Purdue lost in interim head coach Gerad Parker’s first game on Saturday, but the Boilermakers led eighth-ranked and unbeaten Nebraska at the half before losing by a respectable score of 27-14.
One former interim coach noticed Purdue’s strong play against the Huskers: Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, who took over as interim coach at Clemson in 2008 after Tommy Bowden resigned midseason.
During Tuesday’s press conference, Parker said he talked with Swinney on Monday for about 26 minutes.
And for him to do that — and I don’t say that for attention, that’s not — and I told the guys that last night. I don’t care, he didn’t know who he was or whatever, but he knows who our team is now. He watched how hard we played, and for him to reach out and do that in a busy time for him, and what he’s going through and spend 26 minutes to talk about the process for what he had to go through and all those things, shows you why Clemson is where they are and why his guys believe in where he’s at. Because they do, and after talking to him for 26 minutes, I can tell you right now, there is no accident.
Parker, who became interim coach when Purdue fired Darrell Hazell earlier this month, said the phone call showed that he’s on the right track at Purdue.
I talked to Dabo Swinney yesterday. He took 26 minutes to talk to me. That's not for attention. He knows who our team is and reached out.
— Purdue Football (@BoilerFootball) October 25, 2016
Swinney went 4-3 after inheriting a 3-3 team in his interim season, getting the job full-time following the Tigers’ regular-season finale that year. Clemson was 9-5 in Swinney’s first full season, then 6-7 in 2010. After that, however, the Tigers have won at least 10 games in each of the past five completed seasons. In 2015, the Tigers advanced to the national championship game. This season, they’re 7-0 and ranked No. 3. So Swinney knows what it means to serve as an interim coach amid struggles — and then reach success.
As for Purdue, the Boilermakers (3-4, 1-3 Big Ten) are preparing for Saturday’s 12 p.m. ET home game against No. 24 Penn State.