Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Here's the second half of my interview with Purdue offensive line coach Danny Hope, who will succeed Joe Tiller as Boilermakers head coach in 2009.
What aspect of the whole process has surprised you the most, whether it was harder or easier, bigger or smaller?
Danny Hope: I'm really surprised at the urgency to fill up as quick as you can in the recruiting process, and surprised at what some of the other competitors will settle for early. It's really, really surprising. I look at a lot of the commitments that our competitors have, and a lot of those guys, we wouldn't take now. I'm not saying they're not good enough to play at Purdue, but we're trying to find guys who can make an impact in the next couple years. I'm surprised at what some of our competitors will settle for this early in the recruiting process. In my mind, you should be able to come back and get some of those guys, go out and try to compete for the very top guys first and then move on.
Is it just a panic among coaches who want early numbers?
DH: Not for me, it's not. But absolutely. There's no question in my mind about that. There were a number of guys who came to our camp that we had an opportunity to evaluate personally and on film, and we put 'em on a list as guys that were solid recruits, I was shocked at some of the people that came in and offered 'em. Hopefully, I'm not looking through rose-colored glasses, but that just really surprised me. I know talking to some of the so-called national recruiting experts, they seem to feel a lot of [coaches] will settle for a guy that's just good enough, rather than holding off and trying to get one that's special. Also, there's some value to allowing a guy grow and develop and play his senior year [of high school]. When you take everyone based on their junior film, you miss out on some real jewels.
You have some ties in Florida. I know you've already gotten a couple of commitments from the state. How important are those ties for the future?
DH: It will be a factor that'll impact the program and make a difference in the future of Purdue football. No question in my mind. When I was at Eastern Kentucky as a head coach, we had 18 guys on our football team [who grew up] within an hour and a half away from Orlando International Airport, and we only had 63 scholarships. There's a lot of guys that are good enough to play. But we're trying to find people that can come in and make a difference. We'll start off with that.
There are people here who were here last time you coached at Purdue. How has it been so far with the alumni, people in town, people at the school?
DH: I haven't had time to really socialize with anyone, other than the people involved with the football program. A lot of people have been very nice in passing, they've said the right things and they've e-mailed me. But to be honest, I haven't had any social life at all since I came here. I've been involved and engrossed with recruiting and coaching and academics.
So if there's a time for your wife to be away, this was probably it, right?
DH: Yeah, but eight months is a long time and she's still not here yet. I'm not quite sure when she will [move]. We're dealing with a house back in Kentucky. She will [move] eventually, just don't know when. It's all good, though. It might be a blessing in disguise in some ways. It might make her miss me more and gives me time to focus on football.
You'll be coaching the offensive line this fall. How does that group shape up?
DH: We're getting better. They're responding and that's huge, to the coaching style and the techniques. We've got a lot of work to do, but we're creating some momentum. That was one of our goals coming in. No question about it. Very pleased with their effort.