Purdue's coming off a 1-11 football season. Given that, there's not a lot you can focus on on the football end of things – at least in terms of looking back.
The script for Hazell focused appropriately on moving forward. Hazell told the gathered press at the Chicago Hilton for Big Ten Media Days that he believes the program is beginning to make the investment necessary to have the kind of football program Purdue wants to have.
"[Athletic director] Morgan Burke and I have spoke about the things we need to do to move in that direction," he said.
In terms of realistic expectations moving forward, Hazell added. "We're a very different football team this year than we were last year."
"I want to make sure our team comes out and competes from game one."
The area of improvement Hazell wants to focus on most is on both sides of the line. He knew they have many areas that needed significant overhaul, but none more prevalent than on the offensive and defensive lines.
One mechanism to get the kind of growth necessary for a radical rebuild Hazell spoke to was the new NCAA rule that allows the coaches to meet with the players for two hours a week. He spoke to being able to help the players grow both on and off the field as being a big positive for them.
Perhaps most interesting to the casual fan, Hazell admitted Purdue is welcoming maybe the biggest player in all of college football:
Purdue added JUCO offensive guard Corey Clements this offseason. He's 6-8. And 400 pounds. pic.twitter.com/V8n718gCuE— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) July 28, 2014
And on what's sure to be a relatively recurring theme throughout the day, Hazell was asked specifically about how he avoids distraction with respect to some of the issues of the day surrounding college athletics. Hazell said effectively he tells his players not to talk about player stipends/union issues because "they don’t know anything about it."
While some will be quick to take Purdue's coach out of context, rather than silencing his players or ruling with an iron fist, it sounded more that he was realistic that his players simply weren't well versed enough on the nuance of the topics to give authoritative sound bites.
Each coach will have their own approach to dealing with change as it envelops the sport, but give Hazell credit for one thing if nothing else: his honesty.