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August 18, 2011

Henry ready to lead; Day 13 camp notes

Listen: Coach Danny Hope after practice

Rob Henry reluctantly admitted that, sure, the battered nail on his right index finger could tear again.

And, no, he doesn't really have feeling in the tip of the finger - where he had surgery.

But the only concern Purdue's starting quarterback has about his right hand is that he's able to deliver on-target passes with it.

He's not worried at all about the finger, which was broken and mangled after getting caught in a defensive player's helmet at Ohio State last season.

"It's fine," Henry said after the second of two practices on Thursday. "There's no pain. It's all healed up. I kind of got used to the glove, so that's basically why I'm wearing it now."

Henry practiced on Thursday after missing the last two days with an illness but said he's feeling better.

Purdue needs him to stay healthy.

Though Caleb TerBush is being touted as a strong thrower by coach Danny Hope, Henry's improving as a passer and brings the element of playmaker with his speed.

Perhaps most importantly, he has displayed many of the qualities it takes to be a starting quarterback, coaches and teammate said.

Even if Henry didn't list them.

"Why am I starting quarterback material?" Henry said, blushing a bit and laughing. "Um, you know, I don't know. You'll have to ask coach (Gary) Nord that."

Then Henry promptly reeled off all the other quarterbacks on the roster and why each one could also start.

So how about offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Nord's take?

"He's an excellent field general," Nord said of Henry. "That's where he gets an A-plus - in managing the football game. He's improved drastically throwing the ball last year at this time to this year at this point. Obviously, you always want better and being greedy at that quarterback spot - we've been spoiled around here with great quarterbacks - and I think he will be a great quarterback. I'm really pleased at the way he runs the football team."

Henry said he's been working hard on becoming more efficient out of the pocket and improving his accuracy. Since he's been at Purdue, he said he's "1,000 percent" better as a pocket passer.

"That credit goes to coach Nord and the entire coaching staff, constantly giving me pointers and giving me ideas and giving me drills to work on to improve my accuracy and improve my confidence in the pocket," he said. "I feel so much more confident and so much more relaxed in the pocket right now."

Hope said Henry is completing a high percentage of passes of late, estimating in the 80 percent range over the last several practices.

"He threw the ball very well the last three practices, probably the best I've seen him throw," Hope said.

Kicker Carson Wiggs drilled a 63-yard field goal and narrowly missed a 72-yarder in the afternoon practice, Hope said.

Guard Ken Plue missed practice. Hope said Plue still is working to complete a list of things in order to be "in good standing to be reinstated." Plue hasn't done it yet.

Hope would like sophomore Sean Robinson to redshirt, which was the plan last season before all the quarterbacks got hurt. But with Robert Marve slowly recovering from knee surgery and with Henry missing two practices this week, Robinson had been getting more reps.

Hope estimated the starters have gotten "a couple hundred scrimmage snaps" in teamwork settings. "It's paying off," he said.

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