Last season was absolutely dreadful for the Purdue Boilermakers under first-year coach Darrell Hazell. Purdue couldn’t seem to do anything correctly on its way to a 1-11 record with eight losses in the Big 10. A big reason the Boilermakers had a hard time finding success in 2013 was inconsistent quarterback play.
Redshirt senior quarterback Rob Henry was overtaken by true freshman Danny Etling under center for the final seven games of the season, and even though Etling didn’t come through with the greatest results, he showed some signs of being able to play at a high level against good teams, which is something Purdue certainly needs moving forward.
Etling struggled early and often during his first few starts for the Boilermakers, but it was expected. He first stepped in to relieve Henry against Northern Illinois, and from there he was the starter. The next games weren’t exactly ideal, though. The defenses of Nebraska, Michigan State, Ohio State and Iowa all got the best of Etling and the Boilermakers.
Late in the season, Etling did start to figure it out. In the final three games of the season, he completed 67 of his passes with six touchdowns and only two interceptions. So while the Big 10’s best did walk away with the upper hand, Etling clearly showed he has it in him to compete at a higher level.
Purdue’s top seven receivers from last season will be there to assist Etling, but a depleted offensive line may put the clamps down on the offense from time to time. Either way, Etling has plenty of targets to choose from this season; it’ll be on him to develop his decision making and in turn cut back on the turnovers, which really haunted him in 2013. If progress continues into this season, Purdue’s woes certainly aren’t fixed, but a huge question mark at quarterback might just be answered.