Elliott helps facilitate transition at Purdue

August, 20, 2009
8/20/09
6:41
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Joey Elliott chose to attend Purdue largely because he expected the coaching staff to remain in place for the long haul.

Didn't exactly work out that way.

"Since I've been here, we've gone through three [offensive] coordinators, three quarterback coaches and two head coaches," the fifth-year senior quarterback said Thursday. "So I've had a lot of change."

Despite the fluctuation on the sideline, Elliott finds a silver lining. He intends to pursue a coaching career once his playing days are done, and now he has a lot more contacts in the business.

"This is going to open up more doors for me," he said.

Elliott has opened doors for new Boilermakers head coach Danny Hope and his staff this summer as they transition from Joe Tiller's 12-year run here. From grasping the details of the offense to leading voluntary workouts to keeping the energy level high in practice, Elliott has been the ideal leader for a new staff to inherit.

When it comes to the intangibles coaches seek in their starting quarterback, Elliott fits the mold.

"He's a high-motor guy for a quarterback," Hope said. "He talks fast and he plays fast and he's a high-energy guy. That's good for us right now, with all our young guys and keeping everybody's attention."

The only thing left for Elliott to do is prove himself in games. He backed up Curtis Painter for three seasons, and when his chance for more playing time arrived last fall, he suffered a season-ending separated shoulder Oct. 18 at Northwestern.

Elliott's career stat line: 27 completions, 300 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 10 games, 0 starts.

New Purdue offensive coordinator Gary Nord put it best this spring when he told me, "Was he just stuck behind a really good player, or was he not good enough? That's the question you have."

Elliott's top wide receiver knows the answer.

"He's just been behind a great quarterback," junior Keith Smith said. "Curtis was here and he did very well for this program. [Elliott] was just in a bum situation, but now it's his time to shine. He's going to lead us to many victories this year."

Smith knew Elliott's coaching aspirations as soon as he arrived at Purdue in 2006. Then a quarterback, Smith got regular tips from Elliott before he moved to safety and eventually wide receiver.

Elliott understands his added responsibilities this fall as the projected starter and a co-captain. Despite being backstage for most of his career, he's ready for the spotlight.

"As a quarterback at Purdue, if you get recruited here, you come here to run the offense," Elliott said. "You have to know everything every person's doing on the field and be able to check the offense into the right play and try to get us out of as many bad plays as possible.

"I wouldn't ever say I have anything to prove to myself. I have high hopes for the season, for myself and for my team."

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