I'll give Danny Hope this: he's got the Purdue fanbase talking.
And it really wouldn't be Purdue football if there wasn't uncertainty in the air, would it? Sure, there's a QB available who just had a better statistical game -- by far -- than Caleb TerBush has ever had on the college level. But then there's the caveat that, hey, it was against EKU.
Okay, fine, but do you think Caleb would have carved them up the same way? If so, you're certainly entitled to that opinion and hey, you might very well be right. Let's remember a few things here...
For one, Danny Hope has been unwavering on the fact that Caleb TerBush is the number 1 guy and has looked like the number 1 guy since the spring. A lot of us have a hard time believing that -- including media members who are there to see it with their own eyes all the time -- but there are times when you have to say, hey, the coach knows best.
Caleb TerBush started 13 games last year, plus he had a mop-up role in a drubbing up in Madison two years earlier. Saturday was Marve's 26th game where he saw action on the college level. That's nearly twice as much game experience, which can go one of two ways -- either it strengthens the argument that he should be the guy, or it could give you pause about criticizing the selection of TerBush.
Maybe -- maybe -- Caleb TerBush used that experience gained last year and actually has developed as you might expect an upperclassman QB to develop. If he is the guy and Coach Hope and Coach Nord say he's the guy, do we as fans owe it to give him a chance? I think so.
Understand something here: Just because we've publicly supported giving Marve the chance to show what he can do as the healthy starter doesn't mean we don't like or support Caleb TerBush. We do have a problem with him making poor decisions, be it nearly flunking out of school and losing a year due to academics or getting himself suspended just prior to the season opener this year.
However, we also respect him for stepping up and taking the reins as he was asked to do last year with practically zero college experience and a full year of inactivity between his last time in uniform and taking the field against Middle Tennessee. TerBush answered the bell and did exactly what the coaches asked of him. Let's not forget that. And let's also not forget that he wears the same black and gold as Robert Marve, Rob Henry and everyone else out there. If you read here regularly, you know we don't advocate blanket support of the players -- sometimes they do deserve your unwavering support, but other times they do things that we can not and do not support.
All that said, if a guy has "paid his dues" or done his punishment and the team and coaches have deemed him deserving of being back on the field, I think the fanbase owes it to that guy to back him. Caleb is a student at your University. He represents you. Yes, we would rather see Robert Marve starting, but that doesn't mean we don't support TerBush.
Hope's announcement that Caleb was going to be the starter vs Notre Dame set the Boilermaker faithful abuzz. I think there is still some support for Terbush out there, but Marve's game on Saturday has certainly gotten people scratching their heads about this decision. However, before you run off calling for Coach Hope's head, you have to keep it in perspective -- this was just an announcement. What does that really mean? Caleb was the starter last week, too, until about an hour before gametime, and then he wasn't. I'm not saying that will happen again, but I saw a reader make an astute point that got me thinking. He asked why you would announce any starter at all -- let Notre Dame plan for two QBs, or even three. That byproduct of an unsettled QB situation is one we can all live with... if it even gains the Boilers a tiny advantage, I'm fine with it.
And what if this "starter" talk actually is all subterfuge? What if Caleb starts and plays two conservative series and then Marve takes over and suddenly Purdue attacks like an angry dog? What then, Boilermakers? If Purdue does something like that and actually wins in South Bend, does Danny Hope become crazy like a fox? Or just a lucky dog?
The point is, none of us know what is happening or what the plan is for Saturday. I hope the coaches and players do. If so, that's good enough for me.