Purdue University Football Media Conference
Monday, November 23, 2020
West Lafayette, Indiana, USA
COACH JEFF BROHM: Looking forward, going to face a team in Rutgers that’s playing very, very well. They are extremely well-coached. They play aggressive but they play hard. They play fast. They play an attacking, aggressive style of defense. They don’t give up easy completions, and you know, Coach Schiano has those guys playing very, very hard. This will be a great challenge for us. This team will come in here ready to play. They have already played a lot of good football this year, and we’ve got to get back to doing the small things right and finding a way to win and every week’s going to be a challenge. We’ve got to make sure that we’re doing our part as coaches and players to get ready every Saturday to compete and play and try to win.
- Have you heard anything from the Big Ten office about the play?
COACH JEFF BROHM: Yes, I have. I have heard and got communication back about the play. I’m not at liberty to speak about those conversations but I can say this: Of all people that I’ve talked to, there hasn’t been one that doesn’t totally agree with my assessment of the play.
- Did the Big Ten agree with your assessment of the play?
COACH JEFF BROHM: Like I said, I can’t tell you the conversations but I’ve talked to the Big Ten officials and with all of the people that I’ve talked to, you know, no one doesn’t feel as strongly, if not more, than what I do about the play, but it’s over with and we moved on.
- There was another play there, the David Bell catch on the sideline, is that one play, that also got submitted and kind of what was the feedback on that one?
COACH JEFF BROHM: Well, normally we submit plays and it takes a while to get back with us, at least a couple days on the review of the plays we submit on, the one Bob asked about, there’s communication immediately on that one. But the others I won’t get their feedback for a couple days.
- But as you looked at the film of that play, was that the right call or was that another missed call?
COACH JEFF BROHM: You know what, I don’t — I didn’t see the TV copy of that. I saw our football copy and then we had a lot of work to do here as far as grading the film and getting with our players and moving on to Rutgers. So I haven’t studied that so I couldn’t speak on it specifically. So I don’t know.
- I guess what’s the status of your quarterback situation going into this week, will Aidan have a chance to get back or will Jack be your starter again?
COACH JEFF BROHM: Aidan was injured last week. Got injured in the Northwestern game. Jack came in and did a very good job. Where Aidan is at with everything, we’ll see how this week goes but I do feel like Jack competed very hard, did a very good job. Showed a lot of poise and composure, really, for three and a half or three quarters — and three quarters of the last quarter he played at a high level.
And you know, there are a few things there at the end I’m sure he’d like to get back that we need to work on but you know what he stepped in and he did a very good job, so I was very proud of Jack and his performance.
- Jack said after the game that the quarterback competition made him better. Is that something that you saw through the that competition and did some of those traits come out in the game on Friday?
COACH JEFF BROHM: I definitely feel competition brings out best of all of us and we’ve had that here at every position, but even the quarterback position before this year, when David and Elijah were competing, it brought out best of both of them and you see David playing in the NFL and has a good career going and we’ve got some quarterbacks here that, you know, we work with on a daily basis, they put in the work themselves, they want to be great players and when there’s others that are pretty good around you, you have to do your part.
So I am proud of Aidan and Jack for the work they put in and Austin and all of our quarterbacks, but it’s a team game. We all have to find ways to get better and we have to find ways as copes to put us in a position to win, and in the end, it’s about getting the win and you know, coming close or doing this and that, there can be some positives from that.
But you know, we’ve got to understand that every week’s going to be a dogfight and every year since we’ve been here to get to where we want to be at the end it’s going to be a dogfight every week and some days are going to be good, some aren’t as good but we’ve got to figure out ways to get better.
And you know, I just want to make sure all of our coaches and players are into it, they are working hard, they are hungry, they want to go out there and prove themselves. Do I think that our guys played hard to the end, so I was proud of that. We just have to play better.
- Did Rondale come out of the game okay and just kind of, you said after the game was like old Rondale. Do you still feel that way?
COACH JEFF BROHM: You know, Rondale is an exceptional player. You know, I’m sure he probably had some soreness and we’ll gauge that as this week goes on. It’s the first time he’s really seen that extensive action for a while. When the ball is in his hand, it’s electric. There are some things, with everybody, that we’ve got to shore up and polish up and route running up the field with him everyone and we want to be precise and sharp and make sure that we’re getting better there.
But you know, unlimited potential. He plays hard. He made a lot of great plays. We got him the ball in space but we want to make sure we give him the ball in space and up the field as well and we just have to continue to work on everybody’s game to get better.
- As you look at the two missed field goals, anything there in the operation aspect?
COACH JEFF BROHM: The blocked field goal we had a little seepage on the left between the left tight end and the left wing. They had three guys coming in that area. We’ve got to block the two most dangerous and let the outside guy go. We kind of let the middle of those three sneak in there, could have got a little more help from the tight ends, a little more help from the wing so there’s a combination of things. We need to shore that up and get it exactly right and that’s been the focus up to this point and the second one, you know, I just think he pushed.
- He sent out a Tweet after the game taking responsibility after the game. Did you have a conversation with him after that? Is that something that you didn’t want him to do or the fact that he stepped up and took accountability, you’re okay with?
COACH JEFF BROHM: Well, all of our players I want them to express whatever they feel and the fact that he was man enough to put that out on Twitter tells me, it’s a sign that he cares and I have no fault with it one bit. I think he felt bad that we weren’t able to get these two field goals and get us scores and to me I love it about him. He’s a guy that does care, and when something doesn’t go the way he wants, the fact that it bothers him, that actually, you know, makes me proud of him even more. Because I want all of our coaches and players when things don’t go well to want to do our part instead of saying this could have happened and Joe could have done this and Bill could have done that. That’s football. Ends up being life when you’re done with football. The fact that JD felt compelled to do that, my hat’s off to him.
- Any update an Mitchell, whether you’ll have him for this week’s game?
COACH JEFF BROHM: Not at this point. We’ll see as the week goes. Obviously we’d like to get him back but not at this point.
- In scouting Rutgers, how many trick plays have you counted so far that they have run this year?
COACH JEFF BROHM: Well, they have done a very good job, and I’ll give Coach Schiano credit. He’s coached a lot of football at a lot of levels. His defense is aggressive, hard-nosed, plays downhill, gets you nothing easy and challenges everything and it will be a tremendous challenge for us. They are quick and fast up front.
A little bit different than the Northwestern defense. These guys are quick and fast and we have to make sure that we’re able to do some things to negate the pressure that they are able to put with those guys. On offense, they have some creativity and they try to make the game fun.
So they have been in every game, with a chance to win every game. They played at a very high level and you know, we are going to have to play extremely, extremely well to beat this football team.
- Defensively, the last two games, the opponent has taken the kickoff and scored. Is there any theme or trend there and also third downs have been an issue as far as getting off the field. What are you seeing there from your defense?
COACH JEFF BROHM: We’ve got work to do and yeah, the opening drive, you’d love to top people the last two games — sets the tone a little bit. We have to be able to overcome it and it’s going to happen occasionally. It’s getting off the field on third down. We’ve analyzed that already and I think we know what the issues and we’ve got to get those fixed and I feel confident our defensive coaches will work hard to continue to help us get better. And all of us got to do our part.
It’s a team game and when we win, everybody feels great and when we don’t, we should all feel bad and want to do our part to get better.
- Will Plummer be the starter this week?
COACH JEFF BROHM: Yes.
- How long will Aidan O’Connor be out for? Will he be back this year at all, can you say?
COACH JEFF BROHM: He’s got an injury that we’re going to try to get him back as far as we can. And we’ll see when that is. You know, I don’t know the timetable.
- And if he does come back, will he get his job back or will Jack keep it?
COACH JEFF BROHM: Well, it always depends on how our guys play. We feel like Aidan has done a very good job for us when he’s been there and we feel like Jackson has done a very good job. We feel like Austin, you know, has done a good job getting ready to play, as well. We’ll gauge it as we go. For us it’s about winning every week and that’s the only thing we’re focused on.
- Any update on Anthony Watts?
COACH JEFF BROHM: You know, Anthony sustained an injury similar to George Karlaftis, he’s working hard to get back. We’re hopeful to get him back this week. Whether he’s 100 percent or not we’ll see but I know he’s working hard to get back on the field and we’d like to get him back out there.
- What percent do you think George Karlaftis is playing at right now?
COACH JEFF BROHM: I wouldn’t say he’s 100 percent. I couldn’t tell you exactly but I know he’s a guy that spends all day and all night rehabbing and doing extra rehab and going to extra doctors on the side to do his part to get on the field. This guy cares about winning. He cares about Purdue. He’s a great teammate, and there’s nothing he’s not doing to get on the field and to get healthy.
- You played just five offensive lineman, each guy played all 71 snaps. Very unique from the first three games. Talk about how you really tightened up that O-line?
COACH JEFF BROHM: We actually have a few guys that were out and not able to play, so that affected and minimized the rotation a little bit. When that happened, you know, there’s less guys to rotate and we felt like the five in there with even the rotation being smaller, know, we’re doing a decent job and they are working hard to get better and we spent a lot of time on it, and there’s still plenty of work to do.
But I do think they played hard. Now with, that said, we’ll face a much more challenging defensive front this week and you know, we’ll see how far we’ve come after this next game because these guys are aggressive and quick and fast and play downhill and they hit and they are physical. This will be a bigger challenge for us.
- Talk about what you saw out of King Doerue?
COACH JEFF BROHM: Well, King is coming back from injury. Getting him meaningful snaps is important. I think he’s going to be a very good player for us. Did some very good things. Got called on one holding. He blocked the guy really well. He dominated him. After you dominate so well, you have to reset your hands. I didn’t love that call either. He was physical. He runs hard. And we’ve just got to make sure that, you know, between him and Zander, we were able to run the football and they do a good job in the running game and pass protection and catch the ball in the backfield. But I think King has worked hard to get back on the field and he’s ready to fully participate as much as we need him.
- Can I ask what prompted Rondale’s statement postgame? Did he discuss with you that he wanted to clear things up or was that just in the moment?
COACH JEFF BROHM: You’d have to ask him. I don’t know.
- That’s okay. And second question is now that Rondale is working back in the offense steadily, is David Bell’s role going to change at all or is that going to be one, two, with those guys?
COACH JEFF BROHM: Well, David played a very good for us. Had two touchdown passes, great catches, good run yards receiving, almost made a couple spectacular catches. He’s a big focal point and Rondale is, as well, and you know, at the same time, we have to spread the wealth around. There’s other receivers on our female. There’s running backs on our team and we just can’t concentrate on one. When you start to do that, that’s when you’re going to make mistakes and you’re not going to move the ball but those two guys are definitely leaders of our team.
- Can you just talk about the last 48 hours as you try to spin a negative into a positive? Is that something that you address with your team as you try to move forward and look at Rutgers?
COACH JEFF BROHM: Like every loss, I like to let it simmer in me and get me angry and ready to do something about it, and actually I want that effect to happen to our players and coaches as well where this isn’t okay. We have to figure out a way to do more, whether it’s a little bit here or there, or a little bit this and that, we’ve got to do more. We definitely let that fester for a while and then after 24 hours, and this game is different Friday, maybe fester a little longer and it’s back to work yesterday and it’s about just correcting the mistakes and getting ready for the next game and if you spend any more time on this than that you’re not going to win the next game. We have for sure moved on to the next opponent.
Like I said, we know our schedule and who is on it, and with Rutgers playing at a very high competitive level, every week is going to be a dogfight. If we’re not willing to put in the time and to lay it out there every week, then you’re not going to win. That’s just the bottom line.
And I think as long as we’re improving, as long as we’re learning from our mistakes and as long as we’re playing hard to the end with maximum effort, you know, that’s what I want to see and if we do that, normally good things happen. And if it doesn’t, well, at least you give it everything you’ve got and you move towards the next opponent. But yeah, we have definitely moved on to Rutgers and we’ve got a lot of work to do.
- Secondly, as far as with you and your play-calling on Friday night, how did you think you did when you add a guy like Rondale back into the mix, did you look at your play-calling and how did you think you — as far as you called it, the game?
COACH JEFF BROHM: Well, it’s about getting the ball in our play-makers’ hands and scoring points and moving the ball and doing the small things. There’s obviously numerous things I’d like to do better, and you know, we work hard every week as a staff to figure out a way to do that and every week is going to be things we second-guess and there was this past game just like there is every week.
But it’s about, you know, making sure we’re aggressive, we look at creativity, we make sure the ball touches certain peoples’ hands numerous times no matter which way it is, and if you’re trying to always through downfield you’re got to go to always get touches. You have to get touches behind the line of scrimmage and run it wide, run it inside, outside, misdirection, playaction, all those things we want to make sure we have that it ability to do all those things and we’ve just got to execute. At the same time, be smart in certain situations and take care of the ball, and really it’s about winning so you know, we all need to do better. I need to do better.
- So Rondale decides to do this. Why did he want his hamstring to be such a state secret, and did it put you in an uncomfortable position as you are being asked week-after-week what his situation was?
COACH JEFF BROHM: Well I want to do whatever is best for Rondale and I want to do whatever is best for all of our players. Those relationships and conversations, I’m going to stand by them. Rondale wants to be a great player. He wants to do everything he can to help his team win. He wants to play beyond the game of college and help his family, take care of them and I’m going to do everything in my power to help him do that. I want to work with our players and you know, Rondale would love to have played the first game.
But you know what, you deal with the situation as it is and you know, I’m going to respect the wishes of all of our players. I’ll give him my advice. I’ll give him what I think but I’m going to respect their wishes and so that’s what we’re going to do.
- You’re getting in the red zone a lot but you’re not getting touchdowns. What are you seeing or not seeing from your offense in those situations?
COACH JEFF BROHM: Well, we thought we had made some improvements this past week. I don’t like settling for field goals either. When you get in that area, what we’re seeing is everyone packed in the box, one-on-one on the outside, it’s a little harder to run it. You have everyone in there, there are really no safeties anymore. They are up at linebacker depth and you’re going to get a nine-across look and two guys on your outside receivers or an eight-across look and three guys on your three outside receivers.
So it’s a little tough to run the football in there. Now, we’ve got to have a little creativity and we’ve got to still mix it in there and then you know we’ve had some penalties, we had the one touchdown overturned. You know, we’ve just got to do a better job.
So yes, you know, scoring in that area, we’d like to be much more efficient. We’re looking at a lot of things, and trying to figure out ways to make sure that it happens. I think you know, sometimes in those situations, if we are calling passes and things aren’t there, the quarterback has got to be active, athletic and buy us some extra time and let guys get open or buy us some extra time to get a running lane, and we’ve got to be able to sneak in some runs, as well.
- Did you like the way Jack did improvise with his feet and with his legs Friday?
COACH JEFF BROHM: Like I said, I thought Jack did a very good job and played with a lot of poise and composure. Like every game there’s a few things you’d like to take back and to hang a little longer here and there, and maybe at the end of the game, you’d like to take a few things back. But I think in general, you know, he came ready to play and he’s worked very hard. I was very proud of him.