Should Purdue name Henry the starter now?

The arrow is definitely pointing up for Purdue quarterback Rob Henry.

After making the most of a bad situation in 2010 -- he led Purdue to two Big Ten wins before suffering a nasty laceration on his throwing hand at Ohio State -- the sophomore has made strides. He's one of the team's top weight-room performers and showed it this winter.

Boilers coach Danny Hope called Henry the team's most improved player in spring practice. Henry's teammates showed their support by naming the sophomore a co-captain for the 2011 season. Hope said Henry received more votes than any of Purdue's other five co-captains.

All the good things I've heard about Henry in recent weeks leads me to the same question.

What's the holdup? Why doesn't Hope simply name Henry as his starter?

Coaches face a ton of tough decisions, choices most of us wouldn't want to make. When to name a starting quarterback certainly qualifies.

I understand why Hope is holding off. Robert Marve, who started the first three games last season, will return from a second ACL tear. Marve came to Purdue with a lot of hype, and he clearly has the talent to do some damage. Caleb TerBush, who would have played before Henry last season had he been academically eligible, also is in the mix.

There's also the need to maintain healthy competition, a coaching catchphrase but one that rings true in many cases.

Still, we've seen teams pull the trigger on naming a starter at this time of year. California named its starting quarterback earlier this week, a transfer from Buffalo who has proven less than Henry has at Purdue.

Hope would be well within reason to give Henry the starter's tag. He wouldn't get much push-back from the locker room.

"In the recruiting process, those are some of the things that really attracted us to Rob, the intangibles and the leadership potential," Hope said. "That first recruiting class we had when I became the head coach ... he seemed to be the natural leader of that group. A lot of those guys gravitated to him.

"The way he works and the way he lives his life is exemplary."

So many kind words from Hope, but no definitive declarations.

"We went into the spring with him as the No. 1 quarterback, we came out of spring with him as the No. 1 quarterback," Hope said of Henry. "We'll open camp with him as the No. 1 quarterback."

But whether Henry remains No. 1 on Sept. 3 against Middle Tennessee remains to be seen.