Robert Marve's new coaches and teammates at Purdue insist he's a changed man. They vouch for his character as an improved student, a good teammate and a willing leader, and they say they've seen his transformation take shape during the past 10 months.
For those still unconvinced, Marve offered up an interesting display Friday at his first meeting with reporters this spring. Rather than answer questions by himself, the quarterback chose to be surrounded by members of Purdue's offensive line, a group that will play a huge role in his success or failure in 2010.
The (Lafayette) Journal and Courier's Mike Carmin has a detailed account of the unusual interview session with the Miami transfer, considered the front-runner to win Purdue's starting quarterback job.
When asked about the health of his knee after tearing his ACL last spring, Marve replied like this:
"I tore my ACL. You tore your ACL," Marve said, looking at converted tackle Colton McKey. "My knee feels good. Anybody else have knee problems? The whole offensive line. I'm good, we're all good."
When asked about the quarterback competition this spring, Marve answered:
"Like I said, these boys make it easy," Marve said of the linemen. "As long as Brew's [Andrew Brewer] got it, I got it. As long as [Rick] Schmeig's got it, I got it. Trevor [Foy], the whole nine yards. We're going to have fun. Like I said, we all came to Purdue for a winning season. I feel like we have a great chance to win the Rose Bowl."
There's no mystery to what Marve tried to do Friday: show that he's a team guy and share the spotlight with others, especially players who don't get much of it. Which is fine for now. Head coach Danny Hope seemed to enjoy the approach, saying, "I'm not surprised to see him sharing his first interview with his teammates. That was great."
Sure, it comes across a little forced, and it shouldn't become a habit. But by all accounts, Marve has made a concerted effort to clean up his act at Purdue, and he's succeeding.
A time will come when Marve needs to face the media on his own. That's what all quarterbacks do. And barring a surprise, he'll be the starter in 2010. As Carmin writes, Marve "will likely become the face of the program."
Soon enough, the face must stand alone.