CINCINNATI, Ohio – Rob Henry was expecting better. Why not? He had earned the Purdue starting quarterback job, just as he had three years ago before a blown knee had taken that away.
Now, he was healthy and, he thought, ready.
Then came Saturday's season opener against a strong Cincinnati team.
It didn't go well.
The Bearcats scored the final 35 points to win 42-7. Henry completed 18-of-35 passes for 161 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions (one was returned 41 yards for a Cincinnati touchdown). He rushed six times for 15 yards and a TD. He had some fumbles. He over-threw receivers, although it was unclear if it was poor throws or poorly run routes.
There were plenty of communication problems, and while they weren't all Henry's fault, by virtue of his position, they were. The quarterback has to lead and direct. Fair or not, the buck stops with him.
Henry was so upset afterward he posted two tweets an hour or so after the game:
1) "I apologize to all my family, teammates, friends and fans. My performance today was unacceptable. Never played that bad in my life."
2) "Staying off twitter for a while because there obviously needs to be a lot more work done and a lot less talking on my part."
Here are his post-game thoughts.
How disappointed is he?
“I'm disappointed mainly in myself. I didn't play anywhere close to the way I need to play for us to be successful. It was a lack of communication, like Coach said. I take full responsibility for that. We have to prepare harder as players. The coaches are doing a great job. It's up to us. We're the ones going on the field.”
Where was the communication break down?
"I take responsibility for that. This offense isn't easy. We have to prepare harder. We have to prepare more. We have to be ready and be certain of our assignments and alignments. After we get in the huddle, I need to spit the play out better. I take responsibility for that."
What was it like returning as the starter?
“Any time you play football, you want to have fun. When you play the way we did on offense, it's just frustrating. You try to stay positive and try to stay poised, but it's difficult, especially when you make some of the throws I made."
What's the key to getting the offense going?
“Prepare harder. Us being certain of what we're doing on offense, and then executing. That's what it comes down to. This is a great offense. Coach (John) Shoop and the coaches work extremely hard. That's what is disappointing. I know how hard they work. I know how hard the guys work. I didn't play well enough.