Purdue coach makes strong point: Score more TDs

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 11, 2013 at 2:31 am •  Published: September 11, 2013

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Darrell Hazell doesn't have to make this week's point by breaking down game tape.

He can simply point to the scoreboard.

After combining for 27 points and two offensive touchdowns in Hazell's first two games as the Purdue coach, the Boilermakers (1-1) are looking for a quick fix before facing No. 21 Notre Dame on Saturday.

"Stay on schedule and red zone offense, those are probably the two biggest things right now," Hazell said Tuesday as he outlined Purdue's problems. "If we can stay on schedule, that helps your chances on third down. But when we get inside the red zone, we've got to score touchdowns. We can't make field goals; we can't miss field goals; we've got to score touchdowns."

How tough have things been at Purdue?

In two weeks, the offense has accounted for only one more TD than the kickoff return team. On Saturday, the Boilermakers couldn't even put points on the board after blocking a punt at the Indiana State 27 late in the first half. Instead, the half ended with a 10-second runoff and the ball sitting at the Indiana State 1.

Scoring points might be the most obvious obstacle, but it's hardly the only one.

A week ago, Hazell's big goal was getting the calls to quarterback Rob Henry on time, and simplifying the playbook. Those changes were good enough to give Hazell a 20-14 victory in his home debut, though it was a far tougher struggle than most expected against Indiana State, which gave up 73 points in a Week 1 loss at Indiana.

But the problems go even deeper.

In eight quarters, the Boilermakers (1-1) have had only three offensive plays go for more than 20 yards, the longest being a 29-yard completion to freshman running back Dalyn Dawkins. They have 28 first downs, are averaging a dreadful 2.9 yards per carry, and Henry, a senior, has completed just 55.9 percent of his passes, throwing for 311 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions after reclaiming the starting job.

All of this is taking place at a school that helped make high-scoring games and the spread offense trendy and dubs itself the "Cradle of Quarterbacks."

"Score more touchdowns, I guess," right tackle Justin Kitchens joked when he was asked about how to produce more points. "What we can do is get a better feel for things and the play calling and visualize scoring more points, too. Really, we've just got to get to our blocks and just dominate and get to the end zone."