Purdue's Jeff Brohm Weekly Press-Conference | 10/28/19
COURTESY OF PURDUE ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT
JEFF BROHM: Well, another week, and I know our players are looking forward to practicing this week. I think we'll come out with a good attitude. We understand there's a lot of work to be done, but we've got a lot of young guys.
We've got to work through this, and I think the only way to do that is to evaluate each performance weekly, make corrections, identify them, talk about them, figure out ways to improve. Then you come back on Tuesday and work your tail off to get better and gain confidence to go on the field and play better football. I think our guys will do that. We've just got to continue to work as hard as we can to get better and try to make progress each and every week.
Q. How do you handle the quarterbacks this week in terms of reps and practice? JEFF BROHM: Right now Jack Plummer will start for us. We'll get both quarterbacks ready to play. Like always, it's never as good as you think after a game and it's never as bad as you think.
We need to make some better decisions early on. I think we can find the check-downs better. I think we can locate the No. 2 receiver a little bit better. I think we can occasionally pull it back and run it a few times.
It was rough conditions, and you know, it wasn't the easiest to throw the football in, and I think the quarterbacks will continue to work hard and get better, but Jack will be our starter.
Q. Any chance of Rondale this week? JEFF BROHM: You know, right now, when it comes to where we're at with that injury front, it's probably better for me to wait towards the end of the week to tell you where we're at. There's quite a few of them. I know they are all working hard to get back on the field but I probably won't know the status of quite a few of them until later on in the week.
Q. Were there any new ones this week or did you come out of it okay? JEFF BROHM: I don't think there was any new ones I can had he call off the top of my head that should be a lengthy miss.
Q. You said during the bye weekend, the offensive linemen said during the bye week, too, it was a matter of attitude up front to getting better and more push in the line of scrimmage. Are you seeing what you need to be seeing from them in the running game? JEFF BROHM: Well, I'm seeing progress from our guys. You know, this past game, it was kind of -- each person would kind of take a person. Each person did some good things. They did some things better. But each guy would tight end of take his turn and it would kind of hurt us a little bit.
Really, the negative losses are ones that hurt us the worst, not getting positive yardage. Those are things we have to try to eliminate. I know our line has worked extremely hard. They put in a lot of extra time in before, during, after practice, to get better and we just got to push forward through it.
Q. Four regular-season games left. Any newcomers, any freshmen you want to get a look at that you've been seeing in practice that maybe you might take a look at in the game? JEFF BROHM: I think there are guys getting closer. The ones that may get in, I don't know if you'll see a huge difference in what we have right now just by based on where they are at.
Cam Craig on the offensive line is the next one up. He's got good ability. I think he's got a bright future. Understanding everything is a little bit of the issue and you know, I think this week we'll push him forward and try to get him in the game.
On the defensive side of the ball, you know, we had Sanders up ready to go. He got injured. He actually, you know, will monitor him where he's at but he's somebody that's got especially closer. On the defensive line, Steven Faucheux may be a guy we'd like to hopefully get in here these last games and maybe even Hunter as well.
Q. What have you seen from Steven in practice that he's taken some steps forward? JEFF BROHM: Well, Steven has the size you want. He has the weight you want, the mass you want. We've got to continue to work and develop explosion and strength coming off the football and all the small things that D-Linemen have to.
You know, getting him out there may be good to see what he can do for us early on, but I think -- you know, he's not going to be a dominant force yet, but he is somebody that he continues to work and be a very good player here.
Q. Back to the quarterback situation, what changed after the game, I understand just coming off the field -- when you watch film about having an open competition to giving Jack the nod on Saturday? JEFF BROHM: I think when you watch the video, you sit down and you study it. That's kind of what we came up with. That doesn't mean two quarterbacks aren't going to play. I think you have to have both guys ready.
I think both guys are inexperienced and they are young, and they just got to continue to work through things. I think we always want to have the ability if things aren't going well, we need a spark to be able to bring somebody in, and I think Aidan can possibly do that for us. He did -- led us on a good drive at the end of the game. He did get us a touchdown. He wasn't super sharp at the very beginning, but you know what it was his first time ever playing and I have to understand those things after you watch film.
So I think after watching it, you know, Jack just has to continue to progress and then we feel confident he'll continue to get better and he works hard and we have confidence that he can go out there and improve and do some good things.
Q. You've lost a lot of veterans to injuries that are not playing anymore. From a leadership standpoint is that falling on some of the younger guys? Where is the leadership component coming from? JEFF BROHM: That's something that has to be worked at, and yes, a few veterans we have, a lot of them are not out there. There's a lot of new faces. When you're new and you're young, you don't want that talk too much or speak out of turn. I'm sure that's what's going on right now. I understand that.
I think it's good to lead by example and showcase how hard you practice and play and how willing are you to stick to it when things aren't going perfect. I think that's what we have now. I don't know if leaders have emerged. On offense, Grant Hermanns has been somebody that's been a steady player for us and is a junior, has one more year, and I think he's improved and gotten better. He's our most vocal one there on the offensive side of the ball.
You know, on the defense, you know, it's a mixture of guys. I think Ben Holt and Derrick Barnes and George has done it by his play on the field. Mosley at times can provide a spark on the back end. You know, that's an area we've got to just keep working at, but as they play more and gain experience, I think we'll get better at that.
Q. After you watched the film, were there missed opportunities to push the ball to David Bell on Saturday? JEFF BROHM: Well, after I watched the film, there was some missed opportunities to score on the first three drives. You know, whether it was a dropped ball, whether it was a wrong route run or whether it was a bust on a certain blocking scheme, just on one area.
You know, we had a chance to drive it down and score at the beginning of the game. You know, we always want it to get to David in general; in those conditions, it was tough to throw the ball and it was tough. A lot of times we got it to him and it was on screens. We knew there were ways to get him open down the field. Just a matter of completing the ball.
We had at least four solid drops and probably a few more on some check-downs that would add to that mix where we're all on the headset, naming pass plays we like and how to throw and get open, but a matter of catching the ball in those conditions. That was the hard part and made it hard to get to David or any outside receiver down the field.
Q. How different is Nebraska's offense without Martinez? JEFF BROHM: Well, you're always going to get the spread offense. You're always going to get an athletic quarterback who going to run that system and get the field and get you in space and be able to use his legs to get some first downs and buy us some time on some throws. That's what they have been on offense, wherever coach frost has been and the other guys have come in and improved and done a decent job.
I know that they will be ready to go, and you know, they have the ability to score some points. You know, the backup quarterbacks that they played the last two games have gotten better.
Q. Wan'Dale Robinson is somebody you're familiar with; is he somewhat of a Rondale in a lot of ways? JEFF BROHM: Yeah, I think so. The name sounds familiar. Their play is familiar. He's a playmaker. He's strong. He's built low to the ground. He can do a lot of things for them, catch it out of the backfield, run out of the backfield, get open deep. When the ball is in their hand -- and they want to get it into his hand as many times as they can, because those are the guys that can make big-time plays and can make explosive plays.
As you look at some of the thing that's happened on offense with us, we haven't been able to get explosive plays and plays to guys to go the distance, even when we've had a few running lanes, somebody that can break. It that's kind of what Rondale does; get it in his hands enough, he'll make a spectacular play and when he did, it's a big touchdown.
Q. Four games, back's against the wall, similar to 2017; you guys responded. Talk about your message to the team to try to get six wins. JEFF BROHM: We've used the back against the wall this past week and the playoff format this past week and even before. I think at this point, that's zero of our focus right now.
Our focus is finding ways to get better this week. We've got to take the small steps in order to get that done. We can't worry about anything beyond that.
So for us, you know, playing an historically good football team in Nebraska that that's going to come in here hungry that needs to get a win. We just need to improve and get better and have a great week of practice and try to win come game day and that will be our approach this week is do everything we can to try to win this game, practice hard and then go out and compete. But we want to see improvement.
Q. This season, you've played a lot of freshmen. Speak to the overall use of this 2019 team. JEFF BROHM: Well, that's what we have on this team. There wasn't a big senior class coming in for this year, or even junior class, and that's shrunk drastically with had some things that have happened injury-wise.
Yeah, it's a young team. Our goal is always to win now,, but you also have to make sure that you're realistic with your players; and you understand that you've got to step on the field and compete and try to get better, and you've got to practice well and things don't go the way you want, can't hang your head too low, even though it's disappointing.
I want myself and our guys to be upset when we are not winning and that's part of the process. I think it's important that all of these young guys stick to it, even the guys that maybe haven't seen the field, they are very close because they are the next one up, and they have to get ready.
So it's important that we just, you know, understand as a team that it's about getting better. It's about working hard. It's about competing on game day and trying to win.
Q. Turnovers has been an issue the last couple years, minus five turnover margin last year and minus eight this year. Can you speak to the ability to generate turnovers and why that's an issue for a couple years now, the turnover margin? JEFF BROHM: Well, turnover margin is always going to be an issue whether you win or lose. I think that this year, getting turnovers, we'd like to get more, and we haven't, you know, been able to get as many as you would like. We work it every day. In the end, you've got to read the quarterback. You've got to tackle, strip, be physical and you've got to come downhill and make plays and find ways to get that done and cause some pressure.
On the offensive side, you know, when you turn it over, it's going to be hard to win. Especially in this pass game and the weather is bad and that's what we had. We tried to make a play at quarterback and it's a costly turnover and we tried to make a play running and it popped out.
We worked very hard at getting this done, and when you don't do that, you probably don't have a good chance of winning.
Q. Do you think your offense can succeed when the weather conditions are inclement, if it's rain or cold? Had some issues last week, Eastern Michigan game, Minnesota game. Is the offense built to succeed regardless of the game day conditions? JEFF BROHM: Against Eastern Michigan, we put up a ton of yards rushing, so we were able to run the ball that game. They threw the ball on us and we weren't able to stop them when we needed to. So that game, we went to the running game and probably put 300-plus yards rushing.
So you know, we know how to run the football. We've got to get better as a team at doing it. We've got to get better at knocking people back and hitting the hole and running through tackles and exploding for touchdowns. You know, we ran the ball here before. We ran it where I've been at before, and you know, I think each team is different, so you've got to judge it on what you have and try to score points that way. That's what we'll continue to do.