Blough, Sindelar set to compete for the starting job again
Under second-year coach Jeff Brohm, training camp for Purdue’s football team begins this week as the Boilermakers start preparation for the Aug. 30 season opener against Northwestern at Ross-Ade Stadium.
Elijah Sindelar (187-329, 2,099 yards, 18 TD, 7 INT); David Blough (102-157, 9 TD, 4 INT)
Jack Plummer. The Arizona native arrived in January but isn’t ready to challenge Blough or Sindelar for the No. 1 spot. Here’s what to watch – if Blough or Sindelar miss extended time does Brohm turn to Plummer as the backup? Nick Sipe is an option, but Plummer settled into a rhythm at the end of spring practice and took a step forward. His size and arm strength are exactly what Brohm wants from his quarterbacks. The new redshirt rule would allow Plummer to play up to four games without losing a full season of eligibility.
What to like
Having two experienced quarterbacks instead of forcing one on the team. The competition was close last season until Blough started to pull away. However, a broken ankle ended his year and Sindelar took over, leading the Boilermakers to a bowl game victory despite a torn ACL. Both quarterbacks displayed plenty of toughness and grit at the position and there’s no reason to believe it won’t continue.
COUNTDOWN TO CAMP: Running backs
COUNTDOWN TO CAMP: Linebackers
COUNTDOWN TO CAMP: Receivers, tight ends
COUNTDOWN TO CAMP: Defensive line
Both have earned the respect of their teammates and coaches. Side note: Receiver Jackson Anthrop and punter Joe Schopper were a combined 3-for-3 for 68 yards. That’s a 290.4 passer rating. Let the trick plays continue.
Who starts the opener? If Brohm is going to play both quarterbacks throughout the season, the Aug. 30 starter isn’t that big of a deal. Brohm will likely use the same criteria as last season in determining the Game 1 starter during training camp – completion percentage, decision making and avoiding mistakes and he’ll likely hold them to a higher standard because this is the second year in the system. He’s targeting about 10 days before the opener to identify the starter and then begin zeroing in on Northwestern. However, don’t look for Brohm to share that information until right before kickoff when the starter takes a snap from center Kirk Barron in warmups.
While the preference is to play one quarterback, using two in this situation continues to make sense. And not just because it worked last year. Until either Blough or Sindelar clearly moves ahead, keeping both quarterbacks engaged and active is the smart way to go. The Boilermakers needed both quarterbacks last season to win seven games. If Purdue returns to a bowl game, it will need both again.
“We’ll let this thing play out. At this point, I’m not opposed to playing two guys if we feel it’s a close competition. If one guy emerges, I’m OK,” – Jeff Brohm
Number to know
Interceptions by Blough and Sindelar in their last 243 pass attempts, a span of seven games