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‘Defensive savant’ Walters introduced as Purdue’s new head football coach

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN (WISH) — A new chapter for Purdue football began Wednesday as Illinois defensive coordinator Ryan Walters officially took over as the Boilers head coach.

“It’s like a dream, it really is,” Walters said. “Every morning I wake up since the hire, I have to pinch myself and remind myself that it’s real.”

Athletic director Mike Bobinski said Walters immediately stood out among the more than a dozen candidates.

“I think we’ve hired the person with the absolute highest ceiling of everybody we talked to,” Bobinski said. “I don’t think there’s a limit to what we will accomplish and Coach Ryan Walters will accomplish here at Purdue.”

Walters made a strong first impression in the first team meeting. He opened the meeting by giving walk-on running back Devin Mockobee a scholarship.

“I found out he was not on scholarship and now I’m like, ‘Shoot, this guy needs a scholarship.’ And I’m reminding myself, ‘Yeah, you’re the head coach. You can do that.’ I knew we were having a team meeting, and so I thought, shoot, first order of business is do what’s right. Let’s give him a scholarship,” Walters said.

Bobinski called Walters a defensive savant – which might be an understatement. Walters led Illinois to become the No. 1 defense in the country in just two years as defensive coordinator. His self-described organized chaos defense is unlike any seen in college football.

“It’s so unique that there’s really no name for it yet, so I have to think of a name for it,” Walters joked. “Without giving away the secret sauce, we are going to limit explosive plays, we’re going to stop the run, confuse and harass the quarterback. If it all holds true, we’re going to generate a lot of turnovers.”

Walters played cornerback at Colorado, but growing up, he played quarterback. His father also played quarterback in college. Despite his famous defense, Walters still has an eye for offense.

“I want our offense to do the things that I hate seeing Saturdays as a defensive coordinator. I think there’s a misnomer out there that defensive head football coaches all of a sudden just want to condense down the game and get good stats. I don’t care about stats. I just want to win games,” Walters said.

For now, he’ll hit the recruiting trail and cheer on the Boilers in the Citrus Bowl against LSU.

Catch News 8’s one-on-one interview with Purdue’s new head football coach on “SportsLocker Sunday” at 10:15 p.m.