Former Asst. Rec. Coord. Ouimet Breaks Down Purdue

Recently retired Recruiting Coordinator Morrison's top side-kick was Mark Ouimet. When Morrison retired, Ouimet also decided to move on to other ventures. So now Mark has consented to grant us interviews on different subjects. Here is his 'bottom line' assessment of the Wolverine's upcoming opponent, Purdue.

Of recently-retired recruiting coordinator Bobby Morrison's seven recruiting classes, six were consensus top 10 classes. For the last four of those years, Morrison's side-kick was Mark Ouimet, who in April 2001 was named by Tom Lemming as one of the nation's top ten assistant recruiting coordinators. Here is Ouimet's 'bottom line' assessment of the Wolverine's upcoming opponent, Purdue.

How do you assess Purdue overall?

Purdue is is a legitimate threat. He haven't won at Purdue since '94, don't forget that.

Purdue has four losses this year, but all were close, all within seven points. They lost to Notre Dame by seven, Wake Forest by three, Iowa by three, Illinois by three (and they were down 28 or 31 - 0). And they outgained the opponent in each of those games. Purdue is scoring 29.1 points a game, and giving up 23.7.

We know it'll be a close game.

Talk about Purdue's strengths.

Number one, they are better offensively than defensively. What poses a problem is that they can gain yards and put points on board. They average 5.7 yards per play on offense ... six yards a play. So they obviously get a lot of big plays. Purdue will spread it out and pass: screens, slants, the draw -- all quick stuff. They are a quick-hitting team. They don't go over your head much for a touchdown, they're more of a short passing team. And remember, Michigan has given up 62 first downs passing, compared to only 33 running.

As far as the offensive personal. I'm assuming Kyle Orton is going to start (he got hurt two games ago, a concussion at Iowa), but Brandon Kirsh (13 for 21 last week) will also play. Preparing for two quarterbacks is a headache for Coach Herrmann (Michigan defensive coordinator. We'll see them both. Next, their go-to guys are their wide receivers: first (John) Standeford, then (Taylor) Stubblefield (if he's back from injury), and Chambers (Chambers is a good punt returner as well). They present a problem. As far as the running game, Montez Lowe is out because of injury, but tailbacks Joey Harris and Brandon Jones are two good tailbacks. Their O-line has a strong right side, including Kelly Butler from Grand Rapids, who we recruited.

Number two: they are a second half team. I will say this about Purdue -- when they go into half time they make good adjustments. Coach Tiller is known for this. They shut teams down in the second half. And Purdue has scored 115 points in the second half this year versus 89 in the first.

What does Michigan have to do to win?

First off, Michigan's defense has to contain Purdue. They need to stop the run. That's a given. To contain their passing game, it'll take good schemes and blitzes. The key - getting pressure on the quarterback; the front seven has to get to the quarterback. We've had 23 sacks, which is good. But if Purdue is able to control the ball passing -- trouble. Having Shantee (DE Orr, who has been out with a knee injury) back helps. Marcus Curry has to step up, Marlin will be on Standeford. Victor Hobson has to be a factor, covering the tight end.

Offensively, it is important for Michigan to get the lead in the game. When Michigan scores first, they win. This is especially true on the road. Also when you are on the road -- time of possession is a key. Possessing the ball on the road against this opponent is important-- we've got to run the heck out of the ball. We're averaging 146 yards per game rushing, we need to hit that. As far as the passing attack, John Navarre is being consistant now, making completions; he has to keep doing that like he has the last two games. One thing Michigan is doing well: 46% on third down conversions. That's great. You've got to convert on the road to keep possession. That why I think Michigan will win, because they are good at that. Purdue completes 36%.

Braylon (widout Edwards), Perry (tailback Chris) -- they are the playmakers, they have to get into the endzone. Purdue will have trouble stopping our receivers. But the strength of their defense is their safeties, (Stuart) Schweigert (who we recruited), and Turner.

Michigan has done a good job avoiding penalties recently, and that is important on the road as well.

Finally, if it is a close game, it may come down to: special teams. Their field goal kicker, Brin Lacevic, has struggled like ours -- he's 3 of 8.

Your "Bottom Line?"

We know it'll be a close game. And it'll be high scoring, you can bet on that. They will score points, and have a strong second half. But Michigan has the talent to win ... 34-31.

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A side note: Ouimet on Purdue recruiting: "Purdue has three players that were recruited by Michigan: Charles Davis (from Orchard Lake), Stuart Schweigert (from Saginaw), and Kelly Butler (from Grand Rapids). They get a lot of kids from Texas and Indiana, and dip into Ohio as well."

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