WEST LAFAYETTE — Rob Henry might line up one play as Purdue’s quarterback. The next, he might be a running back. He might even field some punts.
“Any position on our football team that allows him to touch the football, we’re interested in him at that spot,” coach Danny Hope said Friday.
Hope addressed several subjects during his media day news conference.
Henry started seven games at quarterback in 2010. He entered the 2011 fall camp as the No. 1 quarterback, but suffered a knee injury before the start of the season and did not play.
“I expect him to be ready to play and make a difference in the opening ball game,” Hope said.
Henry passed for 996 yards and eight touchdowns in 2010. He also rushed for 547 yards and four scores.
“I think he throws the ball much better,” Hope said.
He is third on the depth chart at quarterback this season behind Caleb TerBush and Robert Marve.
“We’re trying to minimize his reps at the other skill spots to make sure he still has the opportunity to go out there and get a ton of work at the quarterback position,” Hope said.
Hope likes the direction the football team is going.
“We have a mature, talented football team coming back. A winning football team coming back. A lot of good signs for our team and our program,” he said. “This is where I expected to be. I just didn’t expect it to be so (darn) hard.”
Injuries, Hope said, made it a challenge the last couple of years.
“The next step is winning big,” Hope said. “That would put us in position to take a quantum leap as a football program.”
Kicker Paul Griggs and punter Thomas Meadows have stood out as two newcomers ready to step up for the Boilermakers, according to Hope.
“He has really good leg strength and he has some polish about him,” Hope said of Griggs, the No. 3 kicker in the nation for the Class of 2012, according to Rivals.com.
“ … He does have the big-field goal potential,” Hope said of Griggs, who is from Charlotte.
Meadows – from Maidens, Va. – was ranked the No. 18 kicking prospect in the nation by Scout.com.
“He can really punt and he’s done an outstanding job with the kickoff part of it,” Hope said. “He may end up being our kickoff man.”