A couple seasons back, I was at a game and Painter had a minor injury and so Joey Elliott (as a frosh or soph) had to come in for a series, and a guy sitting near us shouted, "Welcome to the Joey Elliott Experiment!" I always found that amusing and continue to use it.
Why's it appropriate? Because we really don't know what Joey's capable of. He could be a very serviceable game-manager... or he might not be. He hasn't played enough for us to judge. But we do know that he wants to go into coach, as per this piece by the talented Adam Rittenberg.
Reading that and learning more about Elliott, I am cautiously optimistic about his chances. Sure, shoulder injuries are scary and one hard hit on it (like being driven into the turf) could shelve him, but putting injury aside, it sounds like he's going to work very hard to put on a respectable performance at QB this season.
And while there are no promises of him being the starter, he really should be. A team like this needs leadership and in the absence of experienced, talented playmakers, you have to turn to your seniors... especially if they act like a player-coach. Definitely a good thing.
Other tidbits from the story...
Joey Elliott wants to become the next Josh Heupel.
Sure, he wouldn't mind leading Purdue to a national title, winning the AP Player of the Year award and finishing second in Heisman Trophy voting. But Elliott is more interested in mirroring Heupel's rapid rise up the college coaching ranks.
Sure, we wouldn't mind that, either. Hells yeah! Elliott for Heisman '09! I assume his website is in the works.
"In my mind, he's the starter," Purdue offensive coordinator Gary Nord said. "At the same time, we haven't named anything, and anybody can beat anybody out. Nobody's guaranteed anything. The coaching staff doesn't know what the capabilities are, doesn't know the intangibles of them yet."
You know, "intangibles." Who's the best juggler? Who makes the best buttermilk pancakes after a night out with 19-year-old college girls? Who has the highest score on "Dance Dance Revoultion." That kind of thing.
Elliott even shares play-calling ideas with the coaching staff, almost like he's another graduate assistant.
"He's got everything you want in a quarterback, except experience," Nord said. "He hasn't played any."
Insert the wah-wahhhhh sound effect from The Price Is Right here. He's great! He's got everything you want! I mean, besides having played.
Elliott has appeared in only 10 games, completing 27 of 49 passes for 300 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
You know, this is interesting to me. If I was offered Joey Elliott going 27/49 for 300 yards and 2-and-2 every game, I'd sign up right now.