INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Purdue coach Danny Hope’s joke that he was scouring campus looking for a quarterback was almost believable.
“Obviously, we’re very lean at the quarterback position,” Hope said Tuesday. “That’s why I was late. We were having some quarterback tryouts.”
He said he was kidding, then he thought for a moment and added: “Might not be a bad idea.”
Rob Henry could miss Saturday’s game at Illinois after cutting the index finger on his right throwing hand against Ohio State. He left last Saturday’s game in the third quarter.
“It was a freak thing,” Hope said. “It could have happened against any opponent. We’re optimistic that he might be able to play this weekend.”
Purdue already has lost its original starting quarterback, Robert Marve, for the season with an ACL injury, and No. 2 quarterback Caleb TerBush was declared academically ineligible before the season began.
Henry, who began the season as the No. 3 signal caller, led Purdue to wins over Northwestern and Minnesota in his first two starts before the loss to Ohio State. He leads the Boilermakers with 383 yards rushing and four touchdowns.
Backup Sean Robinson was the No. 4 quarterback heading into the season, but now he could be the starter. He stepped in and completed 6-of-10 passes for 30 yards against Ohio State.
“He had some success on Saturday,” Hope said. “He stepped up there and threw some nice strikes and he did some good things. I was pleased with some of the things he did on Saturday.”
Hope has wanted to give Robinson a chance to play.
“We talked about it ever since Robert Marve went down,” he said. “We were taking the redshirt off Sean Robinson, and we were going to play him. That is the best way to develop a guy is to get him on the field. Just the timing of it sometimes is a challenge.”
Another possibility is Justin Siller, who started three games in 2008 while Curtis Painter was out with an injury. He led the Boilermakers to a 48-42 win over Michigan in his first start and was the Big Ten’s offensive co-player of the week after passing for 266 yards and three touchdowns and running for 77 yards and another score in that game. He came back as a starting receiver this season, but has missed the past three games with a foot injury.
“He’s a good quarterback candidate, but he’s not healthy yet, and we’re still not sure where that’s going to be at,” Hope said. “I was really hoping that he would be further along on Sunday, but it’s a day-to-day thing. There is a good chance that we can do some things to start getting him ready.”
If none of those options work out, there’s walk-on Skyler Titus.
“I have to check to make sure I said his name right,” Hope said. “I’m just kidding with that. But he’s a guy that competes well on the scout team and does some things at the quarterback position. So we’ll have to get him ready as well. There isn’t anybody else after that.”
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