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Purdue victim of overconfidence?

After a 2-1 start that wasn't overwhelming, apparently, somehow, some members of Purdue's football team went into last week's game against Toledo overconfident.

Senior receiver Cortez Smith offered that surprising comment last week after the loss. So no wonder he is eager to use this week's bye before Big Ten play starts to "get our mind back right."

Smith said some players were "lazy" in practice and that they thought they could just "roll our helmets out and come out with a win. It didn't happen like that."

Because I'm not entirely up on the roll-our-helmets lingo, I asked Smith if he was saying the team was overconfident.

"Yeah, it's how it is," he said Saturday. "We played Ball State last week, a MAC school, and we thought it was going to be the same thing, really. I'm not going to lie to you. I thought it was, too. Just roll the helmets out and keep it going, but the point was proven wrong. We've got to be more focused. That's really the main thing coming into our bye week and going into Northwestern."

Perhaps overlooking opponents can be a product of having a young team.

But it's up to the seniors and the coaching staff to prevent that from happening. Perhaps Smith, a senior, is one of only a few who had the wrong mind-set heading into the game.

Senior defensive end Ryan Kerrigan said he didn't think the team was overconfident, and coach Danny Hope echoed those sentiments.

"I'd like to think we have some confidence, but we haven't done anything that would indicate to me that we would have any reason to be overconfident," Hope said. "We saw those guys do good things on film and obviously we lost to a MAC school last year and we have been really good about being ready to play and playing hard against the competition, whether it's one double-A or Notre Dame or a MAC school."

One of the next steps is for Purdue to translate its practice play to games, Hope said.

"Guys give good effort in practice, and we're getting good looks in practice," he said. "We put together a group of guys, the 1As, if you will, not necessarily scout team guys, but the best guys we can utilize to give the offense a defensive look in practice. So I think we've had good speed as far as the looks they get throughout the course of the week.

"They work hard and try hard and we sit in the meetings on Friday nights, I sit in with the defense and they go over all their checks and their keys based on the formations and the groupings and it seems like everybody is right on top of it, but yet we don't go out there and perform as well.

"That's the part to me that is a little bit baffling and why I think there needs to be some soul searching done in some ways. We still have a lot of good players on the team, a lot great guys on the team and guys who have played a heck of a price and lots of football in front of us. We can certainly improve a lot in every phase of our game and if we do, then we could do very well this year still. We're a long ways from being out of it, but we certainly have to pick it up in a lot of ways."

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