At the end of this weekend, Shoop and Hazell will have named who the starting QB. This is a big deal because, while the three-man battle between Henry, Appleby and Etling has only been going since the Spring, we Purdue fans have been in Quarterback purgatory for about three years.
I don't remember this happening...but it did. Maybe Hazell will make this happen again with the LB to QB belly read
Whether it's Henry v. Marve v. TerBush, or the newest edition of the QB battle, it does give us something to talk about. But it's better to talk about winning in the off-season than positional battles...and if the right decision is made, perhaps we'll be able to shift our gaze to discussions about success. That said, another three-man battle will most likely ensue again in the Spring UNLESS Appleby or Etling starts, and leads Purdue to success, this season. QB Battle v. 3.0 will feature Appleby v. Etling v. Blough (probably).
As a wise man I know always says, shaky programs are perpetually young...perpetually in transition. Good programs, at least from the outside, have players that perpetually play and never seem to leave campus (i.e. Brees and Orton starting three full seasons).
My gut says Henry is the guy for multiple reasons. He's the only guy that's been 1 or 2 since Hazell arrived on campus...the other two have just been competing against him. I think that says a lot- First, it says that Henry is the best guy for the job right now. Second, it says that Henry's game is flawed, and he isn't an overwhelmingly easy pick for starter.
I think everyone who knows Purdue football knows that Henry as a passer leaves something to be desired. But, as a leader and huddle guy, there's no questioning him. Hazell said a few days ago that he wants to see Purdue win this season because the Seniors deserve to win. That to me was Coach Haze showing his hand in this QB race. Plus, if Hazell had any intention of not starting Henry, I believe he would have moved him to another position in order to keep him on the field. Rob Henry's athleticism is matched by few on Purdue's roster...and regardless of if he's playing QB or somewhere else, he needs to be on the field.
The Shifting NCAA
If you're like me, you've been keeping an eye on the NCAA, conference realignment and the discussion of players being paid.
What you probably know is that Rob Henry became a player advocate a few years ago as he sought rules changes like money being paid to players and extracurricular job rules by the NCAA being adjusted. What I didn't know was his motivation for becoming vocal.
If you want to know more, check out this article from USA Today from this morning. One of Henry's good buddies was left holding his hat after an ethical member of the SEC, LSU, pretty much cut him a few years ago. This caused him to reassess what he thought of the NCAA. I understand Henry's concern...but his buddy shouldn't have gotten into bed with the filth that is the Southeastern Conference in the first place. Sure, most high school players from the South want to end up at LSU, UGA, FLA, 'Bama or another one of the powers down there...but the cutting edge of that conference is the lack of ethics that shows itself time and again. These programs go all Tom Creany on their players regularly as they oversign season after season. The problem with that, obviously, is when you've got too many players, someone's gotta go. Henry's pal was that guy (in this case).
Morgan Burke is on the right side of this issue, in my opinion. And just like most of Burke's assessments of athletic issues, it probably comes down to the business side of things. Paying players is something athletic departments can't afford to do due to level playing field rules with other sports. The profitable sports like football and basketball carry many other sports that don't make money. Sure, A few schools like 'Bama and Oregon would be able to afford to pay their football players (they've had good practice afterall)...but the middling and lower-level programs (financially), like Purdue, wouldn't be able to make their bottom line.
On top of that, Burke's got it right again, that if they start paying players, college football becomes a mere minor league system...which is something I don't want to see at all. Players often don't succeed in the pros after having great success in college sports because the games are different...and I'm good with that. In fact, it pisses me off each time the NCAA adopts an NFL or NBA rule as their becoming one step closer to the pro games.
And Speaking of the NCAA...
My brother assesses policy and writes for a living...as a result, he consumes a large amount of information in little time. One of the topics he studies is conference expansion and shifting. So earlier this week, he sent me some articles that detailed some of the tea leaves that are out there right now about the B1G's final change during the Delany era. According to a few writers, UNC isn't the possibility that it was a few years ago, but the B1G might raid the Big12 one final time in order to become a 16 school conference.
The Big12 is already weaker than it was, and the fact that many of its current members aren't too fond of Texas can't be a good thing. One of those that's not a fan of the Longhorns is Oklahoma. If I was a betting man, which I'm not, I'd lay a shiny quarter on Ooooooooklahoma as one of the final two additional members of the oldest conference.
After that happens, the other three mega-conferences will quickly take shape...and the NCAA, at least as we've known it during my lifetime will be kaput. The big shifts of the last five years will look like an off-balance washing machine if this college sports quake hits.
The danger of this shift of course, is that without the toothless NCAA, a new set of rules will need to be made...a new governing body will need to be quickly formed, and already-corrupt programs (i.e. aOSU, Alabama, LSU, Oregon, others) will run rampant until the new bridles are in place.
That said, I'm all for the NCAA and the BCS fading into Bolivian. The NCAA's maddening inconsistency and the BCS' antiquated way of doing business both need to turned to ashes.
I wanna Shoop
Bears fans are still angry that Purdue hired Shoop as the OC. Oh well.( Any fanbase that every thought Rex Grossman was the man needs to reassess its values.)
The Chi Tribune had a piece about Coach Shoop earlier this week that I'm sure annoyed Bears fans...but I liked it. Bears fans probably liked the fact that Shoop took responsibility for his time in Chicago in the article and says he's where he needs to be at this point in his career.
He's kinda crazy in practice...he talks fast, says things that don't make sense at times, and is wildly-enthusiastic. He reminds me of a gym teacher I had in grade school- disheveled, loud, always on the edge of getting pissed at someone...But, much like Greg Hudson, he balances Coach Haze's analytical, thoughtful approach...Perhaps that's by design.
I liked the Shoop hire for a lot of reasons...his resume makes Gary Nord's look like a Pop Warner coach's...hopefully, his offenses are notably better as well.
As someone said on Twitter, we shouldn't judge this coaching staff until they've won a game. By that token though, we shouldn't judge them until they've lost a game either, correct? Well, you guys can do whatever you'd like, I'm someone who is always assessing naturally. My assessment right now is Shoop is in the right place.