Purdue University Football

Media Conference

Monday September 4, 2017

Jeff Brohm

Press Conference

COACH BROHM: We had a lot of mistakes on both sides of the ball. Actually a lot more on defense than I thought.

But the effort was tremendous and the will to want to win overcame a lot of the mistakes we had and kept us in the game, and unfortunately we turned it over too much in the second half to win.

But now it’s on to game two. Playing Ohio. Ohio is about as solid and fundamentally sound a team as you’re going to play. Very good football team. Even the losses they had last year, they barely lost; Tennessee down to the wire; they beat Kansas at Kansas, and their losses were by a touchdown at the most in couple contests.

So played very fundamentally sound. They are well-coached. They are not going to beat themselves and we will have to play at a high level in order to win.

Q. I think most of the fans that walked away from the stadium the other night were impressed with a couple things they were looking to see. One was effort; one was how hard you played. How important is it at this juncture — I know what you’re answer is going to be, but how important is saying that, especially in front of the home crowd, which is what you’re aiming to bring back?
COACH BROHM: Well, that’s what we’ve stressed about and talked about all summer, all fall camp, and we got it the first game. Because of it, as you guys saw, we were in the game till the end.

Without question, we are going to have to do the same thing this week and if one of our players, just one of them, doesn’t think that that’s going to be the case, we’re going to get beat. I think it has to be a priority to us to make sure that as coaches and players throughout the week, we keep the same intensity, the same work ethic, and then during the game, the same preparation and will to want to win.

So it’s vitally important that we sustain that and hopefully build upon it.

Q. The other thing that was quite evident, my opinion, I thought you played harder and smarter most of the game than they did, but speed — you know that as well as anybody, having played in the NFL. Moving forward, how do you mask some of those deficiencies to make up for that? Now, you may not play a team that quick again, but is there a way to get around that?
COACH BROHM: Well, we’ve got to coach as well as we can. I think after I looked at the game on offense, I think we made more plays than I thought we were going to going into the game. Unfortunately three turnovers in the second half cost us the game.

So if we can eliminate those, we’ve got a chance. On defense, without question, we created turnovers. We played hard. We were physical. I didn’t think we were very sound and smart in some of the things with some of our guys, and we weren’t as smart on defense as we should have.

You know, we knew all summer and fall camp, and week long, they were only going to throw the ball between the hashes to take away the inside routes and the seams, and we did not do that. As you guys know, we tried hard as far as we thought to take away the quarterback runs, and he ran all over us. I mean, he was their offense and we didn’t really effectively stop him, other than when we created turnovers.

So you know, yes, we’ve got to continue to coach. We’ve got to continue to find a way to put the ball in our playmakers’ hands and we’ve got to continue to try to do what we can to be aggressive, which we were on defense; but even more so aggressive and take away the offensive strengths as much as we can going into it preparation-wise.

Q. In terms of injuries, it looked like Markell got banged — you may have addressed that, but how is he, and is anything else on the injury front that would concern you going into Ohio?
COACH BROHM: Well, Markell, unfortunately, hurt his knee a little bit. And we had a pretty good game plan going in to get him the ball, even in the passing game and that kind of was wiped out pretty early.

He’s had a good fall camp and he’s really been into it, so it’s unfortunate that this has knocked him out a little bit. I’m not sure when the timetable will be for his return.

But the other running backs have to step up. You know, we had a little bit of cramping on defense, but you know, for the most part, I think everybody should be back and okay.

Q. At the Big Ten meetings, there were quite a bit of discussion about the targeting rule, the implementation of it. Sometimes in sports, it seems like there what even I would know as “the Jordan rules”; guys get protected. And it looked like, to me, that that was, you know, just a football player making a football play. Have you talked to the Big Ten office, because that was a pretty tough and significant call against you in that game; and moving forward, he’s got to sit out the first half.
COACH BROHM: Correct. I agree with you. It’s unfortunate it happened. You’re going to get some calls; you’re not going to get others.

You know, I agree with your assessment, I guess is the best way to put it on that, and we’re working to see if we can work around it. But we’re going to have to obey by the rules and without question, I don’t think there was any intent or any true flagrance to injure the quarterback.

So Lorenzo played hard. He actually played very well. He did a very good job for us until then, and it did hurt us when we lost him a little bit. So when you can’t have him for the first half, it’s going to affect us some.

Q. Retroactively, they can look at a targeting then? Because obviously the initial call was just a penalty, but then they go back and review the targeting?
COACH BROHM: Yes. So the penalty wasn’t going to be reversed. It was the targeting that they were looking at upstairs, which can be changed either way now with the replay officials.

So I was hopeful that they would get it the way I saw it. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. But you know, that’s what they ruled.

Q. Where do you want to see the offense improve on Friday?
COACH BROHM: Well, you know, I think we’re going to be a work-in-progress and we’re going to have to do some different things to get the playmakers the ball.

I thought we found a way to make some plays and score some points, and really, had the ball moving in scoring territory or close to it before we threw the first pick for a touchdown, which kind of changed the momentum and then had two turnovers after that.

So you know, we cannot get away with turning the ball over much with our offense right now. We have to be pretty precise. We have to execute. We have to somehow be creative but yet somewhat simple because they can’t handle as much as we’d like to do at this point. There are some veteran guys that understand a little bit more but even then, you have to make sure they understand what they are doing.

But you know what, we’d like to run the ball a little bit better. When we did, we didn’t get many yards. We weren’t reestablishing the line of scrimmage very well, getting some push. So that wasn’t as effective. We’re going to have to do some different ways to try to run the football, whether it’s put a lead blocker in there some or just change up what we’re doing.

Passing game-wise, we threw a lot of playaction, and was fairly successful at doing that and hit some plays off of it. We want to change it up slightly every week, but also get the ball in our playmakers hand.

I think, really, if we’re not turning it over and doing silly things like that — and while I know some turnovers are going to happen, we can’t lose the battle. When we have four turnovers in a game, we’re probably not going to win. So we have to get better at that.

Q. Speaking about the running game, what more do you need from it? Is it an offensive line issue or you need more from the back?
COACH BROHM: Well, it was a combination of both those. I don’t think the running backs played bad at all, but I didn’t see too many gaps and holes to run into.

You know, our offensive line played hard. I do want to rotate more guys in this next game. I think you get stuck in wanting to try to win so bad, you try to maybe keep what you think are your five best in there.

But to me, if a guy doesn’t feel threatened somewhat that somebody is going to come in and play for him, you know, he’s going to get away with what happens. And while all five of our guys fought hard and I was very proud of their effort, we had some mistakes. I want to make sure we’re rotating guys in there, and not only keeping them fresh but also keeping the competition going so that they understand that we have to be really locked in and focused and playing well.

Q. What did you think of the tight end production?
COACH BROHM: Well, I liked our tight ends in the passing game. I thought they did a very good job. They caught balls. They caught it in traffic. They caught some balls that weren’t right on them. They got yards after the catch. They were not good at all in the run game; so that, we have to find a way to get better. We tried not to ask them to do too much, but I was disappointed in our run blocking.

Q. You used Eric Swingler a little bit. Is that still 11 personnel he’s in? Are you considering him a tight end?
COACH BROHM: Well, we’ve had success in the past with that personnel set, when you maybe don’t have a dominant blocking tight end and it’s been very effective for us; I think when he went in there, we were very effective doing it. Probably need to possibly need to do it more.

But we were actually able to throw the ball out of it some effectively so it keeps the defense honest. But I think he did a very good job blocking the tight end for us.

Q. I had him for about seven plays. Is that something that you think maybe would increase potentially?
COACH BROHM: You know, every game’s different. I would say any game between five and 15 plays is something that we’d like to make sure that we’re doing, if it’s working and things are going well.

I think certain teams will know we’re running, but if you have the ability to throw a playaction, which we did, it definitely is effective, and I think both the combination of that helped us.

Q. How did the guys on offense do in terms of understanding the plays or the alignments and everything? I think there was one play, looked like you were going to have two guys in motion and coal stopped and the other guy continued to motion — but in terms of the guys understanding what you wanted them to do on each play?
COACH BROHM: I thought our starters at that were very good. There were a few times we lined up wrong, so we had to get them lined up correctly. But for the most part, those guys understood what we were doing and they executed it.

The younger guys, we’re going to pray them more this game. To be honest with you, their understanding of what to do and quick recall is not quite exactly where we’d like it to be and that was the concern of them being able to play fast and know exactly what they are doing and be able to execute.

But no, we want that rotation to be more even. We want the young guys, not just young guys in age, but the new guys to the team, get in the rotation and get out there and make plays for us and if that’s happening, we’re going to be a better football team. But the three starters at receivers did play hard and they gave us everything they had.

Q. You had three running backs on the field on the one play where you ended up taking the shot to Burgess; is that just kind of a little wrinkle?
COACH BROHM: We had a four-play package in and we wanted to try to take a shot the first time because we thought they would be playing the run and they did. They were playing the run, and we had one-on-one and just the defender made a good play. We had our fastest guy at receiver, and you know, he was covering pretty well. Knocked it down. It was a pretty good throw actually.

We’ll have a package of that every game and we’d like to still be able to use that.

Q. I guess the plan for the quarterbacks this week?
COACH BROHM: Both of them did some very good things. I was encouraged at some of their abilities to lead the offense and direct the team and to get us in the end zone, and David actually was playing very well. Just, you know, had some turnovers that hurt us, as you guys know, and he knows that. That’s just the things that we’ve worked hard to try to eliminate but it happened, anyway. So we’ve got to work harder at it. He’s got to get better at it, and he’s just got to understand how important that is, which he does. He’s just got to make sure that he carries it out.

And Elijah did some good things. He’s got a big arm. He can throw it up the field. He can see the field and really — one interception that he tried to force in there, he was at least taking care of the ball. He missed a few reads here and there, but that always happens. But I was encouraged and I think we can build upon both those guys and I anticipate them both playing.

Q. Will you stay with the same starter with Elijah, or do you have to see practice this week?
COACH BROHM: We haven’t completely determined it yet. We’ll gauge it here over the next couple days and make a decision. I think they both understand they are going to play.

Q. You brought in the newcomers, the junior college guys at receivers, to provide more competition. I guess the way that Jackson Anthrop took that and elevated his game and it showed up on Saturday night, just kind of your impressions after maybe watching the film what Jackson did?
COACH BROHM: Well, we played quite a few of those guys we brought in, and they were on the field. Some played quite a bit. Others not as much.

But Jackson is a guy that you can count on and that’s one thing that we knew from the get go. He’s a hard worker. He puts in the time. He is be coached hard. When he makes a mistake, he understands it and he tries to fix it, and he gives you everything he’s got.

I think in that game, you saw him make two touchdown catches that were outstanding catches, especially the second one. The second one was a bullet shot that we threw in the hole and most receivers, when they get vision blocked like that at the last minute, probably aren’t going to catch it. He was able to concentrate and find a way to catch it. And even the first touchdown was a good throw.

But just the ability to stay on track, stay balanced, catch the ball, keep your feet in the end zone; really did a very good job. He made some key fourth down catches for us the last drive, where, you know, he had to make a play. And watching the video, we probably played him too many plays. He was tired but he still found a way to catch the ball.

We want to try to spell him some, like all of our receivers, but the other receivers need to make sure that they prove to us they are ready to go, which I think they will be, and I think they will be up to the challenge. But Jackson was outstanding in the game just because he’s a competitor and he wants to win.

Q. Back to the quarterback. How did David come out of that game from the shoulder standpoint?
COACH BROHM: You know, I think he came out pretty well. I’m sure he was a little bit sore, and he had been sore all week a little bit after throwing. But I think it’s getting better every week and I think he handled it very well.

Q. The challenges of a short week as far as recovery time and getting ready for a Friday game, what things will you guys do to maybe combat that?
COACH BROHM: Well, I think that we’ve always had a pretty good plan with that. I think we’ll take care of our guys. I think really, we’ve got to make sure we’re locked in and know what we’re doing.

We don’t want to adjust too much on both sides of the ball in a short week, unless it’s definitely going to help us win the football game. We’ve got to make sure our guys are fresh and ready to go. As you guys saw in the game, I think our guys were fresh; I think our guys played hard; I think they fought to the end.

And for us, that is going to be the key to any type of victory we have. And without that, it doesn’t matter what we have in or what we’re doing; we’re probably not going to win.

So I think we’ve got to get them fresh. We’ll get them fresh. We’ll be a little lighter this week in practice and we’ll make sure that they are fully ready to go come Friday night.

Q. Your impressions of Drew Brees’s speech to your team?
COACH BROHM: Well, he was outstanding. We’re always grateful to have him around. He’s a legend and he supports us a lot. For him to show up the first game, we definitely appreciate it and we were thankful to him coming to talk to our team before the game.

I thought they listened. The message was clear and I thought our guys understood it and went out and played well.

Q. Any other injuries of note come out of Saturday?
COACH BROHM: No. I think for the most part, a few nicks here and there. But the only one that I think will maybe last longer than a game will be Markell.

Q. Did you get a good video look at the touchdown where the ball might have come out before the goal line?
COACH BROHM: Well, you probably know what my opinion of that was. I know what I would have called and what I thought, but there was about a three-play stretch there of replays that didn’t go our way.

Q. I just didn’t know if you guys had an angle internally that maybe wasn’t available in the moment.
COACH BROHM: Well, I know what my opinion of the call was, but I don’t make it. I had a good angle. I know what I saw.

Q. How do you handle quarterbacks philosophically that you need to be aggressive but not too aggressive?
COACH BROHM: Well, you know, our quarterbacks, I want them both to succeed and do well and I don’t really care who it is. And really, both those guys, they want to be the guy and they want to win, also. They both have a good mental makeup. Try to be honest with them.

You know, with David, the one interception happened; the next one, we forced in there in scoring territory on second down and we’d like to just throw it away on a trick play shot we tried. So, hey, we’re going to try to change the momentum up a little bit.

Both those guys understand, and I think they know they will get a fair shot. And really, competition brings out the best of guys, and believe it or not, as a player, when I was in college and I thought I was by far the best guy, there was another guy that came in in the second quarter. That’s just kind of the way Coach Schnellenberger did it; even though I thought, what the heck are we doing and why are we wasting a series or two.

But these guys are very evenly talented and evenly matched. I don’t know which one is going to slightly step ahead when it’s all said and done but they are both going to be ready to play. It’s good to have two guys that you can count on.

Q. At a risk of follow-up here, what was the officials’s explanation of the goal line replay and the spot with Lamar on the third down?
COACH BROHM: Well, the spot on the third down, I thought was obvious from where I was at in the replay. But sometimes, you know, the message you get is, well — I don’t get to talk to them upstairs, so I’m getting this from the official; well, maybe they didn’t get the right angle. That’s the one you get a lot; didn’t get the right angle to see it. And the one on the touchdown, that was the answer again. Well, maybe they didn’t get the right angle.

The officials you’re talking to on field are not looking at the replay themselves. It’s someone upstairs. So they are just going by what they say, and it happened that we didn’t win on those calls and that’s the way it is.

Q. How do you feel like you did from a missed tackle point of view on defense?
COACH BROHM: You know what, we were physical at the point of attack. When they ran normal running plays without the quarterback, we did a very good job. We tackled well. We were physical. We got the ball out. We stripped it. Now, when the quarterback was in open space, yeah, we had a hard time tackling, and even when we had guys there, we missed quite a few.

Now, it’s going to happen some. For the most part, I think the tackling was very good, other than on the quarterback, which is going to happen with that guy.

Q. You had Navon Mosley in more at safety and I think what we anticipated, rotating him with Jallow. Will that rotation, do you on anticipate?
COACH BROHM: Well, Jallow unfortunately got a little nicked up during the game, so that’s what happened there. That created some confusion there for a while because he was slightly injured. He’ll be able to play this week but he had to miss some plays because of that.

Q. Did Markell get an MRI or does he need one to determine the full extent of the injury?
COACH BROHM: I think we know what it is, and it’s just something that in our opinion from what I know now, a couple weeks or more maybe.

Q. We did not see Jared Sparks, either as a receiver or in the quarterback package. Is that a feel thing as the game goes on, or was he not in the package for you this week; might be this coming week? How do you sort of determine?
COACH BROHM: He was in the package. I think because the game was tied and we had those two quarterbacks going in and they both did some good things, we weren’t able to get him in there. There were a few times I was going to get him in to possibly run the ball but we stuck with what we were doing.

But we need to get him in at receiver and we need to get more guys in at receiver. I think this week you’ll see him practice more to make sure he’s ready. I think sometimes when you get in the heat of a game, you want to make sure — you can’t screw up one play; you go with guys that you trust a little bit more and they know what they are going to do and they are going to give you the very best they have.

So we have to make sure Jared starts to get in the mix at receiver, and yes, we are always going to carry a package for them at quarterback and we are still going to do that. We had one ready to go. We just, you know, it’s not easy to get three guys in, but we’ll always have it as an option.

Q. To go back to the questions about quarterbacks. Once you had made the decision to go back to Elijah, did you kind of say in your head, we’re sticking with him throughout, or was there any thought in your head of going back to David for the last drive or two or whatever?
COACH BROHM: Well, we never really have a pre perceived thought to bring a guy right back in, right. If we put someone in — the plan going in was to start Elijah and bring David in the second quarter for two series and then go from there, and that’s what we did. So we went from there.

David I thought had the hot hand and was doing a good job, so we kept him in there. We were going to keep him in there until we needed to change. He had two interceptions in a row so we made the change and Elijah came in, and we were just going to go with that until something happened.

I want them all to succeed and do well, and I want them to do a very good job when they go in. So, no, there wasn’t anything other than that to it.

Q. Is there something you’ve done elsewhere praying two quarterbacks, and is it something you plan to do in the future or is the situation dictating it?
COACH BROHM: No, I think the situation dictates it. We want to win and whoever can help us win and do a good job, that’s who we are going to play. Do I like both quarterbacks? Yes. Is there a separation between the two right now? If there is, it’s not very big.

We just want whoever it is to step up and emerge and be a leader and take us down for scores and do all the small things, not turn the ball over and try to minimize mistakes, and whoever that is, we’re fine with it. I think both guys are going to work hard to do their part and that’s all you can ask.

Q. I would assume that maybe part of being quarterback is getting into some kind of a rhythm. Does the fact that you played quarterback, does it give you a sense of maybe when the right time is to switch things up if you’re going to be switching it without any kind of plan?
COACH BROHM: Well, I think so. I think if you look back in the Spurrier days, he would rotate them every series. To me, that’s a little much, but he’s pretty doggone smart.

With us, yeah, I want him to get into rhythm. I want them to do well. If they are doing well, hey, we’re going to ride you. Not that they need to look over their shoulder; that’s not the case. But certain mistakes are going to happen; we’re fine with it. Sometimes you’re not going to be perfect; we’re fine with it. But we just can’t do the big things that are going to hurt the football team. So if we can eliminate those things that kill us, you know, we’ll make progress.

Q. How about just in terms of Ohio? Specifically, what on offense are you concerned with?
COACH BROHM: Well, I know for our offense, they are very sound and fundamental in what they do. They don’t do a lot of different things but they are going to line up properly and make you beat them and they play hard.

It will be a challenge to play harder than this team. They play hard and it’s visible every game you watch, and because of it, that’s why they are a very, very good football team.

Defense, they are going to spread you out a little bit and the quarterback is going to have some athleticism and we are going to have to do our part. I think we need to be in better position. We were not good in position at times this past week. With a running quarterback, we have to be in better position.

I think while we want to give different looks and mix things up, which we did, and it was effective and we created some numerous false starts and penalties because of our movement; we’ve still got to make sure we’re lined up properly when the ball is snapped and that we are taking away their strengths with proper leverage. We did not have proper leverage at times and it gave up some easy completions that we don’t want to happen.

We have to get better this week at that. This team will spread you out and try to attack you that way. They are going to run the football. They are going to run the football; we have to take away the run as much as we can.

Q. They ran it 74 percent of the time for 248 yards. Is that something you expect them to do again?
COACH BROHM: Well, I’m sure they are going to try to run the football. I think our, actually, strength on defense, in the past has been against the run. We’re going to try to take away their run.

Now, when you have a running quarterback, you create some different elements and that makes it a little harder. But we’ve got to make sure that we try to take away that for sure with Ohio and make them throw the football more than they would like to.

Q. Obviously they play two quarterbacks. The one that runs the ball some, does playing Lamar last week maybe help you in that aspect this week?
COACH BROHM: Well, it will because we’ll learn from a lot of mistakes we had. We had certain plan of different techniques to use on him and we didn’t use properly as much as I would like which hurt us.

We gave away the power read to the quarterback way too easy, way too many yards on that when we’ve worked it all spring, all summer, all fall. That was disappointing in my opinion.

So yes, I’m sure anybody you face after Lamar, you should be a little more prepared because of what you just saw.

Q. How do you look at that and kind of scheme for the game knowing they didn’t show many weaknesses but what can you take advantage of?
COACH BROHM: We watched a ton of their games last year. Had a pregame plan set just going into it. Now we’re going back and obviously watching this past game.

But yeah, you’ve got to go back and watch other opponents from last year, opponents that may be similar to you on offense and maybe some of the better opponents they played which we have.

They are very sound. You look at a lot of the scores; not many teams are scoring a lot of points on you. They make you earn it. They make you drive it down the field. They create movement up front. They will come after the quarterback a little bit.

But just like us, the fact that you notice how hard they play on video is the reason they are so good, which stems from their coaching, down to the players, and if you took away the fact that we didn’t — that we played hard this past game, we wouldn’t have been close. But our guys played hard, and we stayed in the game because of it.

So for us this year, I don’t care who we play. We’re going to have to find a way to win that battle, and this week it will be tough to play harder than Ohio.

Q. The fact that they do play two quarterbacks, does that change the way you prepare defensively, like we know when this guy is coming in, we’re looking for this?
COACH BROHM: We’ll have a plan for both. I think we’ve faced so much on offense; their defense is very multiple in what they do. I think we’ll have to make sure that — you know, I was disappointed that Louisville was able to spread the field and be so effective. I didn’t think we did a very good job defending that. So we are going to work hard at making sure we defend that. And the five-wide-out package or the spread set with no backs; that was one of the more disappointing parts of us on defense this past week.

So yes, we are going to have a plan for that. We have to be better at it but because we weren’t at our best this past week, hopefully we can be better.

Q. Practicing under the lights tonight, what’s that going to be like? Obviously I would assume it’s to kind of get your guys ready for that feeling.
COACH BROHM: Well, I think any time you’re playing in a setting that you haven’t seen, you’ve got to practice in it. So we have to make sure we understand the lights; are there any glares; where’s the problems if there are any; and have a good feel and be comfortable that we can have good vision, see the football on both sides of it and feel good about it.

Other than that, I don’t think it’s a huge deal, but I do think we have to get under there at least once to make sure we’re comfortable.