 6-0 185 So. Lafayette, Ind. (Central Catholic) 90 Williams, Derrick DT 6-4 300 Jr. Houston, Tex. (Tyler, Tex., J.C.) 1 **Winston, Donald WR 5-7 155 Jr. Indianapolis, Ind. (Scecina) 44 *Withers, Doug LB 6-2 235 Jr. South Pasadena, Calif. (South Pasadena) 47 ***Zurba, Chris DE 6-3 245 Sr. Streamwood, Ill. (Streamwood) *Indicates varsity letters won