Iowa Prepares For Another Purdue Quarterback

IOWA CITY, IA - There has been a long line of outstanding quarterbacks at Purdue. Saturday, Iowa must face another budding star signal caller. Only this one is from Altoona, Iowa.

It's called the "Cradle of Quarterbacks."

Otherwise known as Purdue.

It began with Bob DeMoss more than a half-century ago. Then there were guys like Dale Samuels, Len Dawson, Bob Griese, Mike Phipps, Gary Danielson, Mark Herrmann, Scott Campbell, Jim Everett, Eric Hunter, Billy Dicken and Drew Brees.

And now......
The kid from Southeast Polk.
That's Southeast Polk High School in Altoona.

yle Orton is his name. Just as was the case with DeMoss, Dawson, Griese, Brees and the rest, passing is his game.

The 6-4, 209-pound Purdue sophomore attempted a whopping 74 passes in Purdue's Sun Bowl game last season against Washington State.

"That's scary,'' Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said today.

And that was only the second-most in school history.

Believe it or not, Brees attempted 83 against Wisconsin in 1998.

And this week, Orton is Iowa's problem.

He and the Boilermakers will be in town for an 11:05 a.m. homecoming game Saturday against the Hawkeyes. A crowd of about 65,000 in Kinnick Stadium will watch.

Although Purdue has a more balanced attack this season — the Boilermakers rank sixth in the Big Ten in rushing and Iowa is first - Ferentz thinks Orton is the real deal.

"He's an excellent quarterback who can really fire the ball around the field,'' Ferentz said. "We've given up a lot of passing yards, so we're not looking forward to that.'' "Orton looks like a pretty good quarterback,'' said Iowa strong safety Bob Sanders. "I know he's from the state of Iowa, so I think he's going to come in and give us his best shot."

"We need to make some big hits on their receivers because I know they're going to pass a lot. We're not looking so good with our pass defense, but we're going to do whatever it takes to win this.''

Iowa will be trying to push its overall record to 5-1 and its Big Ten mark to 2-0. Purdue is 3-2 and 1-0.

Ferentz said he and his assistants were aware of Orton when he played at Southeast Polk. Iowa offered him a scholarship, but it was too late.

"He was probably recruited more aggressively by Iowa State,'' Ferentz said. "They had him in their (summer) football camp a year before. We wanted to get him in camp, but never got the opportunity.

"He went to a Nike camp — I think on the Purdue campus — and, boom, they were in on him and he committed. That was it. We never even danced.

"He has a great family, he's a great young man and I wish him luck except against us.''

Ferentz said he and Iowa State coach Dan McCarney "exchanged messages'' after last week's big games—the Cyclones' victory over Nebraska and Iowa's overtime victory at Penn State.

"I think it's fantastic,'' Ferentz said. "That was a big win for Iowa State over Nebraska — a major win for their program. I'm happy for them and I'm happy personally for Dan because he's a fantastic football coach and he's worked his tail off."

"People ask me if both teams can sustain what they're doing, and I say, ‘Why not?'

Ferentz was asked about the reaction of Joe Paterno, Penn State's 75-year-old coach, after some controversial calls by the officials in last week's game.

Paterno wound up chasing one of the officials across the field and grabbing him by the shoulder.

"I'll just say this, calls go both ways,'' Ferentz said. "You can look at a lot of calls on both sidelines, not just our sideline."

"I'm a new kid in this conference, but calls go both ways. We could have been ahead, 30-0, very easily, I think. I'm not criticizing anyone—that's just an opinion. That was a controversial play, too.''

Asked if he knew Paterno could run that fast across the field, Ferentz said, "I was really impressed with that. Coach Paterno is a great competitor. He wants to win just like all of us.''

Ferentz indicated he didn't know if he could have chased a referee as far as Paterno did.

"I pulled a hamstring about three years ago,'' he said. "I was chasing one of my kids and I'm still feeling it. I'm not going to tell you why I was chasing him.''

Ron Maly

Vol. 2, No. 70

Oct. 1, 2002

[Ron Maly's e-mail address is ]

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