The Purdue Boilermakers are breaking in a new head coach in 2013 and Darrell Hazell has his work cut out for him. One of the first things Hazell will have to do is find a new quarterback to run his offense next season. Can senior playmaker Rob Henry step up and take command of the quarterback position?
While listed as a quarterback, most of Henry’s playing time has come at other positions. In three seasons, he has attempted 200 passes, run the ball 132 times and caught seven passes. His athleticism found him a role in the Purdue offense, even if it wasn’t at his listed position under center. Going into 2013, he is the only quarterback with any game experience.
Last season, Henry completed 21 of 38 passes for 216 yards with three touchdowns and an interception while carrying the ball 28 times for 74 yards with another touchdown and catching six passes for 65 yards. The last coaching staff found ways to get Henry’s athleticism on the field, lining him up at wide receiver, tailback and quarterback throughout 2012.
Next season, he could be using that athleticism under center exclusively. The other three candidates for quarterback next fall, Austin Appleby, Bilal Marshall and Danny Etling, are all freshmen. Appleby, at 6-foot-5, is more of a prototypical pocket passer, Marshall, though on the small side, is another athletic option and Etling has reportedly shown surprising poise for a true freshman.
But none of them have the experience of making plays in the Big Ten like Henry does. As everyone at Purdue adapts and learns the ins and outs of Hazell’s system and expectations, a senior with game experience could have the edge over a trio of wide-eyed freshmen signal callers.