Purdue opens spring ball, quarterback competition

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – The Purdue coaching staff says there will be a quarterback competition this spring. Sophomore quarterback Danny Etling would appear to have the upper hand after starting the final seven games of 2013, but offensive coordinator John Shoop says don’t tell that to Austin Appleby.

“None of those guys signed up to be a caddy, no doubt,” Shoop said. “But [the competition] brings out the best in you.”

Etling will be challenged by Appleby and early enrollee David Blough. A position battle presents the opportunity for a less than friendly relationship between competitors, but Appleby says at Purdue that couldn’t be further from the truth.

“The quarterback room has to be very close and we have to support each other,” Appleby said. “We’re constantly in each other’s ear trying to help each other out and give each other encouragement. If you watch us during practice we’re high-fiving and we’re joking. We all understand we all want the job, but that does not carry over into our relationship with each other. We’re good buddies. It’s pretty special that our quarterback room can be like that because I don’t think it is like that at other places.”

Don’t be misled. Despite their friendship, they all want the starting job. With two years under his belt in West Lafayette, Appleby might be Etling’s biggest competition, but Blough figures to play a role in the battle as well.

“When there is competition at the quarterback position, when there is competition at every position it is going to make everyone on the team play harder,” Blough said. “It is going to make everybody feel like there’s someone right behind you chasing you and that’s what I’m here to do. I’m here to make the team better and really looking forward to working with these guys and pushing them.”

Etling welcomes the competition.

“Austin and David will now continue to push me and I will continue to push them and nobody wants to be on the sideline signaling in,” Etling said. “So, obviously we are going to continue to work and the more and more they can push me, the better and better we’ll get together. I think we are going to continue to see a lot growth at that position.”

The coaching staff is adamant that no player is guaranteed a starting role. The team will continue spring practice until the spring game on April 12 at Ross-Ade Stadium at 1 p.m.

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