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PURDUE UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
October 29, 2018
West Lafayette, Indiana
HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: Good morning. I think a lot of things we learned from the last game, I think looking at the video, we just -- we all need to do a better job starting from myself all the way down. Did a lot of the small things not as good as we have in the past, and I think all of those small things added up.
Michigan State did a very good. They were physical on defense and they created push at the line of scrimmage. Challenged our routes on the outside. You know, made the quarterback feel uncomfortable and they found a way to control the ball on offense, move it efficiently. I thought we allowed them to control it too much. Gave up some easy completions, which I don't like to do. We need to get some things fixed up there.
But a lot of small things happened that we had been better at that we were not in this game that added up to a loss. In the end, we still had a chance to tie it and didn't get it done.
Moving on to the next opponent in Iowa. Iowa is a better football game than Michigan State. They are playing very well right now. They are in the hunt. They have played outstanding football on both sides of the ball. Definitely on defense, they are strong; up front, as well. They are physical, and they are ranked very high on the defensive side of the ball.
This is a game, once again, we are going to have to find a way to create some big plays, hopefully get a lead and maybe take them out of their game. We were not able to do that the last game and it hurt us. This team likes to control the ball. They have made ea few more big plays on offense.
But defensively they are very good, and they do an outstanding job in their scheme and their system. They have done it for a long time. People are in the right spot and they are physical. We're going to have our hands full. We're going to have to play better and we're going to have to execute better and we're going to have to find ways to make more big plays, and it will be a great challenge for us.
This team coming in has a lot to play for; they are in the hunt and they are going to be hungry after last year's game and we've got to have a great week of practice and try to come out and make more plays.
Q. A couple special teams questions. What do you coach your guys to do after the block a field goal?
HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: We coach them not to touch it if it goes beyond the line of scrimmage and obviously we didn't get that communicated correctly. If you look at it Mosley was trying to tell them to get away from the ball, and I think he just saw the ball and panicked and went over and picked it up.
Without question, that can't happen. We've already covered it numerous times in our practice Sunday. We've got to make sure we cover it every week on a checklist so that everyone knows the difference between a blocked kick beyond the line of scrimmage and not. But that hurt us, and it set us back.
And really, you know, when you get on the one-yard line when they get it back and they kick a field goal, it was one of the many things that made a difference in the outcome of the game that we did not do correctly.
Q. How about on your blocked field goal at the end of the game. You said after the game you thought maybe it wasn't going to go in. After looking at the tape, what did you think of it?
HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: Well, after looking at the tape, I don't think it would have gone in, anyway. Ball is on the left hash. They came through the left A gap. We did get too much push there. The guy came in low. He was low and he extended his hand. The kick was going to be low. The kick was going to be to the left in my opinion, but we need to protect better and it was a slow time on the kick, as well, from our kicker. So we've got to get it off faster and we've got to get it up in the air.
So a lot of things happened incorrectly there. Once again, we have to shore up the protection. We've got to in practice put pressure on our kickers and make them perform with pressure on with consequences, which we have been doing lately. I think we've gotten better, but this one did not work for us and you know, those are the things that happened on that kick.
Q. Been a couple of times when point-after attempts or field goals have been blocked. Are they different issues or do you feel like it's recurrence of the same issue?
HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: No, the first time it was the right side of the line. We had some -- we needed to shore up the personnel, I guess is the best way to put it. We moved, which we felt was a stronger body in that position. We put a couple starters on that unit that maybe weren't on it and I think that has helped.
This one here, Dennis normally does a great job. He got a little soft. The guy came extra low and just kind of knocked him on his heels a little bit, but we've got to shore that up.
Now, with that, our long snapper does a great job. He's got to help a little bit after the snap with his arms, so we've got to help a little bit in that area.
So it's a lot of little things, once again, after watching it closely and studying it, that I think can help us but we've gotten better at that in general. Once again, I don't think the kick would have went in, anyway, but we can't have that happen.
Q. How about on Bryson Hopkins' hit? There was some question whether that was targeting or borderline. What was your evaluation of that?
HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: Well, you're probably asking the wrong guy. I think after looking at the TV copy, I think it was targeting. Not seeing that, I couldn't tell directly where the shot was, but according to the TV copy, it looked like he got him in the chin with his helmet, led with his helmet, which is really what targeting is, what you're supposed to not do.
I don't know, it's one of those calls that didn't go our way. You'd think they would look at it in replay, and I guess they didn't deem it targeting, and unfortunately we fumbled the ball and they got it.
It was big. We had some momentum going down and trying to get a score. It was one of our three turnovers that definitely hurt us.
Q. How about for you, it seems in your career, you've had a lot of success in November, especially. What do you attribute that to?
HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: Well, I don't know. I think that we try to improve as the year goes on. We try to work hard at our weaknesses try to improve the weak before and be critical of ourselves and find ways to fix mistakes.
Now this year we have a tough stretch. We have a tough stretch of opponents. We have to come ready to play. We've got our hands full. We've got Iowa coming in here ranked in the top 20, and they are playing very, very good. You know, we are going to have to play better than we did last week to even be in the game.
Some of these games we're playing, if we don't play well, it could be a very long day. So we have to play our best. We've got to execute. We've got to do the small things right and we've got to find ways to get a lead early to give us a chance, and if we're not doing those, we're going to have a hard time and this is a very, very good opponent that's well-coached and playing at a high level right now.
Q. You touched on it a little bit, but Iowa's defense is highly regarded. What do you think they do that will be a challenge?
HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: They are similar to Michigan State. It's a Big Ten defense and they are very physical up front. They come off the ball. They knock you back. They get to the pass rusher. They have a ton of sacks this year, and it's not by blitzing. They create pressure with four guys and they create push, and that's what we had a hard time with last week and we're going to have to work hard to improve upon that this week.
Their linebackers play downhill. They can stop the run. Their secondary does a great job of trying to keep the ball in front of them and have their eyes on the quarterback. They read the quarterback well. They try not to give up big plays.
But without questions, it starts up front. Their front four is their strength and they have created numerous sacks which is those guys rushing, and we will have our hands full blocking them.
Q. To clarify what you said earlier, looking back at the film, did the cushion by the quarterbacks did that bother you, and is that something that you guys have got to figure out with Coach Holt or was that part of the game plan because it was a quarterback you didn't have much film on?
HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: No, it bothered me a great deal and it still does bother me today. I don't like to give that much cushion. Now, we are going to try to stop the run so you're going to have more guys to the box and you're going to be isolated more on the outside.
So there will be more one-on-one matchups, but I want to get up in their face, and I don't like to have that much cushion, no. I lost a lot of sleep on it. They were able to control the ball for 40 minutes and they were able to just kind of nickel and dime at us, which I don't like for that to happen. I want them to throw it over our head to beat us and if they do, we get the ball back.
So no, we need to get that fixed. Our pass defense and the amount of yards we have given up, I have not been happy with. Now our defense is doing some good things and I like the progress we're making, don't get me wrong, but the pass defense has to improve and if they are going to create yards in the passing game, I want it to be over our head and not all the easy stuff underneath.
Q. Positive side of the defense, can you evaluate Lorenzo's play on Saturday and arguably his best game at Purdue?
HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: Without question, it was a very good game for Lorenzo. He played a lot of snaps. He did a great job. He's one of our veterans on the defensive side of the ball. He always has a few nagging things he's got to deal with during the week, but he came out to play.
We probably need to spell him a little bit more and give him some breaks and some rest because we are not as deep there as we'd like. That's probably why it hasn't happened. But we have to force ourselves to do that. We have to play more guys.
But Lorenzo played very well. You know, created some push. Just did a very good job, and he's a guy we have to have on that side of the ball.
Q. How do you approach David this week in practice after -- he hasn't thrown three interceptions in almost two years; hasn't done it for you yet. Just your approach with him about a turnover-filled game on Saturday.
HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: Well, I think he understands we've got to get back to work hard on the small things and practice. We've got to put pressure on them and put guys in his face and make him feel uncomfortable. Break the speed of the game as much as we can, which we work hard at doing.
I think he just got a little bit too overconfident being able to make throws and not understanding that, no, your strength if is it's not there, you've got to scramble; and if it's not open, you've got to get yards with your feet.
I think throughout the course of the game for any quarterback, whether you're an athlete or not, you're going to have to run it three or five teams a game, whether it's up -- you get two-plus yards at the line of scrimmage or find a way to get eight.
But you know, he's got be to willing to tuck the ball and run when it's not there and get us first downs or at least get us positive yards. I think the first interception was not good, and really the last one was really disappointing, as well. You know, the other one I thought was a fumble, that was really the interception.
I think the push that they created by their defensive front and the fact that they were pressed quite a bit on the outside, and you have to hold it a little bit longer, all factored in to make them feel uncomfortable. And I think that penetration affected his play negatively.
We've got to work hard to make sure that he maintains that toughness and stands in the pocket and does what he's supposed to and if it get too tight in there, he's got to make plays with his feet and we just can't turn the ball over, especially when you only have the ball for a little over 20 minutes of the game. You've got to take advantage of all your opportunities and we did that.
Q. Don't even know how to ask this. You mentioned it before on Saturday and you mentioned it today. Your outside receivers, I don't know how you can emphasize it more in practice, but did the regression -- your thoughts on the regression against a physical secondary, not able to win any one-on-one matchups?
HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: I think for the last four games, maybe even five, we've been able to win more one-on-one matchups than I anticipated to be quite honest with you. I thought we've been doing a very good job.
I think this game, they had some big, physical corners and they did a good job, and we weren't able to get much separation. We weren't able to make the plays and even the throws to give us a chance on some of them. I think some of them were so over thrown, didn't have much of a chance. I thought one in the end zone, we had a chance I thought was interference and we're not going to get it called.
But we've got to figure out other things to do possibly. Maybe you have to create shots over your head but you know, we work hard on it, and we'll work hard again this week on it and hopefully we can get better. Every little thing we can do to improve upon that we have to.
You know, went back and looked at the film against Iowa last year. We won the game because we hit three shots over their head and we hit one scramble for a touchdown. Other than that, we didn't really do much. Big plays have to happen and we've got to still call them, otherwise, working the ball down the field against these guys, we're going to be in for a long game.
So it's just something we've got to work hard at, which we have, but we've got to concentrate on it even more.
Q. From a health standpoint, did you come out of Saturday at least relatively similar to how you started the game?
HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: Yeah, for the most part, you know, we'll be okay. Nothing that I think will hold people out of the game.
Q. Does that include Bryson?
HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: Yes, as far as I know. Yes, I would anticipate him playing.
Q. Just back to the cushion on defense. Obviously you seem irritated by that. Why was that the plan going into that game?
HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: Well, to sit there and say it was the true plan, I don't know if I'd say that. I think sometimes when you're one-on-one on the outside, you know, anything can get in the defensive back's head and you don't want to get beat deep. You know, we had too much cushion before the snap and then we're running out of there too fast. So we've got to work hard at making sure we tighten that up. We slow the shuffle down.
I think you can read the quarterback; sometimes they catch it and turn and throw and we're running out of there. That has to get fixed. I want it fixed. We need to work hard on it this week. I don't like to give up that many easy completions, and that's a quarterback's dream come true when you can just raise up and throw it out there and get an easy completion.
Q. To be clear, this wasn't a one-game issue in your mind?
HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: I think we've been better at not giving that cushion. This game, we gave it and they took advantage of it.
You know, I think really, going back to Eastern Michigan and Missouri, we were not doing what we're supposed to. But after that, we've gotten better. I think we kind of went backwards a little bit in this game and in my opinion, gave up too many easy completions which I don't want to happen. I want us to challenge routes.
You know what, like I said, it's not super easy for a defensive back to know that we want him to challenge routes and not get beat deep when he's always going to be one-on-one.
So we have to do a few things structurally to not always put the pressure on him and isolate him on the island. It's a combination of everything, but in general, I don't want to give up that many easy completions.
Q. And you're probably still searching for that consistent pass rush that's been hit-and-miss all year.
HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: Well, we kind of know we're going to have to create that pass rush with more pressure. That's just where we're at right now. You know, which isolates your defensive backs even more. So I get it. We've just got to play more confident, challenge things; they can beat us over the head.
But yeah, we've got to create pressure and sometimes that's just not the four guys. That's just where we're at right now. It's worked to a certain degree and we've done some good things with it. We have to figure out ways to be creative and make the quarterback feel uncomfortable. Make him hold it longer than he wants, or any quarterback is going to perform well.
This quarterback that Michigan State had who hadn't played, he looked like Joe Montana out there, and I don't like to see that.
Q. Segue into Iowa's quarterback. If you allow him to be comfortable on Saturday, his talent level, it's pretty high. What have you seen out of him and how much damage can he do if he's allowed to get comfortable?
HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: I think he's made some positive steps this year. He's played well. I think once again, we did a good job against him last year.
Now, that was a different defense that we had, but we're going to have to make him feel uncomfortable. We're going to have to get some pressure on him. We're going to have to get some push. If we don't rush five or more, we are going to have to tight up the secondary and not let him play on his full and throw an easy completion.
Now every once in a while, if it happens, I get it, but it can't happen very much, and we've got to tighten things down and make him holder longer than he wants and make him feel uncomfortable. And that's with any quarterback.
But definitely this team will control the ball, run it and playaction and when they throw it you have to find ways to not allow them to get a bunch of easy completions.
Q. You had two good tight ends, and you know the stress that they put on opposing defenses. Iowa has two really good tight ends. What kind of stress have they put on opposing defenses, and what's your counter to not let them control the passing game on Saturday?
HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: I think that, you know, we load the box, it gives us more guys in there to guard the tight end. I think when we're up on the tight end and more physical at the end, that helps, as well, when he has separation and he's allowed to run up the field, like with our guys, they are going to make more plays.
We have got to be physical with the tight end, as well. We've got to put guys up on them. We've got to have guys sitting there waiting for him. We've got to collision him. We've got to get our hands on them; if we allow them to run up the field on their playaction and any of their routes, yeah, we're going to have a hard time.
Just like on the outside, we're going to have to deal with the tight end, but we're going to have to be even more physical with him and disrupt his routes and the timing of the passing game.
Q. For the second straight year, to play meaningful games in November, as you're looking at a checklist of what you want to see out of this program, is this it? You're in the stretch run. There's a lot of implications with these last four games but just to have -- what's it mean to have meaningful games in November for this program?
HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: I am proud of the fact that we've been in every game with a chance to win it. That's a credit to our players and how hard they are playing and the fact that they want to win. It means something to them. We've got good football teams on the schedule, and we are going to have to play at a high level.
We are going to have to raise our level of play individually and as a unit. We are going to have to do the small things right in order to win against good opponents and that's just football. I think when you get to the next level and it's good teams every week, the team that executes and plays the hardest is going to win.
You know, with where we're at now, we're going to have to play at a high level and we're going to have to execute. Even though we did a lot of small things not as well as we had the passing game, we still were fighting and scrapping and we've got to just hang in there. We have to find ways to improve. We have to play confident. We've got to play to win. And if we do that, hopefully we can get some of these games to the fourth quarter with a chance to win.
I did think we were behind the ball against Michigan State. We tried to get up in there and we had our chances twice driving it down close to the red zone and didn't get it done. We'd like to find a way to maybe get the ball a little bit more and find a way to create a lead if we can. That always helps. If we do that. And if you don't, you're going to have to fight and claw and scrap, and you never know what's going to happen then.
Q. You have four regular-season games left, potentially another one, if you win enough. But just from the redshirt rule, are you at a point where you might see some guys that haven't played yet this month?
HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: Well, we are going to play the season like there's four games remaining and that's it. If anyone hasn't played yet, now they are up for this game. If a guy has played one game, then we may see where he's at for this game.
But no, anybody has a chance to get in if we think they are ready, especially if they have not played a game to this point. That doesn't mean it will happen, but yes, we are going to play young guys if they are ready to go from here on if they haven't played in a game yet.
Q. I wanted to follow up, you mentioned on the corner pushing on the cornerbacks, was that more of a scheme thing or do you feel like that was an execution from the corners?
HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: Well, like I said, you know, I'll take the blame for it. We need to make sure we're up tighter. We need to make sure that we mix in some press-bail. We need to make sure we mix in some press. We need to tighten things up if we're going to be in a cover three look and not play so far off. We need to slow the back pedal down, slow the shuffle down. We need to make him throw the ball overhead. We have got to get that emphasized all week this week as much as we can and that doesn't mean it's easy.
We're going to play tighter and you know, one high look, yeah, there's a lot of pressure on that cornerback. I get it. Sometimes you don't want to get beat deep but we've got to work it hard this week and do the best job we can. Now, that wasn't the reason we lost the game, but I don't like to give that many easy completions.
Q. You mentioned time of possession. Did you feel like setting up the run didn't work and that could possibly change against a similar team like Iowa?
HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: Well, Michigan State was great against the run. So we could have banged our head against the wall a little bit if we wanted, but we wanted to be aggressive and mix in the run. This team is going to be, if not better against the run, right there at it. So it's going to be their strength. So we've got to be smart with it. You know, creating some balance, keeping them off balance, but yet being aggressive is what we're going to try to do.
I don't want to go down being conservative. I think you go to the Eastern Michigan game, we ran the ball extremely well; we lost the game. I don't really want to lose the game. I want to try to win. So we will err on the aggressive side.
Q. And you mentioned meaningful games in November, that also gets the fan base pretty excited but also leads to fans complaining to players and coaches. Just how do you tell your players to deal with those sort of media? Do you give them a guideline? I know it's sort of part of everyone's life now, it's kind of hard to avoid, but how do you tell them to deal with it, or do you tell them anything?
HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: We haven't had a whole lot of issues up to this point. You know, everybody's going to have an opinion and we respect everybody's opinion. I think our guys know that we work extremely hard to do the best job we can. We want to win. Losing angers us and it makes us mad, and it should. And we're going to try to get a fix.
Now, you know, doesn't mean you're going to go out there and win every game. It's going to be a tough chore every week.
I think as long as our guys practice hard, give us great effort, take the field confident, play to win, play with great effort there; whatever the score is, I'm able to deal with it and so will our players.
It's when you get to a point where you don't think guys are giving it everything you have, that becomes an issue and to me that's what fans don't like to see. I think as long as we play the game the way it's supposed to, which we intend on doing, we'll live with the results but I like the makeup of our team and I think they will have a good week of practice and we will throw the ball out there and see how it goes on Saturday.
Q. Your November record, has there been a common denominator from Western Kentucky to Purdue in terms of some sort of identifiable causation to why it's been so good?
HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: To be quite honest, I know it's been talked about a lot. I really haven't analyzed it. It's not something I try to do it that way. I think if you're a good football team, hopefully you're improving as the year goes on. Hopefully your guys are getting better. Hopefully you're learning from your mistakes and hopefully you win some games in the end. That's what you like to see.
Now, sometimes it depends on who you play, as well. There's a lot of factors that go into it. We have a tough stretch here of very good opponents and we have got to play outstanding to have a chance to win and if we don't, you know, doesn't matter what our record in November is, we're not going to win. I don't overthink it and evaluate it.
Yeah, is it a proud -- fact that we're proud of? Yeah, we probably are. But I think it comes down to trying to improve as the year goes on, trying to get better and trying to get your guys to believe if they can win. And when there's things that are on the line and sometimes your backs are against the wall and you play that way, sometimes a few things -- a few better things happen.
You know, this will be a tremendous challenge for us this week against a ranked opponent that we beat last year that will be really hungry and the question is, can we be hungrier in practice this week and can we work harder and take the field and play confident and execute. If we do, we'll have a chance. If we don't, then it won't be a happy Saturday.
Q. Knowing David is the starter on Saturday, but the defense did knock out McSorley this past weekend, if you had to put Sindelar in the game and run the entire offense, do you feel confident physically he's able to do that at this point?
HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM: I think Elijah, we have great confidence in his ability. We started the season a little rocky and he had to take the blame for it. He didn't play his best but I think he's practiced pretty well and if Elijah had to go in, I think he would do a very good job for us.
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