The 2016 Edition: The Depressing Timeline of Purdue Quarterbacks since 2009
Hi. Nice to see you all again.
Football is upon us in 4 days, so what better way to start a preview for the season than with an update to the Cradle of Quarterbacks’ most recent (very depressing) timeline.
(I’m so proud of that post’s first sentence.)
You’ll remember last year, sandwiched between the Virginia Tech and Bowling Green losses, Purdue decided to make an official change to its starting quarterback. Redshirt freshman David Blough got the nod over the incumbent Austin Appleby, who had put up lackluster numbers for most of his 12 months as the Boilermakers’ #1 QB.
That took me through a deep dive into Purdue’s starting quarterbacks since the incredible Curtis Painter spent all four of his years in West Lafayette entrenched as the lead guy under center. For those too lazy to read last year’s post, here’s a picture recap:
8 quarterbacks in the last 7 seasons, what could go wrong?
Continuity has been the glaring issue every year since the Painter era. Every spring since 2009 birthed a new quarterback controversy, every summer held practice reports that stoked the flames, and the fall would bring a beautiful new angel under center…who usually got replaced within the first month of the season.
(Except for you, Joey Elliott. I miss you so much, Joey Elliott.)
The best QB during this timespan? Robert Marve, the talented Miami transfer with *three* torn ACL’s. I think about the lost Robert Marve era at least once a week. I think about Robert Marve playing on a torn ACL for the final three games of 2012 once an hour. Robert Marve was perfect in every way.
The worst? Sean Robinson, who turned out to be a pretty good outside linebacker during his senior year. (Only at Purdue…)
The most unlikely? Caleb Terbush, the 2-star afterthought who did just enough to be Danny Hope’s constant safety blanket.
The most disappointing? Either Rob Henry, who should have been *the guy* if he weren’t so injury prone, or Danny Etling, the Elite 11 four-star quarterback that never lived up to his billing.
Austin Appleby’s year as the starter might have been the most painful to watch, though. We’re in the midst of the worst stretch of football in Purdue history, and here comes this guy with all of the intangibles wrapped into a 6’5” frame, with an impossibly symmetrical face.
Coach Hazell had been singing his praises since Appleby and Etling were battling for the backup spot in 2013, so everyone was cautiously optimistic when Austin took over…but the he proceeded to lose 8 out of the 10 games he started. Whether that was the result of a poor offensive scheme, a lack of talent surrounding him, or a flaw within his processing of the game, Appleby’s reigns were taken away halfway through September 2015.
David Blough stepped up, and had moments where he clearly looked like the best quarterback of the Hazell era…and others where he looked like the quarterback who struggled to a completion percentage of 57% with only 10 touchdowns and 8 interceptions in 9 games.
Eight quarterbacks starting 8 consecutive seasons for Purdue. Though Blough hasn’t had much competition for this year’s starting spot, reports coming out of summer workouts aren’t anything to be ecstatic over. Maybe new OC (and Kokomo tornado relief superhero) Terry Malone can improve Blough’s production, maybe the offensive line is better after another year of competition together (though there is significant turnover in that unit as well), or maybe something just clicks under center.
Or maybe…maybe this permanent cycle of a Purdue quarterback taking the lion’s share of the collective failure claims another victim, and Blough is cast aside in favor of Elijah Sindelar, Aaron Banks, or Jared Sparks. The Cradle of Quarterbacks will keep on swinging, I guess.
Some injection of creativity, explosiveness, and unpredictability is exactly the type of ‘David-strategy’ this Purdue team desperately needs, but I think that mentality is the polar opposite of the coaching staff’s tendencies. All I’m hoping for is a semblance of continuity under center, and (if Blough struggles) for some accountability that stretches higher up than the guy under center.