It’s Time for the Purdue Boilermakers to Make a Change at Quarterback


Six weeks into the season and the Purdue Boilermakers look like a team who still hasn’t gelled. A team whose offensive play is too inconsistent, giving fans little to cheer for on Saturdays. Despite looking solid against Notre Dame and Southern Illinois, the offense took two steps back last week against Iowa when they failed to score a single touchdown. It’s that inconsistency that lies upon the shoulders of quarterback Danny Etling and it’s time to pass the responsibility to his backup, Austin Appleby.

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  • Etling has started 13 career games in the past two seasons and has won only two. You can’t blame only Etling for the 11 losses, but he’s not played up to the hype that he received heading into last year. Etling was supposed to be the quarterback who returned the title of “Cradle of Quarterbacks” to Purdue. He was supposed to be the talent to bring this team out of the Big Ten cellar. But he’s not that quarterback; he’ll likely never be that quarterback.

    Enter Appleby.

    Appleby is a redshirt freshman who competed with Etling in the offseason for the starting quarterback role. It wasn’t too shocking to see him lose out to Etling since Etling had taken over for Robert Henry the previous season, but what has been shocking is the lack of decisiveness from head coach Darrell Hazell.

    For the second straight week Hazell has failed to name his starting quarterback for the upcoming game, which leads to speculation outside of the program, even if the players themselves know who is starting. But what if they don’t? What if Hazell really hasn’t decided? If that is the case, then he’s killing every bit of confidence either player has and he might as well just stick it out with Etling.

    However, Etling has failed every conceivable test thrown at him. His only two wins have come against Western Michigan – a MAC school who is usually put on the schedule as a “cupcake” game – and a FCS school. Nothing really to write home about. He’s one of the worst passers in the Big Ten; ranked outside the Top 10 in passing yards per game and passing efficiency. And last, but not least, he’s failed the eyeball test, well at least for everyone but Hazell.

    Appleby may not be the savior either, and come next year current freshman David Blough will be the talk of the town because he reminds everyone of some guy named Drew Brees. But Appleby has shown confidence in the pocket, the ability to make plays with his feet and the ability to find a way for the offense to score. His stats don’t  show it, but Appleby has passed the eyeball test when he’s been on the field – usually in losing situations – and has earned his chance to start for the Purdue Boilermakers.