Purdue AD issues statement on football program

Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke is looking for a strong

finish after the school’s football team got off to a disappointing

start.

He issued a one-paragraph written statement on Monday

acknowledging that even though this season’s results have not

matched the university’s high expectations, he hoped to see

stronger performances as the Boilermakers fight to become

bowl-eligible over the last four regular-season games.

”Everyone around our football program has high expectations for

the 2012 season,” Burke said. ”We have worked very hard over the

past four years to improve our personnel, facilities and every

phase of our program, which is evident.”

He did not mention coach Danny Hope by name, but it’s clear he

expects to see better performances in November.

Hope was not available for comment Monday, though he is expected

to hold his weekly news conference Tuesday.

The fourth-year coach and hand-picked successor to Joe Tiller,

the winningest coach in school history, agreed to a two-year

contract extension in December after leading the Boilermakers to a

bowl game for the first time in his tenure. The deal runs through

Dec. 31, 2016, and Hope is 19-26 since replacing Tiller.

After three injury-plagued seasons, Purdue was expected to

contend for the Big Ten title this season.

Players and coaches embraced the expectations, talking

repeatedly about playing in a New Year’s Day bowl game,

representing the Leaders Division in December’s conference title

game and putting Purdue football back on the national map.

It hasn’t worked out.

Purdue blew two chances to get back into the national

discussion, losing on a late field goal at Notre Dame and getting

blown out at home by Michigan in the conference opener.

And things have gone from bad to worse.

Following a strong 3-1 start, Purdue has lost four straight Big

Ten games, with three losses coming by 16 or more points, including

Saturday’s 44-28 setback at Minnesota.

The Boilermakers host Penn State (5-3, 3-1) on Saturday. Purdue

then heads to Iowa and Illinois before hosting rival Indiana in the

Old Oaken Bucket game.

Hope said Sunday he planned to bench starting quarterback Caleb

TerBush in favor of sixth-year senior Robert Marve, who is playing

with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. And that

may not be the only lineup change.

Whatever happens on the depth chart, it’s clear Burke is looking

for better play on the field.

”Our student-athletes, alumni, fans, coaching staff and

administration all expect to see the program move forward and take

a step up the postseason ladder,” he said. ”Currently, our

performance has kept us from reaching our goals. But we have a

third of the season left to play, and our focus is to achieve that

consistency over the remaining four games. We need to press

forward, converting potential into results and having fun playing

Boilermaker football.”