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August 24, 2011

Moving forward

Listen: Danny Hope on Henry's injury

Danny Hope didn't realize initially how bad Rob Henry's injury was.

Henry, Purdue's starting quarterback, was finishing a run during Tuesday's practice and was "zigging and zagging a little bit" when his right knee buckled.

"I just thought it was just a routine thing," Hope said after practice on Wednesday. "Then after practice, talking with the trainers, they told me that it could be significant. Then this morning, we found out that it was."

Henry tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee and likely miss the season.

"Very disappointing news. I feel terrible for Rob," Hope said. "The football team is very saddened by it. But we'll have to have everybody put a little bit more into it and press forward."

Hope told the players before practice. Henry also attended practice, but Hope said Henry didn't address the team. Henry left practice with a contraption on his right knee and walked with a slight limp.

Hope said Henry is "doing pretty good," considering the magnitude of the blow. Henry talked last week about how difficult it was to miss a game last season with his broken finger. He actually admitted he tried to play when he shouldn't have against Illinois - but this time there will be no options for heroics.

Those will be left to junior Caleb TerBush and sophomore Sean Robinson. And perhaps Robert Marve, if he ever returns from a slow recovery from knee surgery.

Robinson and TerBush have been getting the bulk of the reps in practice of late because of Marve's limited availability and Henry being out with an illness.

It's possible Justin Siller could be moved back to quarterback - he figured he'd spend his final season as a receiver - just to have a third option with experience, Hope said.

But, for now, the offense rests on players who have played in only six college games.

"Right now, TerBush and Sean Robinson are further ahead than our top two quarterbacks were this time last year, just from knowing the offense, being around and knowing what to do," said Hope, who insisted he still will play two quarterbacks.

"They're very familiar with it, so I have some comfort level with it because those guys have been around it and they've executed the offense very well to this point in camp."

Though Hope said the two quarterbacks have made progress, there's still a lot of improvements to be made. Hope said it's imperative that TerBush and Robinson grasp their new role and take charge of the team.

TerBush spent last season on Purdue's scout team offense, which meant he was running opponent's plays for the defense.

Robinson played in five games and started against Wisconsin. Against the Badgers, his most extensive action of the season, he completed 19 of 38 passes for 141 yards. He threw a touchdown and three interceptions.

"There's nothing like game experience," Robinson said on media day. "Even being thrown to the wolves in there last year, I think has even calmed me down for practice. I can remember when I first got here last year in my first snaps, I was just kind of nervous to make sure I did right. I wanted to do right so bad, I just thought about it too much. But this summer, I'm a little bit more relaxed and trying not to worry about it and just let God take over and let loose and just have fun. Game reps, you can't simulate that in practice."

Marve could be the wild card.

Hope said he thought Marve would be ready before the start of camp, but it's nearly three weeks later, and Marve still isn't able to participate in a full practice with soreness and swelling in his donor knee.

"I don't know what the timetable is," Hope said. "It depends on how fast he heals and recovers. I'm hoping we can get him ready sooner than (Big Ten play)."

Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Gary Nord was not made available for interviews after practice.


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