Curtis Painter, by virtue of a strong training camp, immediately established himself in the No. 3 slot on Purdue's depth chart at quarterback. Fortunately for the Boilermakers, though, he was never needed, and thus redshirted.
Now, Painter appears poised to enter spring practice as the back-up to junior-to-be Brandon Kirsch. It is likely this spring he'll see more reps than your normal backup QB, as the coaches will look to keep wear and tear off Kirsch's arm.
Painter might be considered a cross between Kirsch and '04 starter Kyle Orton. He's athletic and can run with the ball, but not quite as well as Kirsch. Meanwhile, his arm appears stronger than Kirsch's, but not quite as powerful as Orton's.
Quarterbacks coach Blaine Bennett describes Painter's arm, which zings consistent spirals on the practice field, as lively.
"Kyle could throw the ball every day and never lose anything," Bennett said. "Curtis is the same way. You don't worry about him like that."
Painter has good size for his position, as he's listed at 6-4 and he topped out in the fall around a solid 210 pounds.
Bennett likes Painter's intelligence and said the youngster learned quickly this season. Tiller, though, would like to see Painter pick up a certain intangible.
"I hope as he grows he develops a little more of a personality in that he's a very business-like, no-nonsense kind of guy," Tiller said. "I'd like him to enjoy himself a little more."
Kirsch enters the spring as the unquestioned No. 1 QB, but the coaches would like to gauge Painter's competitiveness by his willingness or lack thereof to accept his place on the depth chart.
"What we'd like to see is him come out in the spring and in August and really, really compete," Tiller said. "We believe he can close the gap, and we'll see when he can do that."