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October 31, 2010
Quarterback situation remains uncertain
Coach Danny Hope said Sunday that Purdue goes into this week the same way it went into last week: not knowing what its quarterback situation will be.
"(We approach it) the same way this week," Hope said, "because really, the status is the same."
Rob Henry, with a badly injured right index finger, played in Purdue's 44-10 loss at Illinois Saturday, but didn't attempt a pass.
Hope said after the game Purdue's game plan for the Illini with Henry was based in part on him being able to pass the ball effectively, even after being unable to do so in practice during the week that followed his injury at Ohio State.
"We had a heck of a game plan to feature Rob Henry as a runner," Hope said Sunday. "We were pretty sure he wasn't going to be passing it a whole lot. There was some indication he might be able to pass it some on Saturday and we were optimistic he might be able to pass it some. But we were more optimistic he could help us as a runner."
The redshirt freshman wore gloves on both hands and did throw during warm-ups.
"He tried," Hope said, "but the bottom line was that his injury was too significant and he wasn't able to get it done."
And so freshman Sean Robinson played most of the game. He completed 7-of-20 passes for 52 yards.
"Obviously," Hope said Sunday, "we have to get Sean Robinson more ready."
Hope did not make it sound Sunday like wide receiver Justin Siller is an option under center just yet. He's missed the entire Big Ten season to date with a sprained foot.
"If he were healthy right now, he'd be a really good quarterback prospect for us," Hope said, "but he's not healthy right now and we don't know if he will be this week."
Siller traveled, dressed and warmed up some before the game at Illinois. Hope said Purdue could have used him as a "stationery passer" in an emergency.
When Siller does return, it's unclear whether he'll play receiver again. He was a starter prior to his injury, and Purdue is now without starter O.J. Ross the rest of the season, in addition to the long-standing absence of Keith Smith.
"It's easier to play without the receivers than it is the quarterback," Hope said of whether Siller would return to receiver when he's healthy.
O.J. Ross' season-ending injury is a separated shoulder.
"It's a bad separation," Hope said, "and they're checking it to see if he'll need an operation or not, but he's out for the season."
Ross is a starting wide receiver and one of the Boilermakers' top return men.
Part of Purdue's offensive game plan, Hope said, was to get the ball frequently to Ross, maybe the offense's fastest player.
But after getting the ball on a handoff on Purdue's second offensive snap, Ross was hurt on Illinois' second kickoff in the first quarter, after he'd been on the field for just three offensive snaps.
Ross caught 11 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown this season. He also averaged 23 yards on 12 kickoff returns.
Fullback Jared Crank has a sprained knee.
Hope said the Boilermakers had hoped to use Crank extensively in its I-formation running game vs. Illinois, but his injury took that option away.
Hope did want to call a timeout at the last second at Illinois to try a long field goal with the wind. The game ended with Purdue having the ball at the Illinois 45, so it would have been a 62-yarder.
"The wind was going the right way," Hope said. "I don't know why we wouldn't."
Purdue, however, didn't get the time-out.
Hope said he tried to wait until the very last second.
"I didn't want to miss it, so they'd get it and get to try another shot downfield with it," Hope said. "At that point, I wasn't the most trusting guy in the world. So I wanted to make sure we had it last and got our field goal in."
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