CHICAGO - Head football coach Danny Hope was his usual, optimistic self at the 2011 Big Ten Football Media Day.
He and the 11 other Big Ten coaches met in Chicago to address the media and discuss the topics of interest for the 2011 season. While other coaches discussed the Ohio State scandal, the addition of Nebraska to the Big Ten and the new Legends and Leaders Divisions, Hope focused on quarterbacks and team health.
The health issues that plagued last season's team, such as injuries, aren't tugging as heavily on Hope's mind this season. He thinks that although the team didn't win as many games as everyone had wished, the men still competed well and the team is taking the proper precautions to avoid what happened last season.
"A lot of emphasis has been on ‘pre-hab' techniques and drills you can do to minimize your chance for injury," Hope said. "Also, (we've focused on) workouts and a plan to get our injured players back on the field."
Hope said senior quarterback Robert Marve is where he needs to be with his ACL repair and junior running back Ralph Bolden will be able to return to the field. Because of the injuries and lack of upperclassmen - there were 6 seniors that played - Hope said that the experience gained by the younger members of the team should pay off this season.
"I look back at 2010 and think it only served to make us a stronger football team, and better-prepared football team for this upcoming season," he said.
The quarterback position was the hardest hit with injuries in 2010, but with the return of Marve, and sophomore Rob Henry, Hope said there is a high probability the offense will utilize a two-quarterback system.
"To be quite frank, Rob Henry was too good of an athlete to be on the bench," Hope said. "We had a plan last year to utilize a two-quarterback system some. We have a plan to utilize at least a two-quarterback system some this year as well. It won't be the bread and butter of our offense, but something that has potential."
This is also Hope's first season as head coach at Purdue where he has been able to enter spring ball with an experienced quarterback.
"A lot of people talk about our quarterback situation saying if you don't have a starter, you don't have a quarterback," he said. "I disagree. We have two really good quarterbacks."
Hope also said the team has more "firepower" on all sides of the ball than in past years and expects to be successful if the team can take care of the football.
Senior Joe Holland agrees with Hope and expects to improve upon last season's 4-8 record.
"We've worked hard," Holland said. "I think with this group we have right now there's no reason why we shouldn't win."
Holland and fellow seniors Albert Evans and Carson Wiggs are also in attendance for the Media Days and will participate in additional interviews today.