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April 5, 2010

Marve comfortable as a Boilermaker

Robert Marve's second media interview of the spring on Friday was a little more subdued than the one he had a week prior.

No offensive linemen were standing behind the Boilermaker quarterback this time around, as Marve strolled up to the handful of waiting reporters with his shoulder iced and wearing a Plant (Fla.) High School Football shirt.

After saying the week before, "This is the most I'm going to talk about myself," Marve opened up about his ACL injury, gelling with his new teammates, the offense's potential and his rededication to religion.

"The first thing I want to say, like I always want to say is, I just thank God for being out here," Marve said. "You go through so many things and adversities in life that it's a great feeling when you can go out onto the field and play. I just want to thank God for my situation."

Marve said religion has always been a part of his life, but maybe wasn't at the forefront in recent years.

"It's something my dad instilled when I was young," Marve said. "It's something I needed to refocus on when I transferred here, looking back at my old experiences.

"You come through so many things, you feel blessed. It's weird how things work out the way they do, but I'm here now and I'm happy for that."

Plenty of hype followed Marve to West Lafayette. He broke Tim Tebow's prep records in Florida and was named the state's Mr. Football as senior before starting 11 games at the University of Miami as a redshirt freshman, but also endured a pair of one-game suspensions and had a public feud with Hurricanes' coach Randy Shannon.

Marve said he doesn't feel he has "anything to prove," and is looking to show nothing more than a team-first attitude.

"I think I have a great talent that I want to show off for my teammates," Marve said. "I want to be a team guy through and through. I don't care if we run the ball 50 times a game or throw the ball 50 times a game, I want to be able to win the Big Ten here at Purdue."

Coach Danny Hope downplayed the idea that any Boilermaker players were apprehensive or cautious when welcoming Marve to the team.

"I'm sure they had to get a feel for him," Hope said. "Any of the stories - I haven't heard any negative stories about him. He's a transfer. It doesn't have to have a negative connotation. I always equate it to being a divorcee. It doesn't mean you have a defect in character; it means it didn't work out. There aren't any horror stories out there about Robert Marve that I've ever uncovered.

"It didn't work out well, but I'm sure they had to get a feel for them because he's such a high-profile player who transferred in here, has never got a snap at Purdue and has more media presence than just about anybody on the football team."

Marve had to sit out last season due to NCAA transfer rules, but still made news when he tore his ACL last summer. Now that he's getting back into a regular practice routine, Marve said his knee feels good, all things considered.

"I don't feel like I felt the first two days of practice," he said. "I'm wearing down a little bit. It's the first time I've been running in a year-and-a-half, but I feel great. The coaches are doing a great job bringing me in and out. I'm just blessed to be here, happy to be here and Coach said he's going to give us a little bit of rest (postponing Saturday's and Monday's practices), so I'll be back bouncing around."

Marve wore a knee brace during Friday's practice.

"I wore the brace just to be on the safe side," he said. "The trainers recommend it, so I went with it. I felt normal with it on out there and I was able to run around and make some plays. There are so many players around here that put me in good situations. They keep putting me in good situations and I'm just trying to get the ball to them."

Hope said the coaching staff has to remind itself to give Marve some rest during practices.

"Even though he's coming off a knee injury, he's one of our faster players out there in the scrimmages," Hope said. "He's taken the ball and has broken contain with it and been able to outrun the defense a couple of times. He can really, really run."

Marve said he's starting to feel more at home on the football field again.

"The game is slowing down for me tremendously," he said. "The one thing I've learned is to take it one play at a time and see what the defense gives you and take it."

Hope has said there is "open competition," for every spot on the team, quarterback included. Marve's biggest competition for the starting spot will come from sophomore Caleb TerBush and redshirt freshman Rob Henry.

"We're not trying to stay focused on the quarterback battle; we're just trying to be a better team," Marve said. "We're doing everything we can. Everyone wants to start. No one wants to watch everybody else play, but I want the best thing for this program at Purdue."

Despite the competition, Marve said all three quarterbacks are becoming good friends.

"That's another thing that is great about Purdue, that you've got so many different guys that are cool with each other," Marve said. "Like the quarterbacks - we're all battling, but we're all friends. It's not so much, 'I'm going to beat you,' but it's more, 'I'm going to be the best me I can be today.' The rest will work itself out."

As for when Purdue travels to Notre Dame for both team's season openers, Marve thinks the Boilermakers can take with them a potent offensive attack.

"(Offensive coordinator Gary) Nord is doing a great job with all of the quarterbacks and receivers, working with the line," Marve said. "It's scary how good this offense can be. Each day we look on the up and up even more. When we put all of the pieces together, it's going to be scary how good we can be."


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