Big Ten Conference Football Media Days

Tuesday July 25, 2017

Jeff Brohm

Purdue

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm.

JEFF BROHM: First off, it's great to be here. We're very excited to get this fall camp and season started and we're looking forward to it. I know there are challenges ahead for Purdue football. But that's why myself and our staff are here and we're looking forward to those challenges.

I think we have a good nucleus of players that love the game, they love to compete. I think they love doing things the right way. They want to be coached up and find a way to win and that's our goal.

We do have a challenging schedule ahead. But that's what makes it exciting. And I know that it's up to us as coaches and players to do the hard work, do the grind, make sure we're doing everything daily in order to find a way to win.

It's important, as I look at our team, that we put a competitive team on the field that wants to win, that wants to compete and wants to fight and find a way to get a victory each and every week and improve beyond that.

But I'm looking forward to it. And I think that we couldn't be happier to have the schedule we have and we're excited to get things underway.

Q. You've talked extensively about how you have a lot of receivers to replace. You've got a young offensive line, but you've got a stable of nice running backs. Markell Jones talked this spring about those guys are willing to catch the ball coming out of the backfield. As you scheme with that offensive mind of yours, how do you see, especially early, incorporating those running backs into the passing game to get them the ball in space along with your tight ends?
JEFF BROHM: Well, I think we do want to play an exciting brand of football. We do want to have some fun with it and try to score points. I think when we look at our team right now we'll have to adjust to the personnel we have.

As you said, probably for us right now our running backs are our strength, and our tight ends are right behind them. So with the nucleus of running backs we have, which I believe we have three to five guys that can play for us and play at a very good level, we've got to find ways to get the ball in their hands.

So without question, some of that may be running, but quite a few of it may be out of the backfield by the year. So I feel good, I feel good about finding a way to get them in there and find a way to get more than one back in at times, and being very creative with it in our own way.

But I do think all of our running backs have worked hard. We have them all healthy at this point. And they have to be a big part of our offense.

Q. Along with that, you brought in some JUCO wide receivers and looking to improve the pass game. How important is it to get some development out of those JUCOs this year with David Blough as your quarterback?
JEFF BROHM: Well, that's going to be vital to our success. I think as we went through the spring, that position was not where we would like for it to be. And we do understand there's work to be done. We did add five graduate transfers throughout the process.

We've added three late junior college signees that have all arrived in the summer. So we've got about nine or ten new guys on campus. So for us, after spring practice, it was vital to continue to make sure we're improving and make sure it was planned and methodical and mapped out.

I do believe we'll be better at the receiver position than we were in the spring. Isaac Zito and Terry Wright, two junior college players that have arrived, will do a good job for us. We took a transfer, receiver out of Notre Dame, Corey Holmes, that's still not on campus yet. Have to get him in the mix real quick. And we have incoming freshmen that will be in the mix.

At the same time the ones on the team have improved. We've just got to find a way to get them all better, in the mix, see what they do best, find a way to utilize them and really if we can get some that are deep threats for us to be able to push the ball vertically. That's what we're really looking for.

Q. You have a number of commitments in your 2018 class. What has been the impact of the new facility in these commitments? Are you seeing a direct correlation between what's going to open in a month and maybe the recruits that you're stockpiling right now?
JEFF BROHM: I think for us recruiting has gone very well, it's actually gone better than I thought at this point. We've had to slow the process down. I think there are a lot of things to sell for Purdue football. I do understand that we have a great academic reputation. I think that the university has definitely laid the ground work down to invest in the program.

We have the new $65 million practice facility that will be done at the end of August. That will be fantastic and a tremendous asset for us. I think our recruits and our players are looking forward to that. And we're in a great conference against great competition, with the ability for guys to come in and play early. And I think we have to make sure we sell that. If you want an opportunity to play against the very best and to get a chance to do it early in your career, I think we can provide that for you at Purdue.

But I think a combination of those things have worked. We've got to make sure that the product we put on the field is better this year, yes. So that's going to be the number one priority once we get things going, so that we are able to keep our recruits and continue to improve.

Q. You've been here since December. What kind of opportunity have you had to put your stamp on the program and kind of mold it in your image?
JEFF BROHM: Well, I think that part has gone very well. I think our players understand, I try to be a player's coach. I try to make sure I was going to do things as a player I would like.

And we try to do things that we believe worked not necessarily because we did it before but because someone else does it. So I think our guys have worked extremely hard. They understand that every day is about competing and trying to come in and be the best and put your best foot forward. What I want to try to do is provide an environment where our guys enjoy coming over in the building. Not only going to work on football, but also doing a little bit extra each and every day.

I think it's important, in order to gain an edge, we've got to find a way to do a little bit extra each and every day, each one of us, which I do think our guys have done that.

So I couldn't have -- they could not have been any better as far as their work ethic at this point. I think they're into it. I think they want to go out and prove to people what Purdue is about. And they understand it's not going to be easy, but I think that's what you sign up for when you come to play at Purdue -- to play against great football teams and to try to find a way to win a few games maybe that you're not supposed to. And I think if we do that maybe we can ride the momentum and continue to improve.

But we do want to be aggressive in how we work and how we coach and make sure our guys know that that's the brand we're going to play and we're going to be on the attack. And win or lose we're going to continue to attack.

Q. I know you've got the game, the Louisville game at Lucas Oil, it's not far from Louisville either. But is that something Purdue wants to do every year? I know Washington State likes to play a game in Seattle every year because of the fan base. Do you guys want to play a game every year at Lucas Oil, too?
JEFF BROHM: Without question, we want to establish an identity in Indianapolis and throughout the state. It's important to us. It was a great venue to get into to make sure that all of our fans in that area and throughout the state can come see us play. And also a quality opponent makes it that much better.

As far as the scheduling, I think we're a little bit different as far as we understand that we have a great Big Ten Conference of nine games. We want our nonconference to be as tough as it can be. And I think each and every year that's going to be our goal. And while it may hurt us some, possibly, in wins and losses, I think that's how you build a competitive football team and it's what your fan base wants to see. It's what your players want to play against. It's what your coaches ultimately want to coach against at the very best.

We're excited about our nonconference schedule this year and even in the future each and every year I think we'll play tough nonconference opponents. And I think in order for us to improve we've got to measure ourselves against the best and see where we have to go, how far we have to come and what we need to do.

Q. How do you think the number one offensive line is going to shake out day one of camp?
JEFF BROHM: Offensive line is very important for us. I think when it comes to recruiting, that's probably -- even though I'm a former quarterback skill guy, we like to oversign on the offensive line. So we have a ways to go there. I do think that we have made improvements.

We took two graduate transfers, Dave Steinmetz from Rhode Island, and another, Shane Evans, from Northern Illinois that are here on campus.

We had Matt McCann, who was out this spring, who started some games last year, who is back. So I think when we add those three to the mix, I think now we have some legitimate guys that can create some competition, and while we don't have the depth that we'd like to at this point, I think we can get these seven to eight guys to step forward and do a good job for us and be productive and hopefully stay healthy and then continue to get the ones beyond them better.

But I think we'll be better. Will we have to do a few things to take care of them? Yes, but that's with every team and that's our job as coaches.

Q. We talked about your up-tempo offensive style taking over one of the best passing teams in the Big Ten from a year ago. Defensively what changes can we expect and do you expect newcomers to play a role?
JEFF BROHM: To be honest with you, I like our defense and I think they're farther ahead than the other side of the ball right now. I think we've got some experienced guys on that side of the ball that have been there and done that. We have a great linebacking corps led by Ja'Whaun and Danny E and Markus and T.J. McCollum. I think we have a good front line on the defensive side and good corps of a first unit that can be productive for us.

Once again, do we have the depth we need? Not at this point. But I think it's getting better. I think that will be the key to how we perform on defense. Can we create more depth, rotate more guys in there, be able to have these guys not only play well but also in the second half, fourth quarter be fresh enough to play at a high level. I think that's going to be important for us. When you look at Purdue last year, the second half things unfolded and for a lot of reasons that was one of them, that the depth was not there.

So I think we have increased that where we are a little bit better. But there's still improvement to make, but I think our style will be aggressive.

We'll try to take away the run. Last year at Western Kentucky we were second in the country against the run behind Alabama. I think we have a decent plan for that. We try to be multiple in what we do, try to be aggressive, try to be somewhat on the attack. I like what I've seen so far on defense. It's just a matter of keeping those guys healthy and fresh.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #2 by #188 at 2017-07-25 15:19:00 GMT

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