"Should Carson or Cody punt here?"When it gets right down to it, making tough decisions might be one of the most-important roles of a head coach in college football...and these tough decisions are clearly Hope's achilles heel- from timeouts, play-calling after time-outs, adjustments at halftime and who to play, Purdue's third-year head coach struggles when making large decisions.
"Who will play QB today...and for how long?"
"Who is going to return kicks & punts?"
"Who will be the featured RB?"
"How can I find a way to play 30 receivers in today's game?"
Next year, Hope might have his hardest personnel decisions while at Purdue in front of him, depending on a few variables.
At quarterback, many believe Robert Marve will be granted a sixth year by the NCAA (I'm not in agreement with that assessment). If that's the case, the stable will be absolutely busting at the seams with horses.
A completely healthy Robert Marve, Caleb TerBush and Sean Robinson would all be available for the Spring game in this scenario...and in the fall, it gets more confusing.
Former starters and fellow Seniors, Marve and TerBush will both be available and chomping at the bit to play. RS Sophomores and former starters, Sean Robinson and Rob Henry will both be available...and let's not forget, Henry was called the future at QB and was a team captain, prior to going down to a busted ACL. On top of four good, experienced options, Austin Appleby will be coming in. Appleby seems to be the best true drop-back option of all of them. Sure, Appleby should be a no-brainer redshirt candidate.
If Marve isn't granted the extra year of eligibility and Henry's knee has minor setbacks, I can definitely see a scenario in which Appleby burns his redshirt early in the season as Hope gets nervous about being in the situation he was in back in 2010.
One would think this is the best problem to have. But if the adage of having two quarterbacks really meaning you have zero. What does it mean to have three...or four that play???
I think every coach in the nation wants this type of problem. But, my fear is that without choosing one starter, the quality of play will be watered down. As a result, Hope's Boilers might once again be left with an offense, that while balanced, is not great nor overpowering in any one aspect of the game. And if the past few defenses are any indicator, Purdue's offense will need to put up points to be anything more than a soundly-mediocre program.