It wasn't long ago that Purdue was scrambling to find some healthy quarterbacks who could play.
Now, the Boilermakers are faced with the opposite situation heading into spring. They almost have too many healthy quarterbacks. But that's one problem Danny Hope doesn't mind at all.
Caleb TerBush started every game last season, and Robert Marve played a lot in different situations as well. Rob Henry, who was penciled in as the starter before tearing an ACL in August, is back and has been cleared to practice in all non-contact work this spring. Purdue also has Sean Robinson, who has started before, and just brought in four quarterbacks in this year's recruiting class.
So who is the No. 1 signalcaller heading into spring?
"We'll let you know," Hope said with a laugh on Tuesday as he met with reporters.
Hope will happily take the logjam after dealing with several injuries at the position the past couple of years. Now he just has to find a way to get them all enough practice time. He said he is considering using two offensive huddles during the spring so that he can spread out the work among the quarterbacks. And don't be surprised to see the Boilers use a two-quarterback system again in 2012 no matter who wins the starting job.
"We always have a plan to play two," he said. "With that being our mindset, I think it increases the chances for guys to get reps. ... We have to increase our reps at that spot so we can get a better assessment of where it's at from a competition standpoint."
Henry was the leader at the position before his knee injury, and Hope said the mobile sophomore was itching to get back on the field in December. His running ability adds a different dimension to the offense.
"Anytime you have Rob Henry on the field, that's a big thing because he's a big playmaker potentially," Hope said. "He's better than most of the other people on the field from an athletic standpoint."
Marve has dealt with his own assortment of injuries and now looks to be fully healthy an entire offseason for the first time since transferring from Miami. He was recently granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA.
"This is probably the best opportunity he's had this season coming up in regards to his football career in a long time," Hope said. "I'm very happy for Robert Marve, and he's up to the task. I think he's learned a lot. I think he and his position coach have identified areas he has to improve in. He's mature enough now to be able to identify some of the things and really address them and take some steps as a football player."
And don't forget that TerBush is the incumbent starter. Hope said the increased competition level should only help TerBush improve.
Overall, Hope said one of his big goals for the offseason is to get more efficient play from the quarterback spot. Purdue ranked ninth in the Big Ten in pass efficiency last season. But he didn't pin all the blame for that on the quarterbacks, saying the offensive line must improve its protection so the quarterbacks can play with more confidence.
I'll have more notes from Hope's media session a little later on.