The Sycamores are coming off a 73-35 thumping at Indiana last weekend — a score that would have been worse had Indiana not taken a knee four straight times inside the Indiana State 20 over the last 2½ minutes.
Plus, the Sycamores could be without their top player, running back Shakir Bell. He left the Indiana game just before halftime with what was originally diagnosed as a separated right shoulder. On Tuesday, team spokesman Ace Hunt said doctors are now calling it a bruised shoulder and that Bell is expected to travel to Purdue on Saturday. Whether he plays is expected to be a game-time decision.
But the Boilermakers are more concerned with righting their wrongs.
"It starts with the seniors," left tackle Kevin Pamphile said. "Guys like me, we've been there, we've experienced those losses and we're tired of it. We're tired of that feeling."
Hazell doesn't want to see a repeat of those dour looks again, either, and he's making sure the players understand.
He's instructing the offense to be at the line of scrimmage with 15 seconds left on the play clock to avoid the confusion and communication mishaps that occurred at Cincinnati. He's scaling back the playbook to simplify the game plan. He is changing the defensive lineup — inserting Will Lucas at weak-side linebacker, moving Sean Robinson to the strong side and replacing Ryan Isaac with Ryan Watson at nose guard.
And he hopes the combination works.
"I think the biggest thing right now is for us to play with a tremendous amount of confidence, no matter what the situation is," Hazell said. "One of the messages to the team on Sunday is that it doesn't matter what the scoreboard says or the clock says, you've just got to play and everything else will take care of itself."
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