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PURDUE UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
December 5, 2016
West Lafayette, Indiana
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Today begins a new era of Boilermaker football, and at this time I will turn over the proceedings to the president of Purdue University, Mitch Daniels. President Daniels?
MITCH DANIELS: A few months ago, we welcomed a new athletic director to Purdue University. I told him he was coming into a very strong program with one obvious challenge, and that was to take Purdue football back to a position of national prominence. This is the first major coaching selection that's happened during my time at Purdue, and I don't have a basis of comparison, but I just have to tell you, based on everything I've learned about our new coach, everything I've learned about the process, the thoroughness, the degree, the amount of information that we had about him and other candidates, I am just totally confident that we have the man we've been looking for. He's been a winner his entire career, as a player and a coach, a man of character and principal, all the things we value at Purdue. I'm just so very thrilled that he said yes, and so happy to welcome Jeff Brohm to Purdue University.
MIKE BOBINSKI: Thank you, President Daniels. As Tom mentioned, it's a new day and an exciting day for Purdue football, but before I speak more about that, one thing I do want to take a quick moment to say, and I said it to our team earlier, and President Daniels actually said it to our team earlier this fall, how much we appreciate what they've done over these last six weeks, under difficult circumstances. When you have a mid-season coaching change, it's not easy for them to stay together, to do the right thing, to represent Purdue in the way that they did week in and week out, and beyond our team, likewise our coaching staff. Our coaching staff acted in the absolute utmost professional manner. I have the greatest respect for who they are, what they've done, particularly Gerad Parker, who I think is in the room here today. I hope he is. There he is in the back over here. Coach Parker?
We placed that group of men in a difficult set of circumstances, but they more than lived up to their obligations and their commitments as professionals, as teachers, as coaches, as leaders of young men, and I really appreciate that, and Purdue appreciates that in every day.
I'd also tell you that I truly believe those last six weeks, while they didn't reflect the results on the scoreboard that we all want, were part of the process of turning this thing in the right direction. Things were different. Things had changed. Our players handled themselves in a different way and in a way that to me sets the foundation for what we want to accomplish going forward.
Again, I want to certainly give my thanks to all of that. I recognize and we all recognize that it's been a tough stretch for Purdue football. Our community, our family, everyone associated are hungry for improvement and success, and that goes for everybody in this room, and I know that, we all know that.
But it is, as President Daniels said and as Tom mentioned earlier, it's a brand new day for Purdue football today. We've got a renewed and enhanced commitment to success, and that begins with President Daniels, with chairman of the board Mike Berghoff in the back of the room. Mike, thanks for all your help through this process.
We are intent on building a championship organization, one that can compete in the Big Ten and beyond in the years ahead.
I understand, and we all understand, that it won't be easy. It won't be overnight. But it will, in fact, get done, and it will get done the right way, in a way that makes Purdue proud in the years ahead.
The key ingredient in building that organization to a championship level, though, was finding the right head coach. To that end, we conducted a very thorough and lengthy search. It was definitely interesting. It was exciting. It was affirming along the way of the interest and the opportunity that we have here at Purdue.
As the process unfolded, there were certain characteristics, though, that were non-negotiables for us. First and foremost, and this is just a few of them, was integrity, and President Daniels mentioned that. We want an ethical leader, somebody who at all times will treat his players, treat his staff, treat everyone around them in the right way and make every effort to do the right thing, when people are looking or not.
An academic orientation, understanding and appreciating Purdue's academic strength and our mission and making that a priority for our players, and Coach Brohm has already addressed that with our guys earlier this afternoon.
Intelligence. I've always been a believer that smart people find a way to get things done. I like having as many smart people around me as I possibly can because I may not carry my own weight in that area all the time, but I like having lots of smart folks around me.
A history of success in every way, from recruiting players, developing players, evaluating talent, competitive success, the habit of winning and understanding what it takes to win is something that you don't forget, and if you have that, you have it, and that's something that we certainly wanted.
And then finally, a belief in our opportunity, not a belief in any opportunity but a belief in our opportunity here at Purdue and what we might accomplish in the years ahead.
We were fortunate as we worked through this to have the opportunity to consider a number of very strong number of excellent candidates, folks that had great credentials and a great level of interest in this job. But early on we identified the man sitting next to me as the coach that we felt was best equipped to lead Purdue football to great success in the years ahead.
A few observations that I'll offer about Jeff before I give him a chance to get going here. There's lots of facts that'll come out and lots of things I won't try to go too deep on this, but on a very high level, he's a native of Louisville, and anybody that's familiar at all with the city of Louisville and the Brohm family in Louisville, I think the word is the first family of athletics in Louisville is the Brohm family. That's who they are. They've cut a wide swath in and around that city over the years.
Jeff himself had tremendous athletic success in high school, in college, as a professional athlete both in pro baseball and six years in the NFL, was a hard-nosed and relentless competitor. I mentioned it to our guys.
I remember a bowl game that Jeff played in as a player. He was a quarterback at Louisville, freezing cold weather. Was it the Liberty Bowl? Liberty Bowl, freezing cold weather, had a couple pins in his throwing hand, he's a quarterback, in his index finger on his throwing hand, still completed 19 passes that day, led them to a victory over Michigan State, and it's all that everybody talked about. I watched that game. I still remember seeing it. So I've known about this gentleman for a long, long time and who he is as a competitor.
A high-integrity individual, someone who's respected by his players, his staff, and literally everyone that I spoke to, I could not find somebody to tell me anything other than the highest level of praise and respect for how this gentleman carries himself each and every day.
As a head coach, back-to-back conference championships, three consecutive bowl games in three seasons, and a 30-10 overall record. By my Long Island Longwood High School math, that's 75 percent winning percentage. That's pretty strong by anybody's estimation.
Considered to be one of the very top offensive minds in college football today, and one of the very best developers of quarterbacks, which takes us back to some great days in Purdue history. The results are there to back that up. He plays an exciting, aggressive, productive brand of offensive football that's all his own. It isn't somebody else's system, it's Jeff Brohm's system and one that he's put together by borrowing the very best ideas and concepts from around the game of football, and that's a great, great testament to who he is as a coach.
And then finally, a tremendous family man. He mentioned it to our team earlier, and I would tell you this. In our final conversation with Jeff, as we were getting this thing to what I was certainly hoping was the finish line, the last question he asked of us was, hey, I need to know that it's okay if my family is part of this, if they're around, because they matter to me, and President Daniels, before I could answer, President Daniels said, "We wouldn't have it any other way," and I think that says an awful lot, again, about who we are but also about who Jeff Brohm is as an individual.
Without any further ado, it's my great pleasure to introduce Purdue's new head football coach and welcome Jeff, his wife Jennifer, who's over here, his son Brady who's in the third row over here, and his very shy daughter Brooke to the Purdue family. Coach Jeff Brohm, welcome to Purdue.
JEFF BROHM: Well, thank you very much, Mike Bobinski, Mike Berghoff, and definitely President Daniels. I appreciate the warm welcome and the nice things that were said about me. I'm definitely a product of a good family and people around me and the system I've been in, and I'm very fortunate to be here.
But I just want to thank everyone for the warm welcome. I'm extremely honored and excited to be the head football coach here at Purdue University. As a person, I grew up in this region of the country. I know the reputation and the tradition of Purdue as a winning football program and a stellar academic institution. I'm 100 percent committed to restoring the gloried past of Purdue football while upholding the values and integrity that Purdue represents.
In my discussions with Mike and President Daniels about this program, I was extremely impressed by the total commitment that they have and the Purdue community have to building the football program and a consistent winner, a championship football team the right way.
The honesty, professionalism and passion they showed in our discussions convince me that Purdue was a great opportunity that any football coach would want to have.
I want you to know that I am all in, and I ask Purdue fans to be all in with me and our team.
Purdue is known as the cradle of quarterbacks, and we will play a brand of football that features the quarterback's strengths. Our style will be wide open and exciting, and we think the fans will enjoy watching us play.
I want our players to work hard but also have fun playing the game, while also excelling in the classroom. Our motto really is simply before the game we want to play harder, play tougher and play smarter than our opponents, and our players will rally around those fundamental concepts and play with intense passion and love for the football game.
Before I close, I want to thank the people of Western Kentucky University, especially athletic director Todd Stewart, president Gary Ransdell, the Bowling Green community, and my WKU players for the opportunity and support and total effort they gave me and our program. We accomplished a lot together, and they will always be family to me. I wish them the best and know that their program will continue to be successful, but I am ready for a new challenge, and I am excited to get things started in building a championship program here at Purdue in the best conference in America in the Big Ten.
That's kind of the written statement. Now I do my talking.
This is an exciting time for me. I'll be honest with you. I was very comfortable where I was at. I had a chance to build our program. We won two championships in a row. I liked where I was living. I'm not someone who's always looking to move and for the next best spot, and I was very comfortable, and I loved my players.
For me it was tougher to leave than probably the average Joe because they mean a lot to me. So today, I had to spend the time visiting with them and informing them of my discussion, and it wasn't easy. But I think they understand. I gave my all while I was there. I think I have the program at a high level, and it can continue to succeed without me.
One of the things I believe in, and I tell my players, is that each person in our organization is equally important, and it doesn't matter if you're the head coach, the starting quarterback, the third-team quarterback, the long snapper, the support staff. Everyone is equally important in our program, and it takes everybody working hard to achieve success. If you believe in that and if you truly value that, then when things happen and you lose somebody or somebody goes down, the next guy steps up, and he's able to perform. Everyone feels a part.
The one thing I do like is I like to compete, and I like to win, and it doesn't always happen, but you have to have a constant drive to be a winner. You have to hate losing. You have to do whatever you can to do your part, and normally if you're doing that, you can find a way to get it done.
To me, it's also about finding an edge. I tell our team, we've got to find a way to get an edge, and what's that going to be, when you're lifting weights, when you're running, when you're throwing with your team, when you're in the film room studying. That's great, but guess what, every other team in America is doing it, as well, so how can you get an edge.
Well, for us in my opinion to get an edge, it's not what you're doing when people are watching that matters, it's what you're doing when they're not watching. Everyone has to find a way to work extremely hard when people aren't watching, and you've got to put in the extra time on your own and you've got to do whatever it takes to get better, and if everybody believes in that and is doing a little bit, then it's going to add up.
I know as a coach, I tell my team always once a year, maybe more, but once a year at the end of spring practice, that as a head coach, I'm going to find a way to outwork every other head coach in America, and I'm going to try to find a way to put us in the best position to win. It won't always be perfect, but I am going to outwork the next person. And if they can do that for me, as well, as players, we're going to have a chance to have success.
This is a great opportunity. It's a great challenge. You won't find anyone that likes losing worse than me, and it's my goal to do whatever I can to help us win football games but to help us have success in everything we do, and that's important. All those things matter, and you need to be successful in the classroom, in the community, and on the football field, and if you're doing all three, normally they correlate and it equals to even better success. I think we've got to build a team that stays together, plays together, works together, we're there for each other, we understand the grind that's going to be there. I do believe in working hard, but I believe in having fun, and I think you can do both.
What I tell my team all the time is if you're having fun working hard, normally you're going to work even more. We want to play the game in a fun fashion, and we want to make it exciting to watch. We want to make it exciting to practice. We want to do things creative. We want to stay ahead of the curve. We want to be cutting edge, whatever we can do.
And I do think coaching matters, and not that it will always be perfect, but as a former player, I know that coaching matters, and we've got to do our part as coaches to put our players in the best position to win before we can ask them to go out there and execute the plan. That is very important to me.
I look forward to that. That's the challenge of today's modern era football is trying to be creative and score a lot of points and win football games, but this is a special place. Me and my family are excited to be here. I know Mike introduced my wife Jennifer and my daughter Brooke who's six and my son Brady who just turned 12. Today is his birthday, and they're excited to be here.
We are a football family. We love sports, but we also love people. The one thing you'll find about us is once we get settled in here, we're going to be around. We're going to go to basketball games, volleyball games, whatever there is going on. We're going to be in the community. I think it's important to embrace the fans and our supporters and let them know that we're normal people that are going to do our part to get it done, and all we ask is that they support us, and anything they need from us, we're going to make sure as a coaching staff and as a football team we're able to give back, as well.
Really it's just about trying to do everything you can the right way, being able to look in the mirror at night and saying you did your very best, and if you do that, I think things will add up. Once again, thank you for having me, and I'm excited to be here.
Q. It was widely reported that there were other schools that were interested in bringing you on as a head coach. Purdue was not the only one. What was it about Purdue that set them apart or enticed you to come here?
JEFF BROHM: Well, first off, I think what I've told my team is that any time things like that are happening to the head coach, that's a product of great play on the football field by your players. It's a product of great assistant coaches, and we just happened to be the head coach. Normally if you're winning you're going to get a lot of attention, if you're losing you're going to get a lot of bad attention. So I'm fortunate enough to be in a situation where we developed a winning team.
Last year some things happened, I had opportunities. I really wasn't looking to leave. I'm not really one of those types that wants to move around a lot and look for the next best spot. I want to believe in a place and stick with it and feel good about it.
Purdue University, I'm very familiar with it. I didn't live too far away growing up. I think it has a history of developing quarterbacks and playing exciting football. It's in an outstanding conference.
Yes, I understand it's had its struggles recently, but that's what they pay me for, to come in here and to do my part and to help bring this program up. I think if we can add some excitement to the style, if we can put a product on the field that plays hard and flies around and makes plays and plays tough and they're smart football players and they're into it, normally you're going to find a way to get some success, and that can be contagious. Your players like that. So I'm excited about the challenge. I think there's great leadership here. They're investing a lot into the football program. They understand what it takes to win, that it does take everybody, and Purdue really stood out to me.
Q. When you were a young guy probably 16, Jim Everett was the quarterback here, and then you obviously saw Dick and then Brees and all those guys. You said that the history of the cradle of quarterbacks, that's got to be attracting to you, but did Purdue recruit you when you were a quarterback in Louisville, and what do you remember about seeing Purdue quarterback through your youthful days?
JEFF BROHM: Well, the recruiting process, that's a long time ago. I think they did a little bit. I can't remember how far that went. But Purdue to me has always been a program that plays an exciting brand of football. Back when I was growing up, they threw the ball around. They scored points. They competed against some of the best teams in the Big Ten each and every year, and they were exciting to watch, and I think as a fan myself, you like to see teams that score points and do some fun things on offense.
You know, the great players they had, the great quarterbacks, that's impressive. So I think I've been fortunate enough to play the position, to be around a lot of great players and coaches, and it's important to me to make sure we take care of the quarterback wherever I'm the coach, and normally if you're doing that and you're helping him develop and putting him in a position to succeed and do well, your team is going to play better.
Everything has to revolve around the quarterback. I kid our assistant coaches all the time, I'm a former quarterback, but the most sensitive people in every room are the quarterbacks, so you've got to make sure that you know how to coach them, and each quarterback is different. You can't just ride every quarterback hard. You've got to be positive with them. You've got to be there for them. You've got to literally teach them the nuances of how to play and teach them on every position, and I think if we can develop a plan where we're constantly working with our quarterbacks and players year-round to get better, to improve, we can coach them daily on finding ways to improve, normally you're going to have success. But definitely the Purdue history with quarterbacks is very enticing. I remember quite a bit of it.
Q. How important is establishing a culture in a program, and what do you want to do here?
JEFF BROHM: Well, I think what our players will find with me and people that get to know me that I'm about as average a Joe as anybody, and that's the way I like it. I think I'm down to earth. I understand how hard it is to have success and play football at a high level and that you need somebody who's been there and done that who can help these guys through hard times, who can build their confidence.
The number one thing I learned from Coach Schnellenberger when I played for him at Louisville is he was the master at getting his players to believe that they could beat anybody when they took the field, and he said some outlandish things, we're on a collision course with the National Championship and we're on variables time to the media, but because of it his players believed that we could beat anybody.
So I think you have to be able to coach the dynamics of a player's personality, his psyche, you've got to be able to motivate him to achieve at the highest level. You have to challenge him each and every day to get there, and I think our players will get to know me and our coaches and understand that we're going to be here for them. We're going to play and practice every day like it's the game, and it's going to be a competition, and we're going to work extremely hard to get better.
When we're off the field, we're going to be there for them when they need things and make sure we're encouraging them and that they want to be around us and want to spend extra time in the building, and then when we get out there on game day I want us to relax and play it like practice, cut it loose, play fast, have a lot of fun, and hopefully that equals success.
Q. Jeff, one of the lasting images of Ross-Ade Stadium's last games this year was a lot of empty seats. You kind of touched on getting out in the community. What do you have to do to, I guess, reenergize this fan base and bring back a lot of those fans who were no longer coming to games here on Saturdays?
JEFF BROHM: Well, I think that any time things aren't going exactly the way you want, everything diminishing, but I think that there's a lot of football talent in this program. I think there's a lot of history at this school. I think that everyone wants to see a winning product and to see progress, and I know that I'm going to make sure that myself and our players and coaches get out and we emphasize to everyone that we're going to work extremely hard and do our part and stay to the grind and be able to fight through the hard times and do whatever we can to help us win and have success.
It may not happen overnight, but you've got to be able to battle through that. I think being a former quarterback, there's a lot of times you don't have success. Being a former baseball player, there's a lot of times you don't have success, and you've got to find a way to just stick to it, grind through it, find a way to stay together. We'll make sure that we try to do our part as coaches and play an exciting brand of football and give our players a chance to succeed, and I think when you're doing all those little things they have a chance to add up, and once you can kind of get on a roll and get some success going and get a few victories, the confidence shoots up, your players really start believing, your fans start believing, and I think when the players do see the fans come back and in the stands, it makes a difference. It's a lot better playing with people out there supporting you than an empty stadium, and our players will definitely feel that, and I know they're looking forward to this upcoming season, being a new season and a new challenge, and I know I am, as well.
Q. Jeff, how much of an opportunity have you had to evaluate the current roster, and how would you just analyze the situation that you're walking into?
JEFF BROHM: Well, I haven't analyzed it to an enormous degree. I wanted to try to make sure I took care of our team and got us to the championship and got a victory, and then things got hectic fast. But I've definitely looked things over. You're always going to lose some players at every position, which we will. But new players have to step up.
So have I studied a lot of video? No, I have not yet, so it's going to be important for me to play catch-up and to get to know our players, not only by film but getting to know our players as people, getting around them, make sure we get the proper people in here as quickly as we can to help recruit the next guys and get to know the current team.
I'm excited about it.
Q. When Mike Bobinski came on board in September, one of the slogans or mantras he emphasized, not specifically to football but emphasized in football was an all-in mentality, to rally the Purdue fan base and the alumni and those that follow Purdue football. How important is all in, and now that you take over the reins and bring back that fan base and that support and getting everyone rallied around football and bringing everyone all in on this program and trying to have some success?
JEFF BROHM: Well, I think all in is vital. Sometimes we make things harder than it is. I think it's not that hard to be all in. I think you just have to have an attitude of support and have the discipline to want to work through things to get there. But I think that if we can get our players all in and believe that they can be as good as they want to be, if we can give them mechanisms to have success, and then show our fans what we can do on a daily basis, and if everyone can see that -- I think it's important the way you play the game. I think it's going to be important we take the field and do those three things. We've got to play hard, we've got to play tough, we've got to play smart, and we have to do that every single game better than the other team, and if we do that, the fans see it and people recognize it. And whether you win or lose some of those, if you're doing those three things, they're like, man, that team really plays now. They are playing and they are flying around, they're having fun do it. It can be contagious, so we're hoping it gets contagious, and we hope everyone buys in and they're all in. But yes, definitely we need everyone to be all in, but I know there's always a little doubt here and there. Shoot, there's doubt in everything we do, but we've just got to believe in it and stick together and I think we can achieve it.
Q. I know it's really early in the process, but do you plan on bringing most of your current coaching staff from Western Kentucky with you?
JEFF BROHM: Well, I haven't made final decisions on all that. There are a couple key guys that we're probably going to find a way to get here. I'm going to make sure I talk to everybody that's here, as well, not rush into anything too soon. But there's a lot of great coaches across the country. There are certain people I am comfortable with, so that's important, as well.
There are good football coaches everywhere, and I think as a head coach, it's about putting them in an environment where they can achieve success. They want to work hard. They believe in what we're doing. They enjoy what they're doing. They see progress. They display an attitude where they want to work with our players on a daily basis. They want to go the extra mile.
Even with my assistant coaches, I believe in -- I want them to enjoy coming over to the building. As a head coach on the field, yeah, it's going to get intense and you're going to want to try to win, and I want that. You have to have some passion when you play the game, and even me as a skinny little quarterback, you've got to have passion and toughness when you play the game, but when you're on the field, you want an environment where people enjoy each other's company, they're all in to find a way to win, and when you lose, it's important as coaches, in my opinion, that we take the blame first. We point the finger at ourselves. We tell our team, look, this is what we need to do better and here's how we're going to do it, and then we get to the team, and it's not always the players' fault.
I think if we can create an environment where our players know that we're in it for them, our coaches are here and they believe the same thing, we'll get the right people here to do it.
Q. Recruiting, obviously you probably haven't had a lot of chance to look at the landscape just yet, but what will be your philosophy on recruiting, and from a geographic standpoint, do you have any inclinations of how you'll do that at Purdue?
JEFF BROHM: Well, I think in recruiting one of the main things you have to do is evaluate talent, build relationships, all those things everyone does, but I think for us here at Purdue, there's going to be a three-hour radius from this town. We have to make sure we hammer home with that and we get all the great players we can that have an interest in Purdue over here, get to know us, what we're doing to do, get around us, get around their coaches and find a way to convince them to come play at Purdue.
I think from there, it's important in my opinion to go south quite a bit. I've had a lot of success south from Florida, Georgia, Alabama, working our way up into Texas, all those things are important to get as many good football players as you can. When you have assistant coaches, there's going to be connections everywhere you're at, so we'll make sure we go around the country when we need to, but I don't think we need to recruit all 50 states.
I think from a recruiting standpoint, it's important that you go out and get the best quarterbacks you can. I think it's important in my opinion which as a skill player people won't believe, but I think you have to get the best linemen you can on both offense and defense, and you have to have enough of them. I think some people sign too many skill guys and don't have enough linemen. No, you have to have the linemen to win at a high level on both sides of the ball.
Skill positions, we're going to recruit, but normally there's a lot of those guys out there, and if you coach them up and you get guys that want to become great, you can help develop those guys to be great.
That's kind of the map that we'll have to start off. Obviously we can adjust on the way, and if there's any great players that have interest in Purdue, we're going to go after them, and I think if we can display what we're all about, get to know them, we'll have a chance.
Q. Mike, how intriguing was Jeff from a quarterback perspective, this being a place, the cradle of quarterbacks, and his history, his family's history, was that pretty enticing in having him as the next head coach?
MIKE BOBINSKI: It was, but honestly it was more about just the history and the background, it was more about the results that he's put together. As I looked deeper into the actual production and the statistical dominance and positioning nationally that his quarterbacks and his offenses have had since he's been a head coach, it was hard to ignore. Even as an offensive coordinator he put up top 10 national offenses, and those are the types of things that intrigued me as we got into this process and I wanted to know more as I saw those statistics that were really very notable.
Q. Coach, staying with the all-in mantra here today, what commitments did Purdue University make to you beyond your contract to give you the best chance to succeed here?
JEFF BROHM: Well, I think these guys definitely committed to me that they were all in to helping this football program achieve success, and I think you can look at the financial investment into the new facility, to the improvement in the stadium. There's a lot of things that they've done to show me that they're all in. You know, and then from there, it's on me.
I think as a coach, you have to take it upon yourself to do your part, and I'm excited about this challenge, but I think this administration is all in. We understand it may not be perfect at all times, but it's got to be a daily process. You have to never give in. You have to continue to work at it. You have to be there through some of the hard times, learn from it, and then move on and get better.
I know with my team, we talk all the time about it's a one-game season, and once we get to the season, we're going to try to win that game, and we're going to be all in to win the game, and when it's over, win, lose or draw, which there's no draws anymore, we're going to learn from it, make the corrections, find a way to get better, and win the next one.
Normally if do you that one game at a time and not worry about the prize at the end, you're going to have a decent record when it's all over.
But it will be a process, but I do believe this administration is all in.
Q. My follow-up will go to Mike and Mitch, just following on that question, what commitments did you feel like you needed to communicate through this search process to entice a candidate, and what is that meaning right now I guess for the athletic department's bottom line going forward?
MIKE BOBINSKI: Well, one of the things we talked about as we got into the search was that this, as important as it was to find the right head coach, and that is the cornerstone of this whole operation for sure, if you just change the head coach and you don't do other things in terms of building an organization, you probably aren't going to land in a dramatically different place, so we did talk about building the organization out in a way that gives us a chance to be successful, to have championship-level success. So to that end we've outlined what it looks like. We've talked about it with Jeff, and I think he understands where we are. We understand where he is and what we believe he needs as a head football coach to have the support staff, the people around him that will put us in a position to succeed in the Big Ten and beyond.
So we're committed to that. We understand what that's all about, and we're prepared to do it here in the days, weeks and months ahead.
MITCH DANIELS: National Championship-caliber performance center opens this fall. Now we've got a National Championship-caliber coach. Mike, before the selection was made, as he said at the front end, ran through with me a number of the other elements at that he thought would be necessary in terms of assistants and a few other features, and we're going to make them work within the parameters of the budget that we've maintained here. There are new resources coming, as you know, and that's going to help. Our emphasis is on football now.
Across the rest of the program, and Purdue's other sports and other facilities I now know are the equal of probably any in the nation. A fantastic job has been done, and now we're going to turn our attention and our resources to the piece that's been missing the last few years, and the biggest single piece of that just got put in place today.
Q. Jeff, I guess you were a nine-year-old kid growing up in Louisville when Purdue reached out to Western Kentucky the last time and hired Gene Keady here as the basketball coach. Now 30 some years later the court is named after him. While you were at Western did you ever get to meet Coach Keady? Do you know him at all? Certainly an irony there with this hire.
JEFF BROHM: So you're saying the pressure is on, huh?
You know what, I wasn't fortunate enough to get a chance to meet him, but I follow -- I'm a big fan of sports, and I followed Purdue basketball then, and I follow it now. There's a lot of history there.
The success that they have had playing the game is impressive. No, I do not know him, and I grew up in Louisville, so I didn't really get down there a whole lot to be honest with you. I wasn't in Western Kentucky a whole lot until I got there as a coach even though I'm from Kentucky.
Q. I know there's a long road to travel between now and then, but have you had any time to think about facing your alma mater for your Purdue coaching debut in Lucas Oil?
JEFF BROHM: Yeah, I did notice that. I was hoping the quarterback would come out early for them, but I don't know if he can yet.
You know what, I think that'll be exciting. Louisville is -- obviously I know a lot about it. They've done a great job. They've developed a tremendous program, and that will be a great test for us. To me I think you're going to play some great football teams in the Big Ten. Obviously to have a good non-conference schedule it's going to make your team tougher in the end. Will it be a challenge, yes, but you know what, that's why you play the game. I think as a player you always want to try to measure yourself against the best. As a coach I feel the same way. We'll have to work hard in order to get ready for that game.
I'm not a big guy that speaks a big game, but I'd like to carry a big stick, but we have our work cut out for us, and we know it, but we just got to go to work on it, grind on it each and every day, try to continue to improve, use every last resource and ounce of practice time we can to get that done, have the schedule mapped out for our players where they know how to improve and make progress, and that's in every facet.
I think hopefully over time, that adds up.
Q. Which coaches do you feel have been most instrumental in your development as a coach, and which do you kind of emulate or look up to?
JEFF BROHM: Well, I've been lucky. I played for a lot. I was released from a lot of NFL football teams and got to go to a different one. But you know what, I can go all the way back to my father as a coach growing up as a young kid to my high school coach Dennis Lampley at Louisville Trinity High School that really loved his players and showed that. That was important for me.
In college, like I said, Coach Schnellenberger was the master at getting his team prepared to play at a high level and believe they were better than they really were. Went to San Diego with Bobby Ross as our head coach, and Bill Orensberger (ph) and Ralph Friedgen and played with some great coaches there, went to the Super Bowl, experienced that. I was with the 49ers for three years. We had George Seifert, Pete Carroll, Jim Mora, Mark Trestman there, then Steve Mariucci came in with Marty Mornhinweg, and a lot of great coaches there and great players, Steve Young and Jerry Rice. They played at the highest level.
I went to Tampa Bay with Tony Dungy, who's an unbelievable human being and outstanding coach. Learned a lot from him. Was in Denver for a year and a half with Gary Kubiak and Mike Shanahan, and those guys took the West Coast offense to a new level, adding the shotgun and those things, and then bounced around a few other places.
Really as a backup who's just trying to make the team, you kind of listen a little more and pay attention and find a way to at least produce a little bit so when you get in there you can make the team.
So that's where I learned everything from, and then I coached for a lot of great coaches, with a lot of great coaches, as well, Coach Petrino at Louisville and Ron Zook at Illinois when I was there. We won two bowls games and our quarterback was the bowl MVP twice. Every little coach is different, but you just try to learn from each and every one of them, but in the end you have to have your own style.
The best thing is I think I played the game, so I kind of know what players are going through and try to understand it and not be a dictator. I think if they know that you're all in with them, they're going to play harder for you, and that's what we've got to do is create an environment where our guys want to play hard and want to play for each other, want to lay it on the line each and every week, and if you can do that, you give yourself a chance.
Q. You talked a lot today about the quarterback. What elements and characteristics do you look for in recruiting a quarterback?
JEFF BROHM: Well, I think I've got a pretty good feel on that. Obviously leadership skills and toughness, all the intangibles are important, so I think when you're recruiting them, you do need to get to know them, and you get to know what their makeup is. Do they really love football, are they willing to do the extra mile, are they a competitor. I love that when they play some other sports and they're used to competing each and every day. And then of course you've got to look at the release and the motion and the athletic ability, all those things, but really the intangibles are as important as anything.
I think if you can get a guy that wants to work hard, I think we have a plan and a method to improve them. I think you've not only got to improve them as a player to succeed build the offense around who you have. It's not just this is what we run. So if you've a true drop-back guy, you're going to have to figure out a way to throw the ball and do some things in that avenue. If you've got a dual-threat guy, you've got to take advantage of that.
So you've got to build it around his strengths, and you've got to make sure he's not getting hit a lot. I think sometimes when guys get hit a lot, they're going to cause them to turn the ball over too much and make mistakes, so you've just got to take care of them. Everyone is different, and we'll make mistakes on it some, too, but I think we've got a good feel of the pulse of that position and how to develop it, how to hopefully recruit it, and you need more than one. You need a couple guys.
Even us this past year at Western Kentucky, we had a starter who it was his first year starting for us, played outstanding, but he didn't win the job until about a week before the season because we had three other guys right on his tail, and if he went down, we had another guy to go in to provide competition so that he knew he's going to have to play at a high level or someone else was going in. So you've got to provide the competition, too, and get enough guys to compete in practice every day so they're fighting every day for their job to get better.
Q. You talked a little bit about your offensive philosophy, and we know a lot about your successes on the offensive side of the ball. Can you talk a little bit about your defensive philosophy and what you hope to accomplish here at Purdue on the defensive side?
JEFF BROHM: Well, I think when you look at the great teams across the country, the ones at the top have great defense. So you have to have to find a way to play great defense. Yes, I'm an offensive guy in general, but I understand how it works.
My first year as a head coach at WKU, we were not very good on defense. We put up a ton of yards and we finished 8-5, and then we went to work on the defensive side. You've got to make sure, getting back to recruiting, you over recruit the defensive side, and you get enough guys, especially big guys, but enough guys to give yourself a chance to win.
Being a former quarterback, I think I have an understanding of what the quarterback doesn't like to see and what he doesn't want to happen to him. You know, whoever our defensive coordinator is, I'm in the room, and even though I'm diplomatic, I want to make sure they understand here's what a quarterback doesn't want to see because sometimes defensive coaches can have some tunnel vision and they don't see it from a quarterback's perspective, and as we talked about earlier, that guy has the ball in his hand every play, so we've got to make sure he's uncomfortable, we hit him, we come after him, we're able to pressure, but at the same time, nowadays, you've got to be able to defend the run and the pass. There's more and more spread teams out there, so you've got to make sure you have an understanding of that.
But even with that stopping the run is the number one thing, hitting the quarterback is right there with it, and I think that we'll all work together to do our part on that, but you have to have a great defense to win at a high level.
Q. Mike, from a fan vantage point, when you watch teams that Jeff has had a hand in, what does he do that is exciting that appeals to the Purdue fan base that's going to get these fans back in Ross-Ade Stadium?
MIKE BOBINSKI: Well, I think we've heard a lot of it here today, the energy, the enthusiasm, the passion that his teams play with, the style that they play that's aggressive, that forces the tempo, forces the issue. It's not a passive style on either side of the ball. It's one that we take the fight to the other team, and I think that's the way successful football teams are. It's not a game for the faint of heart. It's one where you've got to be the aggressor. You've got to be a team that attacks. As I've watched Coach Brohm's teams play over the years, and particularly this year as I paid lots of attention to it, that's what I saw. I saw a team that really went after it both sides of the ball and played with great enthusiasm and didn't take a play off ever, and I think fans will recognize that. Our fans certainly will appreciate that, and once the success comes along with that, it'll be all the better. But I really believe that our folks will really appreciate the way that our guys will play as we take the field in 2017.
JEFF BROHM: One thing I do believe in is I believe in being creative and trying to have a great offense and staying ahead of the curve, and I'm a big studier of offense, and I'm going to make sure that I do my part to put us in a position to succeed.
You know, throughout my history, we run a lot of trick plays, we do some things to have fun. Just an interesting story, my wife is here and I'll tell it. But it was I think not this year, it was last year, and it was about game four or five, and I came home, and she got me and she said, hey, are you ever going to run that one play? I'm like, what do you mean that one play. That one trick play. I'm like, which one are you talking about, I've got a whole bunch in already. She goes, that one where you hand it off and toss it back. Oh, the flea flicker? Actually, no, I don't have that in this week. She goes, you need to run that flea flicker.
So I put in the flea flicker. She's my wife. I actually do listen. So I put in the flea flicker that week, and sure enough, it's the second quarter and I call the flea flicker, and sure enough, it's wide open, and it's a touchdown. Right away in my head, I'm like, oh, no, I'm going to have to listen to this one. And of course she did. She took credit for it. But believe it or not, we probably were six for seven or flea flickers with five of them being touchdowns.
I'm open to any suggestions that anyone has. My family gives me a lot. My wife gives me a lot. I never think I know more than the other person, and if there's something we need to do, just let me know.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports