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December 4, 2022

Jeff Brohm

Orlando, Florida, USA

Camping World Stadium

Purdue Boilermakers

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for joining us this evening, or should I say, this afternoon. We'll start with Coach Brohm who looks like he's on there.

Welcome, Coach. Congratulations on a great season and the Big Ten West Division Championship. We're excited to welcome you to Orlando in a couple of weeks. Obviously you've been here before as a player but excited to have you back down here. We'll let you start off with an opening and statement.

JEFF BROHM: We're definitely excited to get down to the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida and play in a prestigious Bowl game against a very, very high-quality opponent in LSU.

I know our team has worked really hard to try to improve this year and win football games and try to compete at the highest level, and I think we have made strides as the season has gone on, and at times played some good football and learned a lot along the way.

But any time you get a chance to play a high-caliber opponent like LSU that's played a lot of really good football this year, down in Florida, I think our fans will be excited. Our players are really fired up, and we are looking forward to getting down there.

Q. First off, what would it mean to compete against a coach like Brian Kelly and to be able to go up and call against a coach of that caliber?

JEFF BROHM: Well, any time you play great opponents, it's exciting. It's a challenge for myself, our coaches and our team. We have had an opportunity to play a lot of really good football teams this year, and I think we have held our own at times. Other times, there's some things we need to improve upon and get better at. I know last year we had an opportunity to play against Tennessee in the Music City Bowl, and we were able to pull it out in the end. That was tremendous for our college.

Now we are playing a team that's really good every year. A ton of talent on the field. They are very well-coached. We know we are going to have to play our best game for four quarters to have a chance to win, and when you have to do that, it hopefully helps you prepare even harder and work even more in order to get that done. Otherwise, you're not going to come out with a win.

Q. A game like this puts a lot of spotlight on your team and a lot of good lessons for your players. What are you preaching to the guys to take in from this experience?

JEFF BROHM: Well, we were fortunate enough to play in the Big 10 Championship last night, and it was a great stage and great venue for our team to get the opportunity to play in itself, in the Lucas Oil Stadium, a championship-level game against an elite football team with a great crowd and I think our team learned a lot. I think we were able to play fairly well the first half and unfortunately the second half some things spiraled the other direction.

But the more games that you can play of that caliber, the better you're going to be. We feel like this is just like that, a high-caliber opponent that's won a lot of really good football games; they do every year. They have a ton of talent and they have played some really good football teams at times this year with some really, really big wins. We know it's going to be exactly the same as the Big Ten Championship where we have to bring our A-game in order to find a way to pull out a victory against this type of opponent.

Q. These two teams have never played before. Is there some intrigue? What's the reaction when you get to a Bowl game and face an opponent that the program has never played before?

JEFF BROHM: Well, our reaction to playing LSU is, you know, it's just a great opportunity. We are going to have to buckle the chin straps and work our rear end off just to have a chance to win. So I know that while we want to enjoy the Bowl festivities and the atmosphere, we have to put in a lot of work.

If you're not playing very, very well in all three segments, offense, defense, special teams are not really clicking, it can be a long day for us. So we are going to have to figure out a way to get a good plan together, match the intensity, try to be as physical as we can on our side of it, not make a lot of mistakes and find a way to make plays and get the touchdowns. So this just presents a really, really big challenge for our team, and a big hurdle that when you play a team of this caliber in the SEC, you've got to play your best football in order to win.

Q. I was curious, what's been the key to Aidan O'Connell's success this year?

JEFF BROHM: Well, Aidan has had a lot of success throughout his career. He started at the bottom as a walk-on. He just came in at the bottom of the depth chart. He's always been a great teammate, outstanding person. He has great faith in the Man upstairs and himself and his family and his teammates and he just works really hard.

I think he just took advantage of the opportunity when it came his way. I think the last half of the season last year through the bowl game, he played at a very, very high level. He's continued to make some really good players for us this year.

He just brings his A-game. I think we throw the football quite a bit. He has to play well in order for us to win. He understands that. He relishes the pressure of that, and he looks forward to it every week. I think any time that he steps on the field, we know we are going to get his best. His teammates know the same thing. I just think he's a competitor that has found ways to continue to improve and really doing a good job for us this year.

Q. Drew Brees obviously has meant a lot to the state of Louisiana, a legend down here. He always seems very proud of where he went to college and supportive. I've seen him give talks to your team over the years. What's it like to have him in your corner?

JEFF BROHM: Well, he's the best ambassador you can have, and he sets a great example in everything he does, on the field, off the field, obviously at Purdue, NFL ranks. He's given a whole lot to our program and university, not only just our football team.

But he's also supported our football team greatly. He's been to quite a few games each and every year, even when he was playing. I know there was one year I think he attended two of our games while his season was going on, which is more than rare. He's had the opportunity, and we've welcomed that to talk to our team and express his words of wisdom which have really helped, and he wants Purdue to be successful.

So I think he is a great person who has achieved a lot. He is proud of his Purdue background, and we want to make him proud, and that is by trying to overachieve and doing the best we can. Any time he can help us, we always look forward to that.

Q. What are the preparations like when you are not sure who the quarterback will be for the other team or preparing for two quarterbacks?

JEFF BROHM: LSU has a great roster itself, so we will have a lot of issues to deal with outside of the quarterback position. Both quarterbacks who played the last game performed very well. Jayden, of course, is a great athlete, can run around and make plays. Those guys are always hard to contain, especially for us. So we'll definitely have challenges there. And then when they brought in Nussmeier, did a really good job.

We have plenty of problems and issues to deal with outside of the quarterback position. But of course, you know, that's somebody you have to contain somehow.

So we are going to have to find a way to stop them from getting points, but I think they can do it a lot of ways: On the ground, in the air and with great defense.

So we have got our hands full. It's going to be -- a lot of preparation has to go into it in order for us to get into the game and feel confident that we have a chance to win.

Q. You were at Western Kentucky in 2015. Is that the only time you've faced LSU as a coach, and what are your memories?

JEFF BROHM: I think it is. I do remember it was a really, really rainy day. It rained hard a lot during the day, and even in pregame warm-ups. Even though there's a crowd on the field, it drains well. There was about an inch of rain on the field.

There were concerns. We were a passing team at the time. You know what, I know we hung with them for a while. We came out and threw the ball for quite a few yards for some touchdowns but actually, I think they threw the ball for a lot of yards that game when their running game was really strong with Leonard Fournette. The crowd wasn't in full effect because of the bad weather.

But just a really talented football team that could beat you a lot of ways and as soon as you think you can try to contain something, they bring out talent at a different position and find a way to make it work. Like I said, I just think overall talent on both sides of the ball and special teams, they have got athletes, they have got talented guys that look the part and play the part, and they are well-coached. So it's going to be a tough task for us.

Q. I didn't get to watch a lot of your team this year but saw a little bit yesterday. What do you feel like you hang your hat on offensively and defensively? Give us a little taste of what you guys have done for our audience here in Baton Rouge.

JEFF BROHM: I think we do try to throw the ball a little bit at Purdue. We've got a good, accurate quarterback who can get the ball out, pretty precise in passing the football. We have got a little better running the ball, but we have to continue to improve and get better at that.

I think we try to be creative on the offensive side and help our offense succeed and make plays.

Defensively we have gotten better. We've done some good things stopping the run. We need to get a little better stopping the pass and improve in that area as well. You know, our team plays hard, and they compete and we found ways to win some big games over the years. We've found ways to lose some games that we'd like to have back. But that's football.

I just know our guys at Purdue, they work hard, they compete. They have all got a chip on their shoulder. They are out to prove to people that they can play football as well and they work really hard.

I just think every week, whether we win or lose, we come back, we play hard, they give us everything they have and that's all we can ask.

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