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November 12, 2018

Jeff Brohm

West Lafayette, Indiana

JEFF BROHM: Good morning. We're definitely excited to get back on the field. It wasn't a great performance by us by any means. Very disappointing loss for us that we all had a part in, including myself. So there's a lot of work to do this week, a lot of -- we already made the corrections on Sunday, tried to finally put it to bed and move on to the next game.

Hopefully we can have a great week of practice and prepare well and give ourselves a chance. We've got a great opponent we're playing against that we'll have our hands full. They're tough; they're physical; they know how to win. They shut us down on offense the entire game last year, and I'm sure they're looking forward to doing the same thing.

So we've got a lot of work to do, and we've got to have a great week of practice. I think our guys will come out and practice hard. We've got to make sure we pay attention to the small details. We've got to put in the time, put in the effort, and try to come out in our last home game and put on a good performance.

But it's definitely going to be a challenging one against a very experienced, tough opponent, and our hands will be full.

Q. Obviously with the news in Louisville, your name has been connected there. Would you like to just address that in any way?
JEFF BROHM: Yeah, you know, I've heard the noise just like everyone else. I think unfortunately it's important for me to not comment on any speculation right now. I have a job, and we've got work to do, and a lot of it. We're going to put forth the effort to do that. We've got a tough opponent this week, and then we've got to go to IU, and we're going to have to play well, and we're going to have to play much better than we did last week, so I'm going to stay focused on that, and very appreciative of the job I have right now.

Q. Have you addressed these rumors in any way with your team?
JEFF BROHM: You know what, no, I haven't. It's kind of been like last year. I think any time things come about, it's a product of how your team is doing and how they're playing, and if they've done some good things, this is sometimes going to happen. And I get it, and I understand it, and it's part of the process. I think it's important for me to -- and our team to worry about improving, getting better, and attacking the next opponent, and then that's where we're going to completely focus on.

Q. One question is one thing that has made you successful at Purdue in addition to the Xs and Os is you seem to have a great knack for getting 18- to 22-year-olds to play hard for you. How do you convince guys to continue to play hard when everybody is telling them that you might not be the coach next year?
JEFF BROHM: Well, I think they trust me and what I'm all about. I'm here to help our guys win football games and help them improve and get better. That's the way I'll always be. We had a disappointing loss, and it was one that we're all affected by and we're not happy with, so we've got to have a great week of practice. We came in on Sunday and addressed all the mistakes we made like we should have and were critical of ourselves. Things like that are occasionally going to happen, and I think when it does, like I said, it's a product of your team doing good things. We've had some good moments this year, and I get it, but we've got to definitely focus on this game, and I know our players will do that.

Q. Football question: I guess just senior day coming up here. What has this class meant to you as a guy who came in with things to accomplish and not necessarily guys that you recruited but you've had a lot of success with this class?
JEFF BROHM: Well, I really like our senior class. They've been great leaders. They've gone through a lot, even before I got here. It's great to find a way to win a few meaningful ballgames for them. Hopefully we can try to finish the season strong. I think that's important. I think all of our guys have an ultimate goal to advance, and we've got plenty of work left to do to do that, and we owe it to our seniors to play hard, to work hard, to improve.

We played some young guys this past week. I didn't really love the way they performed. We have got to get better come game day. I think we had a good week of practice; I just think we came out and we allowed the elements to affect us. We got down early and some critical mistakes happened that hurt us, and then we had a fumble that they returned for a touchdown, and then from there it went south.

A lot of things to fix, but we've had guys that play hard and they practice hard. We just have to make sure we tighten things up much more during the game, and we don't have the silly mistakes and do the small things right and coach well and make the right calls and execute them. You do that, we'll have a chance. If not, we've got a lot of work on our hands.

Q. How about at the end of last game, what went into your decision to play Sipe instead of Sindelar?
JEFF BROHM: Well, I think for us, we were trying to fight through it. I didn't think it was one of David's best games. Sometimes when others aren't doing their part, the quarterback looks worse than he's supposed to. So it was a combination a lot of things. I wanted David to fight through it a little bit, figure out a way to work through it because it's happened before to us this year and last year, and there's going to be games where everything isn't going right. Sometimes we're not going to have a lead and I want him to be able to fight through it, and then at the end really the game was out of reach, and we decided to put Nick in and give him some reps.

Q. Is there still thought that maybe Sindelar could get a medical redshirt or anything like that? Is that still an issue, or how is his health?
JEFF BROHM: Well, right now he continues to rehab, and he continues to do that every day, and we're conscious of that. So we're aware of all things, and we want to make sure that he's fully healthy and we do the right thing.

Q. How about on the other side of the ball? What went into the decision to start Tim Cason over Kenneth Major?
JEFF BROHM: Well, we feel like we should be rotating at that position some. I think Kenneth has done some very good things for us. I think Tim has made some strides. Kenneth has probably played the majority of the snaps. The last couple of games it's been Blackmon and Major and a little bit of Tim. We'd like to somehow continue to rotate that a little bit and keep the competition there. I think it's important that those guys understand there's pressure on them to perform at their best, and I think Tim can come in and help us, and if he's playing hard, he's into it, he can be a good leader for us.

Q. Personal fouls, it seemed like that was an issue last game. It seemed like that was something early in the year that was an issue, but it seemed like something you had cleaned up. Do you have to address that in any way this week?
JEFF BROHM: Yes, we have. It was a disappointing game in all facets. Definitely the penalties were crucial. We had some stops, and because of the personal fouls and the 15-yarders that hurt us, when you went back and looked at it. The one on Cornell Jones should have been called. It was a dumb mistake by him that he's got to correct. He allows his emotions to get to him. We've got to work hard to make sure that never happens again.

We had a hand to the facemask that was probably accidental, but it was a hand to the facemask that they called. We had a facemask when a guy was running through the hole that was accidental, but he grabbed the facemask. And then we had another one on Giovanni where they said he said something. When I asked him, he said he didn't, but you know, we have to keep our mouths shut. That all happened within a 10-play span it looked like, and it cost us and gave them momentum.

It just goes to show you we can't have those errors, and yes, we have to get all of them fixed and we have to make sure we coach them this week and make sure none of that even comes close to happening, and our players have to have a good week of practice, and we've to get that fixed. It can't happen in a game for us to win.

Q. Is there anything different that's happened with Elijah in the last couple weeks because it seemed like you were confident if the game was in doubt and something were to happen to David, you could put him in a game. Has that changed, or is that still your stance?
JEFF BROHM: No, that's still the stance.

Q. And addressing the Louisville things with players who are either committed or that you're looking at, has that happened in the last couple of days or the last 24 hours, or does the message change in that regard?
JEFF BROHM: No, really it has probably happened way less than you think. I think our guys know that I'll be honest with them and up front, and I think that's the way you've got to approach it, and that's the way I handled it last year, and we'll do the same thing this year.

Q. From an Xs and Os standpoint after Saturday, without having Jacob in there at safety, how do you rely on getting those run fits corrected as soon as possible?
JEFF BROHM: Well, we had a lot of mistakes on defense. Unfortunately for us, they got the lead, which hurt us. They were able to do whatever they wanted, which was run the football, wildcat runs, over and over again. We didn't ask them to do anything they weren't comfortable with. On the other side we were not effective at all on offense. You know, missing Jacob, yes, it did hurt us. He's the quarterback of our defense, him and Markus Bailey, and then Lorenzo Neal are our three guys on that side of the ball that have done a tremendous job all year, so it's a position that did hurt us not having. I think the guys that stepped in did okay, but they're not to that level, but it was a combination of all the things.

I think we weren't as good up front. Our linebackers because of that had more responsibilities. They didn't come through as much, and then once again, the secondary has a lot of field to work with, and we got exposed.

We've got to improve a lot, but the key for us is we've got to do a lot of things right to win, and one of them is get a lead. One of them is not have dumb penalties. One of them is take care of the ball, and all those things kind of have to happen for us in order to win. Fortunately it has happened in some meaningful games, but it didn't happen Saturday night.

Q. When you look at the offensive performance, when a team like you've said before drops back on you and almost wants you to complete those intermediate to moderate passes and you have long drives, is there a way to kind of counter that, or do you just kind of have to take what the defense gives you in that regard?
JEFF BROHM: Well, we weren't able to get big plays, which has hurt us. When we've created big plays, as I've said all year long, it definitely helps us and it always will. This team was going to do just what you said, bend but not break, and they did a good job of doing that, keeping in front of them and changing some things up and changing looks up after the snap.

You know, I think that we didn't play well. We didn't execute well. We had a lot of silly mistakes, didn't run the right route, quarterback sometimes checked it down way too soon, had some stems on our routes that took too much time, if they would just cut and broke it would have happened. Just a combination of a lot of things, and when we get into a full pass protection mode and they're able to pin their ears back, that's not when we're at our best. We've got to be good on 1st and 2nd down, mixing in the run, being aggressive throwing it, some playing action, a little misdirection, some screens, and some shots up the field, and we didn't hit any of those, and it hurt us. It was one of the many things that we didn't do well.

Q. Is Jacob's season over, or could you possibly see him playing in a bowl game if you were to get to eligibility?
JEFF BROHM: You know what, I'm not for sure on the length. I know he'll be out the next two -- our regular season, the next two games against Wisconsin and Indiana.

Q. As a guy who knows Bobby Petrino real well, worked with him. What was your emotional reaction to the struggles they've had this year and also the news yesterday?
JEFF BROHM: Well, I mean, you hate to see bad things happen for anybody, and it's a tough business, and no, I feel bad, and you want people you know to do well, and you want the program you know to do well. So it was not a fun day for anybody.

Q. I take it you haven't spoken with him, I guess, since yesterday?
JEFF BROHM: No. No, I have not.

Q. What's your ultimate aspiration as a coach?
JEFF BROHM: I'm sorry?

Q. What's your ultimate aspiration as a coach? What kind of drives you day-to-day in terms of goals?
JEFF BROHM: Well, when it comes to aspirations, I'm a guy that doesn't set a whole lot of goals other than I like to win and I like to build teams and I like to find ways to get it done. As a former player and an assistant coach, I think anywhere that I've been, that's what I've tried to do. It's important to do your part as a coach. As a former player, I think I understand that. So I've got to put in the work, I've got to put in the time. Our coaches do. We've got to adjust things. We've got to figure out things. When things aren't going well, you just can't blame it on the players. We've got to take it upon ourselves to help. I try to do that as much as I can. Everything is not going to be perfect, but I want to win, and I want our guys to feel that feeling of winning, and it's important that we continue to make strides.

I think we've had some big wins this year. We just haven't been consistent, which we've got a ways to go on that, and we've got to just continue to work hard and get better with the guys we have and continue to bring the next best crop of guys in that are hungry and want to do the same thing.

Q. What did you learn from dealing with these same sort of things last year that you think you could do this year in terms of the outside noise, the rumors?
JEFF BROHM: Well, I think unfortunately the best thing to do, and no one wants to hear that, is just to not comment on speculation. I think when things happen, it's important to be honest and forthright, but at the same time, to just comment on things that are being said and happening I don't think is right.

Our guys and our team understand that I'm going to be truthful and honest, and I want to win, and I want our guys to win, and we've got plenty of work to do this week.

Q. Has coaching at Louisville been a dream of yours?
JEFF BROHM: Well, once again, no, it has not, but that doesn't mean I don't -- I liked where I lived and where I played, and I have a great appreciation for that. But I want every program to do well, but definitely your alma mater, you want it to do well.

Q. If they want to talk to you, will you talk to them? Not obviously right now, but if the time comes that they want to discuss the job with you, is that something that you will entertain?
JEFF BROHM: Well, once again, I don't want to comment on any speculation. I think what I've said in the past is I like where I'm at, and I take a lot of pride in coaching here, and I'm very appreciative of the job I have, and I want to give this everything I have in order to help us win, and that's the attitude that I take.

Q. Have you and your family developed some sort of connection to the community and the university over the last two years or so that there is some sort of bond there?
JEFF BROHM: You know, I see where you're going. Trust me, I like it where I'm at. There's great people here. We've got great leadership. Yes, we've had great fan support. They've given us everything we can ask. We've got players that are hungry. We've got recruits that want to come in here and make a deal. We've got great facilities, and we're trying to improve. You know what, it's not easy. You've got to do all the small things. Everybody has to pitch in. Coaches got to do their work. You've got to fight through the hard times. You've got to fight through the struggles. You can't get too down, but yet you've got to get angry enough that you do something about it, and this week is one of those weeks. We're all angry, and we've got to do something about it, and we've got to do it against a great opponent that we will have our hands full. So we've got a lot of work on the plate and we've got to attack that full speed ahead.

Q. How do you not let this become a distraction because you're still playing for bowl eligibility, still playing to finish second in the West. There's a lot of things on the table for this team to accomplish this year. How do you make sure this does not become a distraction for your team?
JEFF BROHM: Well, I don't think it will, and I think the last couple years I've been coaching, that's been out there. I think there's numerous other coaches that handle it, there's numerous other teams that handle it. It's part of the business. When it's all said and done, I think it's -- you work hard, and you find ways to improve and win. Our guys know that we want to win, and we've got a lot of work to do left, and we had a disappointing loss, and we've got to work even harder this week to get it done, and that's what we're completely focused on.

Q. What are you seeing out of Wisconsin? They've had some struggles this year, quarterback has been in and out. How do you view them as you start to look at them and scout them, maybe some of the issues that they've dealt with this year?
JEFF BROHM: Well, you know, football is a competitive game, and when you play in a good conference, you're going to have tough competition. I think they've had some losses, but they've been very close losses, and they've -- a few things here and there that went their way, they could have easily won. Sometimes when you watch them, maybe they haven't been as explosive on offense as they would like, and that's something that you have to have, and they've just lost some close games.

I think they're like every team. You have Northwestern going to the Big Ten Championship. They've won a lot of close games. They kind of find a way just to win, and they're tough enough to overcome some things, and for some reason the luck hasn't been on Wisconsin's side in a few of those games, but they're right in every one of them, and they've got the talent to beat everyone in the country. They had their quarterback hurt, which that hurts when you lose your guy and your signal caller. It definitely hurts, so that has hurt them a little bit and they've had to adjust.

You know, the competition is stiff, and if you're not hitting on all cylinders, some days you're not going to win, and they've had some tough teams they've played well and they just didn't quite play well enough.

Q. Jonathan Taylor had a big game against you last year running the ball. What are you seeing out of him and that offensive line? Are they still producing in your mind at the same level on the ground that they have been?
JEFF BROHM: Well, their offensive line is very good and their running back is very good and you're going to have to find a way to stop them, and they're going to run downhill, they're going to pull guys, tight ends, fullbacks. They're going to hit some play action off of it, and they do a very good job of it. Obviously it's better for them when they can control the ball and have a lead and not have to do things that they don't want to do as much, which is throwing it a ton. They want to run the ball and run play action off of it and drop back on 3rd down if they have to.

So it's important once again that that's what we try to do, see if we can get a lead. When we do, it has helped us tremendously with where we're at, so we've got to find a way to do that, but they're up front and running back is about as good as it gets.

Q. Are you getting away from the running game, your own running game too early in a game? Do you feel like you need to take a few more shots with the running game?
JEFF BROHM: Well, you know, it can go either way. I know this past game by the time we got the ball, I think they had already ran off nine minutes of the clock, and you want to make sure you take advantage of precious opportunities, and I knew at the pace they were going, they were going to limit the amount of plays. If you run the ball on 1st and 2nd down and you don't get yards, you're stuck in a tough situation.

We have erred lately on being more aggressive. Would we like to have complete balance? Yeah, that would be great, but we've erred on being aggressive and taking some chances. We weren't able to hit some of these for a lot of reasons in the past game. Yes, it did hurt us. I don't know if running the ball would have been the answer. I just think we need to be more efficient in what we're doing, but yes, we'd like to set up the run by passing the ball and opening up some things, and we just weren't very good at a lot of things on Saturday.

Q. This is going to be David Blough's last game at Ross-Ade. In your two years with him, I'm sure you've noticed he's a very emotional player, so how do you not let him get caught up in that type of emotion immediately before game like this, one; and two, there's been -- I've heard a lot of talk about David potentially as a coach later on in life, and I'm wondering if there was ever an opening on your staff, whether it's student, graduate assistant, would that be something you would consider?
JEFF BROHM: Well, David is a special young man, and we want him to enjoy his senior day. He's earned the right. He's fought and bled and sweat and teared up for this team and put his body on the line, and he came back this year to try to help us win, and he's done a great job, and I think this moment will be special for him. I want him to enjoy the moment with his family and friends, and he's earned every right to do that.

Now, he understands we've got a game to play and a tough opponent and he's got to play well, and he's got to be very sharp and at the top of his game.

As far as after his playing career, yeah, he'd be a great coach. He's very smart. He takes a lot of pride in doing the right thing, and he's been nothing but a perfect example of a student-athlete for us, and I think the sky's the limit whatever he wants to do.

Q. You've had some great crowds in Ross-Ade this season. With one final home game and the conditions being what they are in mid-November, what's your message for the fans?
JEFF BROHM: Well, we're thankful for the fans and the fact that they've turned out this year. We've been able to provide some special moments and enjoy it with them, and it's been a lot of fun. And definitely our players appreciate when they look up there and they see not only the fans -- stands full but the fans into it, and we've had some special moments. So yeah, we'd like to try to end this thing on a special note. But we've got a tough team, and we're going to have to do a lot of things right. Sure, it would be great if our fans came out and supported our seniors and enjoyed the fight with us, and hopefully our guys show up with a great attitude and willing to play as hard as we can for 60 minutes and understand that we're playing not only for ourselves and our teammates and the man upstairs but the people in the stands that are part of it. Normally when that happens and it all comes together, it can be a special night. That's what we're hopeful we can try to do, but we've got to work hard this week, do all the small things to get ready and play very good football in order to get that done.

Q. Not to harp on the Louisville stuff, but this goes back a while now, you've remained pretty popular there I think as a former player. When you hear the speculation and all the questions you get, is there a part of you that appreciates the fact that you are so fondly thought of in your hometown?
JEFF BROHM: Well, when it comes to my hometown, that's where I'm from, that's where I grew up and where I played, I took a lot of pride in doing my part. There are a lot of special people there that we still have relationships with. My family is there. I want the program to succeed and do well, but right now I'm happy where I'm at, and I've got a job to do. I love the players that we have, and we've got to work hard this week to win. I hear you loud and clear, but this is the job that I want to work hard at doing, and this is an important week for us.

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