On Monday afternoon, the news came out of West Lafayette that Purdue quarterback Austin Appleby, has decided to transfer to the University of Florida.
The news was certainly disappointing as Appleby has been a true role-model for the football program despite a horrid string of seasons. The now former signal caller was asked to do several things for this team over the course of his three years with the Boilermakers. From backing up to starting, to sharing time and going back to being a backup, Appleby’s commitment to the Purdue program never wavered. He should be commended for that. He was always a student-athlete fans of the football program could be proud of.
With that said, we must look at what this transfer says about the state of the Purdue football program. Their combined record the last three seasons under coach Darrell Hazell is a putrid 6-30 with half of those wins coming against FCS opponents. No one should blame Appleby, who has already earned his degree, for wanting to leave a program in this state.
The troubling thing for Boilermaker football fans is where Appleby and former starting quarterback Danny Etling, who transferred after last season, ended up. Appleby will be competing next year for the starting quarterback job at Florida, while Danny Etling will be in the same situation at LSU. Florida and LSU are top tier SEC programs. They do not need to poach players from a lowly Big Ten squad like Purdue, but they did. The question is why?
Florida and LSU could choose from a deep pool of very talented players across the country but they must believe both guys have a chance to be something special. That’s all there is to it. Both Etling and Appleby came into Purdue carrying a lot of promise and hope. Fans and scouts alike thought these guys had the chance to be really good.
Sadly the potential never translated into results. Neither one could find consistency within Purdue’s offense and the playing time needed to develop. Transferring to new schools gives both a fresh start.
Etling has a chance to play for a team that will be ranked highly at the beginning of next year. Couldn’t Purdue’s program use a quarterback that can lead a top 20 team? Appleby has a chance to lead a team that competed for a conference championship. Couldn’t Purdue use a quarterback who can lead a conference championship contender?
The issue that Etling and more recently Appleby’s transfer brings to light is that Purdue’s program is in a state of disarray and does not develop its most important players. Both players had moments where they looked great to be followed up with poor play mixed in with poor play calling and preparation.
The Boilers had athletes on their football team that much stronger programs were more than willing to take. Purdue lost these athletes for a variety of reasons and this is just one of a myriad problems. The biggest problem of all however is that they continue to get good players they do not know how to use or develop.