Would it be a Big Ten Spring Preview without a quarterback controversy at this point? Perhaps when we get to Michigan State, but for now, we will keep focused on Purdue.
2010 was a season full of injuries and inconsistency for the Boilermakers, whose biggest win last season came on the road against Northwestern. Purdue finished the season 4-8 and near the bottom of the Big Ten, but that doesn’t mean they lacked talent.
Defensive end Ryan Kerrigan was an absolute terror for teams to block off the edge, and he capped off a stellar career at Purdue with a likely first round grade. However, Kerrigan is gone, and the Boilermakers will start anew.
Obviously, the position of focus with Purdue is at quarterback, where a pair of “Robs” will battle for the starting position. Robert Marve, a former transfer from Miami, was by all accounts a huge disappointment for the Boilermakers last season, and is in danger of losing playing time all together to Rob Henry, a freshman who really provided a spark to the Boilermaker offense toward the end of last season.
The best bet is that the younger Henry will win the job over Marve, as disappointing as that will be for him. Henry has more upside going forward than Marve, and the Boilermakers want to contend for bowl games in the present as well as the future. I think Henry will win the job outright.
This is a team that—not surprisingly—needs to really step it up all across the board. Defensively, they were giving up almost 30 points last year, and in the suddenly offensive juggernaut that is the Big Ten, that is just not going to cut it, and the loss of Kerrigan does not help.
2011 could be a tough season for Purdue, but I think a full season with Rob Henry as the team’s starting quarterback gives Purdue fans hope that bowl season will come sooner rather than later.