Several Big Ten teams have competitions/controversies/questions about their starting quarterback situations. Let's take a look at where the drama stands at each place right now:
Boilermakers coach Danny Hope has been playing both Caleb TerBush and Robert Marve since Marve came back from his knee injury and plans to keep doing so. TerBush threw an interception on the first play last week against Notre Dame, and Marve got a lot of playing time. Hope said Tuesday that TerBush enters this week as the No. 1 quarterback but that there would be a competition.
"We have two good quarterbacks, two guys who haven't taken a lot of game reps in the last two years," Hope said. "I think Caleb is probably a little more consistent in regards to the execution of our total offense, but Robert is a very special passer. ... We have some competition at that spot, not controversy."
There was some potential minor controversy with Marve earlier this week. After Hope made some comments about Marve's need to play within the system more, the quarterback posted this on his Twitter account Monday: "Don't understand how I was not playing in the system! It was rough from the get go, don't understand how that was on me." Marve later tweeted that he wasn't trying to criticize anyone and that he was "all in" with the team. Hope said he had no problem with it.
"When I read it, I knew exactly what he was trying to say, and the only negative responsive to it is everyone else's negative response," Hope said. "I wasn't offended by it one bit, and he said exactly what we were saying, that he's got to play within the system."
True freshman Max Shortell made his first start last Saturday at Michigan as MarQueis Gray was unavailable with a toe injury. Shortell has been playing a lot even when Gray was healthy. Head coach Jerry Kill said Gray is out of his walking boot, and he's hopeful that Gray can play this week against Purdue.
"We need his athleticism on the field, because we're not that gifted in a lot of areas right now and he's an athletic kid who can help us," Kill said. "But with a toe situation, it's yet to be seen. ... I'm not going to put somebody who's three-quarter speed out there in that situation. We'll see how it progresses this week, but we hope we can get some plays out of him on Saturday."
Head coach Luke Fickell reiterated that freshman Braxton Miller remains his starting quarterback. Miller did not play the entire fourth quarter last week against Michigan State, and former starter Joe Bauserman led the team to its only score in the waning seconds. Despite Miller's struggles in the passing game against the Spartans (5-of-10 for 56 yards), Fickell said he wouldn't have a quick hook for Miller this week at Nebraska. He said the offensive line needs to do a better job giving Miller chances to throw.
Surprise! Joe Paterno says he doesn't know who his starting quarterback will be this week. Of course, Paterno has said that every week, and every week he has started Rob Bolden. In the last couple of weeks, though, Matt McGloin has played better while coming on in relief. While neither has been outstanding, McGloin is also the only Big Ten quarterback who's played regularly in every game who has yet to throw an interception this season.
Paterno, though, talked again about how both players are equal in many regards.
"It's a dilemma," he said. "I'm very reluctant to point out that one is better than the other ... so I'm going to play them both. It's one of those things where people might not agree with it, and that's fine. I'm not sure I agree with it."
Dusty Kiel made his first start of the season in last week's 16-10 loss to Penn State. Kiel also came on in relief of Ed Wright-Baker in the North Texas loss and led the team on a rally that fell short. Wright-Baker wasn't available last week because of an ankle injury. Kiel was 22-of-45 for 184 yards and a touchdown with an interception versus the Nittany Lions.
Head coach Kevin Wilson said Wright-Baker has returned to practice, but Kiel will get the bulk of the reps in the early part of the week in preparation for Illinois.
"If Ed's full speed -- I don't know if we have a controversy because those two are good friends -- but it's pretty close," Wilson said. "Until we get the surrounding parts playing better, neither one of those guys right now has been the issue. They need to play better. They're playing well with what's dealt to them. We've got some issues at other positions that need to keep getting better moving forward."
No controversies here, as the Wildcats say Dan Persa will be back as the starter against Michigan and should be healthy enough to play the entire game. But Persa did shed some light Tuesday on why it took him until four games into the season to play and why he left last week's Illinois game early.
Persa told the Chicago Tribune that he had a setback on his surgically-repaired Achilles' tendon in June that pushed his timetable back by about a month. That's why he exercised caution in the Illinois game.
“Right after the game, the docs talked to me and said: ‘This is normal. You’ll have some tweaks with this and you’ll have to play through it,’" he said. “I felt a weird pull in the bottom of my leg and then it got tight. But there was nothing torn or strained too badly. I’ve had some setbacks before, and they were always worse than that. They know I don’t want to have another setback that could possibly threaten my season."