As Purdue football prepares for the 2015 season, Rick Bouch examines their current quarterback situation to see if any of them are worthy of the Cradle
(C+P) — It all started with a guy named Bob DeMoss. However, you may be more familiar with the likes of Len Dawson, Bob Griese, and, more recently, Drew Brees. Purdue University has long been known as the Cradle of Quarterbacks, producing 15 NFL starters that have accumulated more starts and more yards than any other school in history. There is one main question heading into the 2015 season : Is there a quarterback worthy of such status on the current Boilermakers roster? Head coach Darrell Hazell sure hopes so.
Since Curtis Painter left after completing his eligibility in 2008, it has been a revolving door of quarterbacks in West Lafayette. Joey Elliott, Robert Marve, Caleb TerBush are just some of the names on a list of players who have been under center for the Boilermakers. Hazell, who will enter his third year at Purdue this season, thought he had found the next member of the Cradle in a four-star recruit, Danny Etling. The 6-2, 215-pound Etling started the first four games of the 2014 season leading Purdue to two of its three wins, but his overall performance was abysmal. Etling decided he had enough and transferred to LSU in the offseason.
That leaves Purdue with junior Austin Appleby as the only experienced quarterback on the roster. Appleby started seven games in 2014 and will have to improve by leaps and bounds if he is to escape the mediocrity that has plagued Purdue QBs for the better part of a decade. Appleby (6-5, 239) threw for 1,449 yards, threw ten touchdowns, but also had 11 interceptions. Considering that Appleby attempted over 30 passes in five different games and never threw for more than 300 yards, he has some work to do.
If Appleby is not the guy come September, it may very well be redshirt freshman David Blough (6-1, 202). Blough may conjure up an image reminiscent of Brees, also an undersized passer from the state of Texas. Blough, from Carrollton, Tex., is one of Purdue’s X-factors. The other is true freshman Elijah Sindelar, the state of Kentucky’s Mr. Football last year. Sindelar broke Tim Couch’s state record for career touchdown passes tossing 49 last season to end his high school playing days with 144. The problem with Sindelar is that he is still recovering from a knee injury he suffered in last year’s Kentucky state football playoffs.
Whether or not there is a future Cradle member on the current Boilermakers roster, Hazell is just hoping that one of his quarterbacks can come through and make the Purdue passing game better than it was last year. Purdue finished 103rd in the nation last year in passing offense, not very good considering that offensive coordinator John Shoop relies on a pass-first philosophy.