Painter, Crane preparing for Friday debuts

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- I wasn't here for this morning's practice and the conversations after, but quarterback play for Friday night's preseason opener against Minnesota at Lucas Oil Stadium was a big topic.

With Jim Sorgi out (hamstring), once Peyton Manning is finished, we'll see some of rookie Curtis Painter and then undrafted rookie Chris Crane, who played at Boston College.

"He was with us the entire OTAs and during our rookie minicamps and things like that, so he heard our offense presented a few times," coach Jim Caldwell said of Crane. "He has a good grasp of it, I think, and he'll be able to function. ..."

"We certainly are not going to let him have the whole ball of wax, but we'll try to spoon feed him a little bit and I think he'll do well."

As far as Painter, the sixth-round pick from Purdue, Caldwell said he's coming along:

"Number one, obviously any time you can get more reps it gives you an opportunity to improve, and he's doing that daily," Caldwell said. "As I had mentioned before, it's not an easy offense to operate at the line of scrimmage, particularly with some of the things that we do. He's learning little by little, and some of it he's learning by fire, but I think he's handling it pretty well."

Said Painter: "I think there's going to be a certain amount of [nerves], no question about that. At the same time, preparing these last few weeks, continuing this week, hopefully I'll be that much more prepared and the nerves will be out of the way soon, and I'll just be excited to get out there again and play and compete. That's kind of what you look forward to."

Mike Chappell isn't expecting to see a whole lot of Manning against the Vikings.