CHICAGO — Caleb TerBush ascended to the top of Purdue’s depth chart at quarterback after Rob Henry suffered a season-ending injury during fall camp.
TerBush had never started for the Boilermakers and had appeared in only one game in 2009.
He ended up starting all 13 games in 2011, helping Purdue to its first bowl appearance since 2007.
TerBush, back for his senior season, enters camp at No. 1 on the depth chart and is looking to build on the experiences from a year ago.
“It was fun being back on the field,” TerBush said at Big Ten media day a couple of weeks ago. “I hadn’t been able to play for a few years because of academics and because I redshirted. It was good to be back out there and play with my teammates and win some games.”
TerBush completed 61.7 percent of his passes (171 for 277) for 1,905 yards and 13 touchdowns.
“He has gained a lot of confidence from playing and playing well,” Purdue coach Danny Hope said. “I was really impressed with him last year at the beginning of the season when he became the starting quarterback a week before the opening game. I thought he had a very calm demeanor; he had good composure about him. As the season progressed, he got better. And by the end of the season, I thought he was playing his position very well.”
TerBush did not have an interception in the final four games. He only threw six all season.
“I learned you can’t really let things get you too rattled,” TerBush said.
“Coaches said I’ve been calm in there when the pressure gets up. I feel like that’s a good trait to have. You have to stay calm in those situations because you’re the quarterback, you’re team is looking at you for leadership.”
“He makes good decisions with the football, he does a great job of managing the offense,” Hope said.
TerBush prepared for this year by spending a lot of time in the film room.
“A lot of coaches say it, but it’s true. You really do need to be a student of the game to be successful,” TerBush said.
“People are so athletic, you’ve got to have that mental edge.”
He learned a lot from the film sessions that he will take into the season. He used last year’s opener against Middle Tennessee as an example.
“I had some balls that should have been picked off. I was very fortunate that they weren’t,” TerBush said. “I was like, ‘Why did I throw that? I could have easily done this.’
“Simple reads that I kind of got caught tunnel vision to one side and that comes with experience.
“I kind of got away from that as I got further down the season. That’s something I’ve been working on this season.”
The 6-foot-5, 225-pound TerBush said he also worked on his footwork and being consistent with his technique.
“He looks like a whole different guy,” Hope said.
“He’s a lot bigger, a lot stronger. He has developed into one of the top leaders on our football team.”