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September 4, 2012
Danny Hope reeled off a list of what he likes about Caleb TerBush on Tuesday, a day after naming him the starter for Purdue's game at Notre Dame this weekend.
His confidence, coming off a season in which he started 13 games.
His decision-making ability, both in limiting mistakes in the passing game and also in making the right audibles and checking to the right protections.
His size, in the sense that standing 6-foot-5 helps seeing over offensive linemen to avoid "negative plays."
His communication, in relaying signals and calls from the sideline to his teammates.
And, most of all, Hope praises TerBush's ability to "manage a game," which Hope essentially defined as a combination of all of the traits he likes.
They're qualities that allowed TerBush to separate himself from Robert Marve and Rob Henry during practice, Hope said.
They're why Hope is starting TerBush against the Irish despite the senior captain missing Purdue's 48-6 victory over Eastern Kentucky last weekend after being suspended for violating team rules. And despite Marve throwing for 295 yards and three touchdowns against EKU - sandwiched between throwing an interception on his first series and losing a fumble on his last.
But Hope said he considered Marve as a starter against Notre Dame.
"We consider it every day. That's why we go out and practice and compete," Hope said. "It's very important to have open competition. I think Robert played very, very well. I think if Caleb were to have played in the game against that level of competition, I think he would have played very well, too.
"My gut feeling going in is we'll probably start Caleb this Saturday just because he has a great knack for managing the offense and avoiding negative plays moreso than most of the other quarterbacks we've been around.
"Each game is going to be different. Each week is going to be different. Each week their performance is going to be different. Nothing will ever be etched in stone, obviously."
In two career games against Notre Dame, Marve has completed 40-of-64 passes for 311 yards and no touchdowns and two interceptions. Last season against the Irish, TerBush was 10-of-15 for 101 yards with a touchdown and an interception in a 38-10 loss.
In that game last season, TerBush's interception came on the game's first play and Purdue quickly fell behind when Notre Dame scored on its second offensive play. TerBush played the first four series, and Purdue managed only 20 yards. Marve's first two drives were three-and-out and then a 14-play, 70-yarder that produced a 27-yard field goal. But, by then, it was 21-3.
Hope said it's crucial Purdue doesn't have a similar start.
"We don't want to start off behind, that's for sure. So I think making good decisions early in the game and getting ahead or staying even early could impact the outcome of the game," he said. "We'll obviously put the guy out there that we feel like can get us off to the best start, I think that's going to be important. We're geared to play catch up if we have to. Offensively, we have the potential if we get behind to wing the ball and throw it and create yards and points. Defensively, we have the potential to pressure someone's quarterback and get after them and maybe manufacture some takeaways."
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