OSIPOFF: Purdue QB Rob Henry pushes forward after poor opener
By MICHAEL OSIPOFF firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @MichaelOsipoff September 4, 2013 11:20PM
Silverberry Mouhon, Rob Henry
Updated: October 7, 2013 12:56PM
Not too long after Purdue’s thud-of-a-loss at Cincinnati to begin the Darrell Hazell era, Rob Henry was compelled to express his disappointment in his play on Twitter.
“I apologize to all my family, teammates, friends and fans. My performance today was unacceptable. Never played that bad in my life,” Henry tweeted.
And then: “Staying off twitter for a while because there obviously needs to be a lot more work done and a lot less talking on my part.”
He didn’t sleep soundly on Saturday night.
But by Sunday, Henry had turned the page on his first game as the team’s starting quarterback since 2010, or at least attempted as best he could.
Heck, what else was he going to do? Dwell on it to his detriment?
No. Extract what you can in order to avoid a repeat, and then be done with it.
Henry owned his fair share (at least) of the responsibility for the Boilermakers’ loss and their performance in it, including immediately in the post-game news conference. He continued to hold himself accountable, part of the reason he is so highly respected by his teammates, viewed as such a leader.
“You learn from it, and you put it behind you — you have to,” Henry said on Tuesday. “You can’t let it bother you for the next game.”
That next game comes Saturday against Indiana State, and we’ll assume (dangerous?) Henry plays rather well. But certainly what will matter more than the game against the FCS Sycamores, who Indiana overwhelmed to open the season, is how he plays against the spate of challenging opponents to follow.
After the game against the Bearcats, Hazell said he never considered calling for either backup, redshirt freshman Austin Appleby or freshman Danny Etling, as it snowballed for the Boilermakers. During the preseason, Henry clearly outplayed his young counterparts to earn the starting job.
The time for any sort of dramatic change — after a single game, albeit an awful one — hasn’t arrived.
Still, everyone involved knows the fifth-year senior must play better than 18-of-35 for 161 yards with two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), and two fumbles (though Purdue did recover both).
“He wasn’t as ‘on’ as we had seen throughout the course of camp,” Hazell said on Tuesday. “So he needs to be a little bit more accurate, and get us in and out of the huddle a little bit quicker.”
Hazell has taken steps to help ease that communication process, which was an issue against Cincinnati. He wants the offense to be at the line of scrimmage with at least 15 seconds left on the play clock. He has spoken with offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach John Shoop about further scaling back the game plan.
Regardless, Henry still will have make the necessary throws, the necessary plays. And he will continue to have the chance to show what he can do, for the foreseeable future.
“I think that you have to give Rob an opportunity to go back into the position. The guy has not played for a couple years,” Hazell said. “I understand that the fans are probably a little upset, as we all are, but I think you have to have a little bit of patience with him. And then at the end, they will be happy about Rob Henry’s play.”