Can I be real a second? For just a millisecond? Let my guard down and tell the people how I feel a second?
What does new Purdue head football coach Jeff Brohm need to turn his attention to now that he’s got a job? I’ve got a couple of ideas for what he needs to do and where he needs to go. These are only my thoughts so if you have your own please feel free to share them below.
- Recruit, recruit, recruit. I don’t think it’s Earth shattering news that Purdue has struggled on the recruiting trail as of late. It showed in the second half of games at the end of the year as the team was outgunned, outmanned, outnumbered, outplanned. This team needs all the help they can get. In my opinion Brohm needs to focus on grabbing some JUCO players specifically on the offensive and defensive lines. There are holes elsewhere on this team but those are the two most glaring. It all starts up front with football and right now Purdue is struggling mightily at these key positions. After hitting up the JUCO squads Brohm has to get into the big Indiana high school football schools and build relationships and build them fast. Get to know the coaches, get to know the assistants, or whoever the power players in the school are. He needs to know them and be ready to listen to them unlike some other folks...
- He can’t be everywhere at once, he’s in dire need of some assistance. Purdue is reported to have a pool of $3.5 million to hire his assistants and coordinators. With some of the guys coming over from WKU you would think they are coming at a bit of a bargain in comparison. With that extra money tucked away Brohm needs to get a DC and a defensive staff who can whip this team into shape. I don’t know or care who it is. I don’t care if they guy comes from Wyoming, Maryland, Texas, Alaska, or some high school somewhere as long as he can coach. Everyone wants a big name but a name can’t coach the players. We need someone who can scheme for a defense that has struggled mightily especially on third downs.
- Go into the Lafayette and West Lafayette community and build relationships. I know this seems like a tedious job for a football coach but perhaps more than managing the football program the coach is the face of the team. In order for Purdue to sell tickets and get back to a full or even semi-full Ross-Ade Stadium (Side note, are we still calling it the Furnace or is that dead? I assume it’s dead.) Purdue needs buy in from the local community. For whatever reason the Lafayette community seems to be a bit distant from Purdue and I’ve never fully understood why. Some good old fashioned glad-handing could be a good way to repair that divide and put some butts in seats.
- Get to know the players and personnel that you’ve inherited. After the hire of Hazell the last go around he continued to coach Kent State in their bowl game and ultimately came to Purdue later, and further behind, than was necessary. I understand the draw to coach the bowl game since it’s your team and you made a commitment to them but the world is a tough place and sometimes choices have to be made. Brohm has decided to forego coaching WKU in their bowl game and I applaud that. This gives him time to fully process what the team’s greatest needs are for next year and to see if he can scheme around flaws on offense or if he needs to rush out and get a JUCO lineman or some other position. As they say, knowledge is power.
- Perhaps the hardest part about going into a head coaching position at a school is dealing with the new players that you didn’t recruit and frankly you may not want. I’m sure there are plenty of players on this team who Brohm has no use for, as harsh as that sounds. I’m not advocating a fire sale of players but I am saying Brohm needs to figure out who is on board and who isn’t. Anyone who wants to bust their ass under this new regime and have a positive attitude is welcome to stay, but those who want to pout and half ass the work should be politely shown the door and given every advantage to find a destination that better suits their attitude. I know that’s a horrible thing to say and I don’t normally advocate it but it seems clear with the transition from Hope to Hazell some players should’ve been brushed out the door but since they weren’t it caused some dissension in the ranks. Purdue needs to avoid this at all costs. It’s an unfortunate situation but it’s where the world of P5 football is these days.
You might look at this list and say well of course these are the things that he needs to do but then perhaps ask yourself this, how much of this did Hazell do right away? He of course coached Kent State in the bowl game, he was slow to meet his new players, filled out his coaching staff with guys like John Shoop, and didn’t drop any of the dead weight from the team. If Brohm can accomplish all of these tasks I will be excited for the future of Purdue football. The 2017 schedule is a nightmare but it’s possible Purdue football has begun to claw itself out of the hole it dug. Only time will tell. So, Coach Brohm, I look forward to seeing your strategy play out.