Purdue University Football
Monday September 11, 2017
THE MODERATOR: Good morning. We’ll get an opening statement from coach, then open it up for questions.
JEFF BROHM: After reviewing the film, I do think our guys did play hard. We improved the second week. We were able to pull out a very good victory at home in a game that we needed to win.
I think our players are gaining confidence. Hopefully we can build upon that and get ready for a good opponent on the road at Missouri. I think our guys understand it will take a great effort by us in order to win, but we’re looking forward to getting back to work this week and getting ready for the Missouri Tigers.
THE MODERATOR: We’ll open it up for questions.
Q. After the game, your players talked about kind of how much fun they’re having, playing well against Louisville and winning. As a head coach who enjoys the game, loves the game, how much a part of your job is creating fun not only for the players but for those people that came out and watched you play the other night? Is that important to you?
JEFF BROHM: It’s very important. I think anyone who’s been around me, it’s one thing we not only preach to our players but also our recruits, yes, we want to outwork the opponents, work extremely hard, but I believe in having fun. I think if you have fun, you’re going to want to work even harder.
Without question, I want the atmosphere to be one that our coaches enjoy coaching in, our players enjoy coming over to the building, working hard, getting better.
As far as style of play, yes, I want to make it fun and entertaining for anyone who’s watching. I think that’s what it’s all about.
It is a game. While you want to win and do your part, it is important to have fun with it. I think the more players we can get involved throughout the game and the more they feel part of it, they’re going to continue to work that much harder to make sure they’re ready when their number is called.
But the question you ask is something I firmly believe in. As a former player and coach, I’ve been on both sides of it. I think you want your players to enjoy their college experience and have fun with it. So, yes, we want to make sure they’re having fun.
Q. Over the weekend talking to several fans, they seemed to enjoy it. You sold an awful lot of tickets after that Louisville game. How rewarding was that, to see the ticket sale thing happen?
JEFF BROHM: Well, I thought it was huge. I thought the turnout was more than impressive. I didn’t really look up around back behind me till early in the second quarter. When I did, I was in awe. I thought the fans showed up. They were into the game. Our players responded to the enthusiasm that was being shown by them. I think it made for a good product.
Without question, we want to continue to build upon that. I think it’s important that our players know that we have support right now, and we’ve got to do our part and work extremely hard. Every time we take the field, as you guys know, try to play hard as the other people, showcase that.
If you’re doing that, doing the small things throughout the week, normally good things are going to happen. I think our players thoroughly enjoyed having that crowd. The students showed up to the game. They were into it. They were into it early. We were very appreciative of all the support we received in that last game.
Q. I know you’re going to continue to play them both, but did David maybe earn the start this week?
JEFF BROHM: Well, you know what, we’ll wait till Saturday to determine that with you guys. But I know David did a very good job. He stepped in. He was very efficient, took care of the ball, produced points, got us into the end zone.
Unfortunately for Elijah, we had some drops when he was in there, but I thought he played very well also. Just happened to be little bit of the luck of bounce of the ball, so to speak, and David taking advantage of the opportunity when he got in there.
Both quarterbacks are improving. I do believe they understand in order to succeed, we need our quarterback position to play well. They’ve done everything we’ve asked. I think the competition has brought out the best in them. It pushes those guys to do the small things and work hard to get better. Hopefully it pays dividends for us in the long-term.
But I did think David played a very, very good football game.
Q. Missouri was explosive in their first game. Struggled against a pretty good South Carolina defense on Saturday night. They’ve got some big play-makers. Does your defense have to take kind of that next step this week, especially on the road against this offense?
JEFF BROHM: Yeah, it will be a great test for us. I think we played a very good football team the first game. We played a very good MAC opponent the second game. Now we’re going to face a team that’s in the SEC, used to playing good competition every week. They have good athletes.
I think we did see improvement on both sides of the ball, but we’re going to have to take that next step in order to be able to compete and win the football game.
I think any time you go on the road, it’s always a challenge. This team does have good athletes. They can score points. They can challenge our defense. We kind of understand that. We’ve got to make sure we’re doing our part to put them in a great position, but then they’ve got to go out and play their tails off, execute, try to do the small things.
On offense, we need to get better at not turning the ball over. That was the main emphasis. We did. We also found a way to run the football, become a little more balanced, which is always going to help.
It’s going to be a tough football game. As you know, our schedule from here on out every week is going to be a test and a challenge. We just got to worry about the next opponent, trying to find a way to improve every week, see if that can be good enough.
Q. Markell is not on the depth chart. Update on him?
JEFF BROHM: I think he’s getting better. Do I anticipate him playing? I don’t know for sure yet. I think tomorrow, Wednesday, we might be able to determine more.
But I saw him out there rehabbing while we practiced yesterday. He looked like he had made a lot of progress. I’m not for sure exactly where that is. Probably won’t know a little more till Tuesday or Wednesday.
Q. To clarify the trick play you called, how would you describe it? I don’t think anyone knows what to call it.
JEFF BROHM: Believe it or not, we have a one-word term for it, everyone knows what it is. We practice it, carried it. I think we got the look that we wanted from the sideline. We had a little false cadence just to make sure. Once I saw that look, we went ahead and went with it. It worked to perfection.
Sometimes those plays are hit-or-miss. I think our guys executed it perfectly. We do work hard at special plays. As we talked about earlier, I want to make the game fun to play in, fun to watch. We’re going to carry them every week.
If I get the guts enough to call them, we’re probably going to call them. Normally when they’re working, I might call a few more. When they’re not, I get scared being as aggressive.
I thought it was the right time. Wanted to take a shot, get some momentum going, and luckily it worked for us.
Q. I’m not asking for the one-word call, some people called it a reverse, some a two-toss pass. What would you call it?
JEFF BROHM: Well, as far as the exact descriptive term, I guess it was a double reverse pitchback fleet flicker. Like I say, we sum it up in one word. Since we’re no-huddle, I can’t really tell you. If we said it at the line of scrimmage, they would know what it is.
Some of those special plays you kind of just get a name for it, you practice it all spring and all summer, you kind of have it in the bank. Some weeks you carry it, some weeks you don’t.
I think the good thing is when it becomes one word, your guys know exactly what it is, the formation. While we may help them a little bit getting lined up if they forget, normally the one-word terms they know a lot better than the 16-word terms that some people like to use in a play call.
Q. Seems like your tight ends have stepped up for you guys. Is this the role you envisioned they would have this season?
JEFF BROHM: Well, we knew our tight ends are good receiving, pass-catching tight ends. Both guys can do some different things. Bryce and Hopkins can stretch the field, go vertical, make some athletic catches. Cole Herdman is a more consistent pass catcher that can run consistent routes, medium range, underneath. He hit the trick play for us.
Both guys are solid football players. They’re going to continue to get better. They were better this week with what we did asking them to block, even though we didn’t ask them a ton. But they were both better. They’re both tremendous leaders. They’re two of the better football players on our offensive football team.
They do everything you ask. They work hard. In order for us to be successful, in my opinion, they’re going to have to make catches every week.
Q. If you look at Mizzou, what do you make of their quarterback?
JEFF BROHM: I think he’s a big, strong quarterback. He’s got a good arm. From what I’ve seen on video, he’s done a good job of distributing the ball. Thrown for eight touchdowns already in two games.
It will be a test for our guys on defense. Any time you face a good passer, the secondary is going to have to step up to a challenge, find a way to get a pass-rush. Haven’t produced as many sacks as I’d like. Our secondary is going to be tested this week. You’ll find out after the game where we’re at in that aspect.
I think we did improve this past week as far as our alignments, being in position. But we still got a ways to go.
Q. When you talk about improvements in the secondary, what is the next step for that group?
JEFF BROHM: Well, I was disappointed in game one with how many yards we gave up, especially to the empty sets of Louisville. Kind of got exposed in that a little bit. It wasn’t all in the secondary. But this week I think our alignments were better, our presnap position was better for the most part. We had our eyes on the quarterback and were doing what we’re coached to do. We got out of whack a few times.
But some young guys in the secondary that haven’t played a lot for us. We’re trying to create some more depth. Weren’t able to do that as much this past game as I would like. You might see some more guys mixed in there this week if it goes the way we want. I do want to increase the competition.
I think it’s important that those guys know they have to continue to work hard, improve. I want other guys to be able to go in there if somebody is struggling, that someone else can jump in there and prove they’re ready.
We’ll be tested this week on the perimeter. It will be a big game that will tell us, after the game, where we’re at in the secondary. I do like our work ethic, but we have to get better.
Q. Do you think Missouri is going to stretch the field on you more than what you’ve seen the first two games?
JEFF BROHM: Well, I think Missouri will have a very good quarterback and some athletes, they like to throw the football. So against Ohio, just to be blunt about it, they were a running football team, liked to control the clock, didn’t quite have the athletes on the outside of the teams we’re going to face from here on out. That’s going to be the challenge. We got to make sure we don’t give them too much cushion, but we challenge what they do. I don’t want to give up a bunch of easy completions. We work hard at trying to take away the seam throws and the throws up the middle, the in-breaking routes. Rather throw the ball to the outside as much as we can and force them to have to make the long throw.
Those are the things we’ve worked hard on. I like our secondary. I think they’ll continue to improve every week.
Q. You said you would like more sacks. Are you happy with some of the pressure you’re getting or is there another gear there that needs to happen?
JEFF BROHM: Well, I’d like to get more sacks, bottom line. I think any time you can hit the quarterback, put pressure on him with a sack, a hurry, a knockdown, on a quarterback it affects him. I want to make sure we’re getting enough pressure.
I think up front they’ve done a good job. Sometimes we got to get off blocks a little bit better. Sometimes maybe we’re dropping multiple guys in coverage and we don’t have enough guys up there rushing. It’s got to be the perfect mix.
But, yes, I’d like to find a way to get a little bit better pass-rush and get after the quarterback. I think anybody you play, you have to do that.
So first game it was tough. That guy got away from anything that came in there. This past week, we got some push, but really I think just one sack.
Q. Where did you see the improvement from week one to week two in some of your areas?
JEFF BROHM: Offense or defense?
JEFF BROHM: On offense, we didn’t turn the ball over. Number one thing we’ve got to do. We have to make sure we’re efficient at what we’re doing. I think up front we blocked better, were more consistent running the football. I was more consistent at calling running plays. That was good to see. Then we were efficient in the passing game. Hit a few shots when we called them. All those things matter.
I think the fact we didn’t turn it over was crucial. You look at Ohio, they had two turnovers there in the second quarter. It converted to points right off the bat. Our defense has done a good job getting turnovers. That’s going to be critical for us.
I think our defense was more sound against the pass, which based on personnel who were playing, was probably some of it, but I think we were in better position, we understood what we were doing a little bit more.
Special teams, we gave up the one fake. Really had a misalignment with one of our guys, that was the problem. Other than that, I thought we covered better. When you’re kicking the ball to the end zone every kickoff, that’s a tremendous asset.
So there was improvement all across the board. We’ve got to build on that and while we move on to the next opponent. We spend quite a bit of time going over corrections, making sure we take care of ourselves as much as anywhere I’ve ever been.
The last day that’s been the focus, is correcting all the mistakes, making sure we understand exactly what happened, why it happened, how to fix it so if it comes up again, we try not to repeat ourselves. That we work hard at. Hopefully it pays off. Now we’re on to the next game.
Q. It’s been just two games, you’ve been pleased with the effort that you’ve seen. Do you feel like that foundation that you’ve tried to establish from day one is really paying off right now?
JEFF BROHM: We’re two for two on it with 10 games left. We’ll see. I like everything they’ve done to this point. They’ve worked extremely hard in practice. They’ve played hard in the game. They’ve had good effort. They’ve been into it.
But every week is a new week. We try to emphasize it’s a one-game season. You have to reprove yourself. No one cares what you did last week. You have to try to raise your level of play, make sure you’re elevating your game every week. If not, your cheating yourself and your teammates.
We try to say the right thing, challenge our guys, but you have to go out every week and prove it. To do it consistently throughout the season, that’s the challenge.
But, yes, I’m happy with being able to have that effort two for two so far. Now we have one on the road that we’re going to have to find a way to make it even better.
Q. You mentioned the guys are playing with some confidence, gaining confidence. How do you look at this? Is it building momentum over the first two weeks?
JEFF BROHM: I think so. I think we want to work our guys hard. We want them, when they take the field, to not only have confidence, but you’ve got to kind of tell yourself you’re the best dag-gone player at that position every time you step on the field whether it’s 100% true or not. That has to be the mindset. I still think we need to improve upon that. But we’re getting better.
I think while we want to motivate and push our guys and demand the best for them, they need to understand that they need to take the field every game that they are the best and they’re going to have to prove it. They’re going to find a way to get it done.
While we’re going to make some mistakes along the way, when they make it, I want them to move on to the next one, challenge themselves. I think we got better as the game went on last night. A little rocky with some drops in the first quarter, but our players responded. It was good to get some guys in there. Even though they had a couple drops, I think they’ll bounce back from it.
But it’s important, that the mindset is vital to success. Regardless of what’s happened in the past, you got to block that out. Every week’s a new week. You got to be up for the challenge.
I think our guys to this point have had a great attitude and they’ve done everything in that manner that we could ask.
Q. Is there a certain kind of road mentality you want your guys to have?
JEFF BROHM: Well, there’s a certain mentality in general, for sure. But any time you go on the road, it’s going to be more difficult. You’ve got to be in the right mindset, have the right focus, understand it’s going to take everyone’s best effort in order to win. I think our guys understand there’s not a whole lot of margin for error.
But you can overcome some mistakes if you’re playing hard, playing till the end, you’re showing fight, trying to finish everything you do.
I think our guys have seen that to a certain degree. We found a way against a good Louisville team to get some good turnovers, where if we didn’t, we’re probably not in the game at halftime.
So they’ve done everything effort-wise, finishing, playing hard. While it gets monotonous to say it, those things are very, very important when it comes to not only playing the game, but going on the road.
Q. You put Richie Worship in some more opportunities. Roughly eight yards per play with him in there. What did you think of him?
JEFF BROHM: I thought he did outstanding. We wanted to make sure that we got him in there a little bit more. He gives us everything he’s got. He’s a hard worker. He can run the ball, block, he’s a physical presence. When you hand it off to some runningbacks, if they get a guy leading up in the hole a little bit for them, makes them feel more comfortable.
I think that got us going. He was very efficient when he was in there. He was physical. I think he’s got the size and the strength to take on some linebackers and do a very good job with it.
Q. Why did Eddy Wilson not start?
JEFF BROHM: Some internal things we were dealing with. I think Eddy did a very good job when he was in there. When he’s locked in, he can be as good as he wants to be. I want him and all our players to know we’re going to support them and push them to be their best. I think he came in, did a very good job.
Q. Why do you like the pistol?
JEFF BROHM: Well, you know what, as you guys kind of saw a little bit, sometimes when you’re in the shotgun, you’re asking a specific question, we’re getting into some football lingo there. All those runs are good, but in order to run defensive line, you either go under center, which is not as vogue now as it used to be, or you can line up in the pistol. When the runningback can get it going downhill instead of running sideways initially, he kind of sees things a little bit better, he has some momentum, he can kind of make a few less cuts.
Sometimes in the gun, those runs are okay, but they can get going sideways and not vertical, they start to dance in the hole a little bit more. So we like to mix it in. I think it was effective for us even at the end of the game, running the clock, ran the same play probably five times in a row. Four times we ran out of the pistol, we go got some yards. Ran it out of the gun, not as many.
That’s not always the case, but it’s a good change-up. You’re able to utilize some play-action off of that a little bit better than the regular shotgun. I think we’ll continue to try to mix it up some.
Q. Your guys got really open a lot. Was that you scheming something or did they just do a good job of finding holes in their zone?
JEFF BROHM: Well, that’s for you to determine. I think, yeah, we’re going to do as much as we can to help get our guys open. Every week we’re going to do that.
We tell our receivers every week, they’ve worked hard, they’re understanding things better. The more precise they can be on their exact depth and their routes, the better we’re all going to be. I think it’s a combination of all those things.
Yes, we want to help our guys get open. We want to figure out a way to create a few mismatches. Is it always going to work? No. I think at times our receivers did some good things. A few times, if you can move the pocket and buy some time, you normally can get open. If you’re going to just drop straight back, ask your guys to pass protect, you’re not going to have as much time.
We try to use a little more play-action so we can be a little more aggressive up front where the defensive line is not thinking pass, and they can’t pin their ears back, it normally buys more time. If you can buy more time, however that is, however the design is, your guys will get open more.
I think just a combination of all those.
Q. Missouri fired its defensive coordinator over the weekend. I read that Odom was the defensive play-caller. Do you expect to see something different from Missouri’s defense scheme-wise?
JEFF BROHM: We’re not sure yet. Their head coach is a defensive guy. I’m sure he had a strong influence on the defense. I don’t know how all the dynamics work.
I wouldn’t think there would be a huge change. I’m sure they’ll be creative this week because there is a slight change in maybe who the so-called defensive coordinator is. But you know what, we’re going to prepare with what we’ve seen, with what we’ve seen from last year, go based off that.
Q. Come out of the game pretty well injury-wise?
JEFF BROHM: I thought we did, that was good to see. I’m trying to think. T.J. was limited in the game. Didn’t get him in the game as much as we would like with his injury. Hopefully we’ll be back more full speed this week.
Other than that, I don’t think there was anything major.
Q. With Jallow, is his injury one he can rehab, eventually start to get back in a little bit more?
JEFF BROHM: I would like to think so. To be honest with you, he wasn’t able to practice a whole lot. If he wants to play this week, he’s going to have to practice. He’s a young football player that is going to have to practice in order to play. We’re going to work with him. I think last week he wasn’t able to practice much. I think it affected how much we played him. I think it’s important that he gets as much practice times a he can.
Q. Keiwan Jones got the start. Played probably the most snaps he has. What did you think about him?
JEFF BROHM: I thought he did a good job. He gave us another guy that we got a little more confidence in now, that we can rotate in there. Lorenzo had to sit out the first half. Had to make sure we had at least one more guy in the rotation. Keiwan came ready to play. He can play multiple positions for us. He’s worked hard in camp ever since we had him. He’s had a good attitude. I was happy to see him do well.
Q. Why is Bryson such a matchup advantage for you guys and disadvantage for the defense?
JEFF BROHM: Well, he’s an athletic body that’s got some size to him and length. He can make athletic catches. He can run vertically well. I think any time you have some tight ends that have that type of size and you’re going against linebackers and safeties that aren’t quite near that capacity, you can create some mismatches.
Quarterback’s favorite friends are guys that can control the hashes. When you have a big target that can do that, it makes a quarterback feel more comfortable. Both those guys work hard and they’ve been good receiving tight ends for us. I think they’ll continue to get stronger, become better blockers. But they give us everything they have. I’m glad we have them.
Q. I’d imagine you want to get a little more production out of the return game. Do you feel like you have the right guys there, you need better production?
JEFF BROHM: A little bit of both. I think it’s unfortunate KeyRon dropped another one, so we may adjust some things a little bit, change it up slightly. But you know what, we’ll get better. I think our special teams overall was better than the second game. There’s still plenty of room to improve.
I think just a lot of new people that are in there. Even the second game we added even more new people in there. But the new ones did a good job as far as running and tackling and hitting. You saw Derrick Barnes make a few plays.
It will be a work in progress. But I think we’ll improve. Yes, I would like to get more return yards.
Q. Who else would you look at?
JEFF BROHM: We’ve got a couple receivers and a couple runningbacks that may jump in the mix back there. You always want to make sure you have runners, but also guys that can catch it and are consistent catching it. We’re going to look at some more this week and we’ll determine that at the end of the week who will be the guy.
Q. I know the officials are looking at this more closely, you got a late sideline penalty. How did that come about?
JEFF BROHM: Well, we’ve got a tight sideline. I don’t know what was reported. I know unfortunately it was on Coach Barclay. He was up on the white. The ref ran down and tripped over his feet. I think you get a lot of guys on the sideline.
We try to dress our whole team. That’s a tight sideline. Because of it, people want to see. You got to make sure they’re back. I think everybody got pushed forward. Unfortunately Chris was just right beyond where he should have been. The referee tripped, here came the flag.
That’s how I saw it.
Q. TV might have reported it was somebody else.
JEFF BROHM: Well, somebody was telling me today they heard it was my son.
Q. That’s what TV said.
JEFF BROHM: Well, check it again because they said something about him being the get-back coach. From what I heard, they were putting it on him, making sure they’re back. I’m positive it wasn’t on Brady. Trust me, the last three years I’ve — I haven’t seen him up very close to the sideline the last two games. It was not on Brady. It was on Coach Barclay. We’ll get it fixed.
Q. That is something they’re looking at, not Brady, sideline?
JEFF BROHM: Shoot, I’m as worried as anybody. As far as head coaches, you can’t go on the field at all now. If you step on there, they can throw the flag. I have to remind myself every game. When you want to get after somebody, you have to make sure you can control yourself. That’s harder to do than you think.
I’m two for two without a penalty. Our coaches, really they got to control the — the referees want that whole area. Normally you’re okay with it. When a play gets going, is a longer gain, maybe there’s a turnover, that’s normally when it happens because the referee starts to run. Maybe somebody doesn’t think he’s in the area now becomes in the area.
I think we had a decent size run on the play. I’m not positive. The referee started to run down. Chris thought he was out of the firing line of the official, but he happened to be right there and trip him.
But, yeah, someone told me that. No, it was Coach Barclay. Not that I’m rating on him. I’m not. But that’s who it was on. He’ll be the first one to tell you. I did not see Brady around.
Yeah, I got that question after the game. I didn’t really know what they were asking me. Wasn’t till today someone told me.
Q. Having a guy like Spencer Evans that can kick it out of the end zone, it was clear that kind of changed the course of the game, the field position. How valuable is that for you guys?
JEFF BROHM: It’s huge. That’s the number one reason we went out and found a way to get him. We were fortunate enough to find a way to get him and add him to our team. I think he’s been a huge addition. Really his leg strength is second to none. He can really kick the football. Really it’s added competition to the other place kicking duties. I think J.D. has done a very good job. With Evans in the mix, those guys are competing. Gives us two guys we feel comfortable with.
While it isn’t normal, a lot of teams don’t do it, we did it last year. We had pretty good success with it. Last year one guy eventually emerged and became a very good field goal kicker because of it. This year they’ve rotated, both have done a good job.
It’s a great problem to have. We’d like all of our specialists from our punters, second kicker, long snapper, those guys have done a very good job for us.
Q. Defensively for you this week, playing against really the first true dropback quarterback this season, that changed the way you scheme for the defensive line. Does that allow you to maybe go for that more?
JEFF BROHM: Well, this quarterback is a good thrower. He’s got some strength to him, he’s got some size, he can throw the ball vertically, he’s got a good arm, can zip it out there. It will be a challenge for us.
Playing a running quarterback is a challenge for you. This will be a little bit different. We’ve got to find a way to get better. I think we’ve done a decent job at attempting to do that. We’ve got to get better. We’ve got to find a way to get off of pass-rush at times. We have to tackle the quarterback when we have him. It happened a few times the last couple weeks. We have him back there, we just don’t get him down. I think we’ve been tackling too high. We have to make sure we tackle lower and wrap-up.
We’re making progress. But, yes, I’d like to find a way to get better. It’s always important that any quarterback you face, especially one that’s a pure thrower, that you can get in his vision, you can find a way to disrupt his rhythm, and find a way to hit him more than he would like.
Q. Looking at the stat sheet for Missouri, the big thing that jumps out is time of possession. Their defense is on the field for two-thirds of the game almost. Is that a byproduct of their offense or something you think you can take advantage of?
JEFF BROHM: I think it’s both. I think their offense can score quick. Their defense, the first week against Missouri State, all kinds of misdirection, jet sweep motion, created some confusion. Because of it, they were able to sneak out a couple long touchdowns. The last team they played was more consistent in their formations and plays. South Carolina did a good job on defense against Missouri. Kept them in the game. But the game was close there till the very end.
This is a solid football team. They know how to win. They’ve won some big games before. They play great competition every week. It’s another game at their place. I’m sure they’ll be fired up and ready to go with a few changes that they’ve made, out to prove themselves. Our team will have to be ready to play.