Quarterbacks galore: Purdue, like Michigan, ready to play two signal callers Saturday
Michigan football coach Brady Hoke again backed junior quarterback Denard Robinson as his starter Monday, but also said the team fully intends to use sophomore Devin Gardner in certain situations moving forward.
The Wolverines' opponent for Saturday, Purdue (4-3, 2-1 Big Ten), apparently has the same mindset.
"We still want to play two quarterbacks," Purdue coach Danny Hope said Tuesday on the Big Ten coaches teleconference. "I think that's really important. We have another quarterback that you can put into the game that can help you win."
Hope declared junior quarterback Caleb TerBush his starter for Purdue's visit to Michigan (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten) on Saturday (noon, ESPN2), but said he also fully intends on finding snaps for senior backup Robert Marve.
The quarterback time-share drew a bit of a stir at Purdue earlier this season, when Marve vented on Twitter following a remark from Hope about him playing out of the team's system.
"Don't understand how I was not playing in the system!," Marve wrote. "It was rough from the get go, don't understand how that was on me."
All seems to have been reconciled, however, and Purdue players have agreed to stay off Twitter until the season is over.
TerBush has completed 61.7 percent of his passes for 1,127 yards, eight touchdowns and four interceptions this season. Marve has connected on 53.7 percent of his throws for 217 yards, two scores and one interception.
A year ago, both Purdue and Michigan played a pair of quarterbacks during a Nov. 13 game in West Lafayette, Ind. Henry and Sean Robinson struggled for the Boilermakers, combining to go 17-for-33 for 132 yards and two interceptions.
Michigan countered with the tandem of Robinson and now-departed quarterback Tate Forcier. That duo went 14-for-25 for 193 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions as Michigan won 27-16.
At Michigan this season, Hoke has shown zero hesitation in backing Robinson as his starter, but admits the presence of Gardner in special packages and on his own in the offense forces opponents to prepare for both possibilities.
That's also true at Purdue. But not necessarily the reason why Hope may play two quarterbacks this weekend.
"If you lose your No. 1 quarterback, is your No. 2 quarterback good enough to play and win with?" Hope asked. "A lot of times the answer is no. We don't want to be in that position.
"We're fortunate right now that our No. 2 quarterback is Robert Marve, and we want him in games because he can help us win."