football

Etling gets his chance

Purdue'soffenseneedsaboost.
DarrellHazellthinksfreshmanDannyEtlingcanprovidethat.
SoEtlingistheBoilermakers'newstartingquarterback,HazellsaidafterpracticeonWednesday.Etlingreplacesfifth-yearseniorRobHenry,whowasbenchedlateinthefirsthalfina55-24losstoNorthernIllinoislastweek.
"IjustthinkDannyhasmadeanicesurgehereinthelastcoupleweeksinpractice,"Hazellsaid."Weneededalittlebitofajumpstartrightnow,andthat'swherewe'regoing."
EtlingwasinformedofthedecisiononTuesdayafternoon.Hesaidhedidn'thaveanindicationbeforetheNIUgamethattherewaspotentialforachangeandadmittedlywasabitsurprisedwhenhewastoldtowarmupagainsttheHuskies.
But,now,there'snograyarea.
He'stheman.
HenrywasworkingatsafetyonWednesday,andAustinApplebywasgettingtheNo.2quarterbackreps.
"It'saprettysurrealfeeling,"saidEtling,whosefirststartwillbeagainstNebraskaonOct.12inRoss-AdeStadium."Ithasn'tquitehityouyet,untilIgooutonthefieldagain.I'mtryingtobeprettycasualaboutit,takingitinstride,notbetoohigh,notbetoolow.Justtrytodomybestandgraspeverythingwe'regoingtobetryingtoputinthegameplanandjustkeepgettingbetterandimprovingeachgame.
"I'mjustsohappytofinallyhavetheopportunitytotrytogooutthereandhelpmyteammateswinagame."
AgainstNorthernIllinois,Etlinglinedupinshotgunon39ofhis48snaps.SomeofthatcouldhavebeenbecauseofthecircumstanceswithPurduebeingincatch-upmode.Some,too,couldhavebeentoallowEtlingtostandtallinthepocketandslingitaroundagainstadefensethatwasn'tblitzingandwasplayingmostlyzonecoveragewithoutdisguising.
HazellsaidtherewouldbenosweepingchangestotheoffensewithEtlingatthehelm.
"We'llberunningalotofthesamethings,"Hazellsaid."We'regoingtotweakacouplethings.Idon'twanttotipmyhand.Theplayswillbethesameandhowwegettheminmightbealittlebitdifferent."
Atleast,withthebyethisweek,Etlingwillhaveachancetogainsomerapportwiththerestofthefirst-teamoffense.Hehadn'tgottenmanysnaps-ifany-withthatgroupsincetheseasonstarted.
Buthe'llbeinchargeofrunningthatshownow,andhe'seagerfortherestofthegrouptogetaccustomedtohiscadenceandthepasseshethrows,hesaid.
It'sthelatterthatcouldbeinteresting.DuringWednesday'spractice,Purdue'sreceiversdroppedatleastfourballsfromEtling,allon-targetpasses.
Etling'sstrongarmprobablyishisstrength.Buthealsohasgoodsizeandastrongframe.QuarterbackscoachJohnShoophasravedaboutEtling'swillingnesstostayinthepocketandwaituntilthelastmomenttodeliverpasses,evenwithdefensiveplayersaroundhim.
That'llprobablybetheapproachopposingdefensesstarttotake-crowdEtlingasmuchaspossible.
"Peoplearedefinitelygoingtotryandblitzme.They'regoingtosay,'He'sayoungkidandheprobablycan'thandleit,'"Etlingsaid."I'mjustgoingtohavetoreallypreparehardtobereadytohandleablitzbecauseI'msurethey'regoingtobebringingnewstuffthatisn'tonfilm,andwe'regoingtohavetoadjusttoit.I'msurethelineisgoingtodoatremendousjobofmakingsuretheypickthatupandhelpingmeseeit.Assoonaswecomeonthesideline,I'msureCoachShoopwillseeitandtellmeaboutit.
"Ireallyneedtoworkonmakingteamspayiftheyblitzyouandreallytryingtoworkongettingtheballoutofmyhandsquickandnottakingsacks."
Etling,whohasalwaysbeenknownasaplayerwhospendssignificanttimewatchingfilm,figureshe'llhavetoratchetthatupevenmorenow.
Butheknowsthat'spartofplayingQBatthislevel,too.
Andhe'sexpectingtoproduce,despitehisageandinexperience.
"Ijusthopetokeepplayingbetter.Ican'tplaylikeafreshman,obviously,"hesaidwhenaskedabouthisexpectations."Ithinktheteamdeservesbetterthanthat.Hopefully,I'veworkedhardenoughtohopethatitdoesn'thappen.Theteamhasworkedtoohardtohavethekidbacktherewhoisplayinglikeafreshman.I'vegottoplaybehindmyyears,andI'vegottokeepgoingforwardandkeepimproving.Iknowthatmyteammatesaregoingtodemandthatofmeandthey'regoingtohelpmebesuccessfulwhenIgointhere.
"ThemoreandmoreIkeepplayingandthemoreandmoreIkeeplearning,eachgame,IthinkthebetterI'mgoingtoget.Keepimprovingand,hopefully,everyonewillbepatientandIcancontinuetohavesuccess."
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