Hazell instills discipline within Boilermaker program

BY BEN ROSS | AUGUST 27, 2013 5:00 AM

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Following a 6-7 season in 2012, Purdue relieved football coach Danny Hope and hired Darrell Hazell, making the Boilermakers just the second head-coaching stint for the 49-year-old’s career.

Hazell coached at Kent State for the past two seasons, where he led the Golden Flashes to an 11-3 record in 2012 and a first-place finish in the Mid-American Conference’s East Division.

Hazell said he was able to coach his team to be among the top of the class while he was in the MAC a year ago, and he looks forward to coaching in the Big Ten because of the large distribution of talent among the schools in the conference.

“[The difference in the level of play from the MAC to the Big Ten] is significant for the most part,” Hazell said at Big Ten media days in Chicago on July 25. “You’re going to have a few players on each team that are able to play at the Big Ten level, but not the numbers you have here. I want all my players to play well — I try not to highlight guys too much because it takes a team. We need them all to play well.”

Rob Henry will run the show for Purdue at quarterback, replacing longtime staples at the position for the Boilermakers in Robert Marve and Caleb TerBush. Henry passed for 3 touchdowns and 1 interception last year, appearing in all but two games.

Henry will likely use tight end Gabe Holmes as a security blanket during his first campaign as a starter in 2013 —the 6-6, 240-pound target could be hard to miss on the gridiron. Holmes said expectations are high for the football team, especially given the mentality Hazell has instilled in the program.

“I’m looking forward to how we’ll react to Coach Hazell and his leadership,” Holmes said at Big Ten media days. “He’s starting from the bottom up. He’s a little more stern, he doesn’t pat you on the back, you’re never OK with what you’re doing. Expectations are high; I just want to go out there and play ball.”

The type of leadership that Hazell has is turning heads in the locker room. Senior cornerback Ricardo Allen said the new coach has no problem expressing displeasure within his players, Hazell is instilling a feeling of wanting to win in the program, and the locker room is starting to look like a small firm.

“It’s a businesslike and mature venture,” Allen said at Big Ten media days. “Our coach has built and instilled confidence in us. If you miss a class or practice, they put your name on a bulletin board. If you take a play off, he will call you out in front of the team. You don’t want to get penalties, you don’t want to miss class, and you don’t want to make mistakes in practice, because you will get called out in front of the team.”

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