Purdue is searching for a boost, and Robert Marve hopes to provide one.
Marve made his first appearance for the Boilers in nearly a year Sept. 17 against Southeast Missouri State, completing 7 of 8 pass attempts for 91 yards and a touchdown. Although Caleb TerBush remains the Boilers' starting quarterback, Marve is ready to help if called upon.
Little has come easily for Marve at Purdue. He suffered a torn ACL days after he announced he was transferring from Miami. Four games into the 2010 season, he suffered another ACL tear. More knee issues cropped up in preseason camp, keeping him sidelined for Purdue's first two games.
Now he's back and ready to contribute. ESPN.com recently caught up with the signal caller.
How did it feel to finally play again?
Robert Marve: It's good. It was a little frustrating at first. In camp, I thought I was going to be ready. My tendon started flaring up. One day, you feel normal and then you can't practice for two or three days. But I'm happy where I'm at now.
How did you feel when you finally got out there on the field?
RM: It was a good feeling, a feeling that you finally got back and you overcame the injury. I was happy, too, because a lot of my family was in town. They deal with me the most, going through the whole surgery and everything. So I was happy for the whole situation.
Was it hard to see Rob [Henry] go down, especially after you dealt with your own knee injury?
RM: Yeah, it was. Rob and I are close friends, so I know exactly what he's going through. It's frustrating. I'm trying to be there any way I can. He's a great quarterback, and I really was looking forward to playing with him. Hopefully, next year, we can.
Where do you fit in as far as leadership with this offense? Can you be a leader even though you've been out for a while?
RM: I feel better about it actually this year than I did last year, when I started right away. I've been around the team longer. They've gotten to see my work ethic, and I really started understanding the playbook a lot better. Once you understand, you can do more helping and coaching. So it's been good for me, and I think they're responding well to me.
How do you feel about your understanding of the playbook now?
RM: I noticed it a lot last week. You start noticing things without really looking hard, like the coverages and the fronts and where the linebackers stand. I had a couple audibles I felt good about, and I've been doing it in practice. Once you get an understanding of what the coaches want, you can build the plays off of that.
All the injuries really limited you on offense last year. How broad can this offense be this season?
RM: I definitely think we can open it up a little more because, as you said, we have more guys not hurt. So hopefully we can open it up, get the ball downfield, but at the same time, be able to power it down against a couple of opponents. I hope it's going to be high-powered, so we can get this thing rolling.
How important is this game against Notre Dame?
RM: I was very impressed with Notre Dame when I watched them on film. You see a team that's 2-2 on paper, but when I started seeing their front and how their linebackers flow, it's pretty impressive. It's going to be a big opponent for us, but lucky for us, we have it at home and in a night game, so the atmosphere should be in our favor.
How important is it to win a game like this, to get guys believing you can do something special this season?
RM: This game is kind of a program-changer. You go through a big game like this, with a sold-out crowd at home, before Big Ten play, and you can get the program excited about the rest of the season. It could change a lot of things. I definitely see an urgency in practice, guys playing more attention. I was impressed with how many guys came and started watching film on our bye week. Coach gives us off a couple days and I felt like I wasn't going to see a lot of people around, but a lot of guys came through, the receivers, the tight ends, the offensive line, a lot of people came through to watch film and try to pick up little things and see the players they're going to play against.
Coach [Danny] Hope has been very open about wanting to play two quarterbacks. How do you feel about that?
RM: I feel like I'm in a blessed situation. I can't be real choosy. I'm coming off of two ACLs and all that, so whatever I can do to help out. Last week, it felt good and I felt like I played very well. I'm happy the most that I'm comfortable in the offense now. I can audible out of stuff, I can get the flow of the game a lot better, so I just want to manage the game and whenever my number is called, I'll be ready.
You've been through a lot with the injuries. How has that experience changed you?
RM: It's definitely humbling. You definitely view the game as a game. I felt like when I was a little bit younger, coming out of high school, you see football as your world and your everything. Not that I don't still love the sport and I love playing it, but you have to understand there's much more to life than just a football game. And it also brought my family a lot closer. They're always there for me, and there are a lot of dark days before there are bright days. Hopefully, we get a couple wins.
What are your expectations individually and for the team the rest of the year?
RM: The biggest one is just to win and be a leader. I feel like I can bring some different things to the table from the quarterback position and just get the ball out of my hands. We've got a lot of playmakers people need to know about on this team. Hopefully, I can help that process.
Who are some of those guys?
RM: Justin Siller, No. 2, is a big-time receiver, a physical guy on the edge. We've got to get the ball in his hands. Then you've got guys like O.J. [Ross] and Antavian Edison out there at slot [receiver]. It's a great matchup because [Edison] lines up a lot against linebackers, and if you can get him one-on-one with the safety, that ball normally comes out to him.
Is this an opportunity for the Purdue offense to make a statement?
RM: It's a big statement for the team, the program, to see where we're at. You've got to start beating the big dogs, and Notre Dame's obviously that. I have a lot of respect for them, and hopefully, we can go out there, sling it around a little bit and get a win.