March 20, 2012

Marve readies for last shot

Robert Marve never felt much like himself a year ago.

The quarterback, granted a sixth year of eligibility after the season, was still coming back from his second ACL injury, with the rehabilitation keeping him from performing the way he thought he could on Saturdays.

"It was very frustrating," he said in the first week of spring practice. "It was very frustrating when I started (fall) camp and it was a no-go. The first two games happened and I hadn't practiced with the team yet. Then, you get out there, like after Notre Dame, and it's hard to walk for two or three days. You can't practice, because if you do you can't play for the next two or three days. It was frustrating and kind of went on longer than I expected.

"I started feeling a little bit better for a couple games toward the end of the season. Now, it's my first healthy spring and my first spring playing twice in a row, so I'm looking forward to it."

Marve is now officially down to his last opportunity. The former transfer from Miami, the No. 1 QB recruit out of the Tampa area in 2007, was given a sixth season after a lengthy injury sheet. He missed his freshman year at Miami after being involved in a car accident, then tore his ACL first during his transfer year to Purdue. He did so again early in the fourth game of the 2010 season.

Considering his career has never gotten started, particularly like many had predicted either at Miami or here, he's happy to get another chance.

"I knew I was hurt a lot, but you never really know what the NCAA is going to do," he said. "I just prayed a lot about it and was blessed to get it. I was very thankful. My family was super excited and I'm looking forward to having a great season."

Marve was a shell of his previous self last year. Playing a backup to Caleb TerBush in nine regular-season games, plus the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. But he threw for only 633 yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions, and probably more telling of his health, he rushed for only 51 yards on 29 attempts.

"It's hard when you're not healthy," he said. "It's hard when people are judging you and having opinions about you that you know you're not even your self any more.

"So I look forward to (the season). All the surgeries, all of that, has helped me as a person to grow and humble me. It showed me that hard works pays and to keep grinding; it's worth it. I'm really looking forward to this coming year and really want to put the time in, and now can put the physical time in, of getting in shape. And when you're knocked down, keep getting up and up and keep playing."

Marve says he's feeling good now, and thinks that will show up in his performances in the fall. Last season, his preparation time was taken away while he was busy doing rehabilitation. With the latter lessened now, he can focus on Xs and Os.

"I was a little nervous the first practice, with how my body was going to respond," Marve said. "But I woke up this morning and felt great. I did every rep. My goal for camp and this spring is to not miss a rep, not to miss a rep in squats, not to miss a rep in practice, not to come out because of being hurt. That's my biggest thing. I look forward to it. It's rejuvenated me as a person and a player to get out here and be healthy for the first time in a long time."

Even if Marve's now 100-percent healthy - probably for the first time since he arrived at Purdue prior to the '10 season - it remains to be seen what his role will be this season. Last year, TerBush started all 13 games, and now Rob Henry, the previous starter, has returned from his own ACL injury. But Marve says the trio has growth close and he isn't concerned now about how things will shake out.

But Marve understands there are those who think he won't live up to his billing, and wants to prove them wrong.

"It's puts more of a chip on your shoulder," he said. "But normally you're hearing people say it who don't even understand football. It's easy to be the guy sitting down and pointing at someone, and saying they could have done it 20 years ago. But I feel good. I came here a long time ago, to Purdue, to prove something, to get us back to a good level, and I feel like now we have the team to do that."

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