What a day it was yesterday. The Bucket, after years of exile, has returned to it’s home, where it belongs, where it could stay for a long time too. Not only getting the bucket back, but we are now bowl eligible for the first time since 2012, Danny Hope’s last season as head coach.
But, back to where my story is headed. Jeff Brohm should be the B1G Coach of the Year and it really isn’t that close.
In four years under Darrell Hazell, Purdue won 9 games. Brohm won 2⁄3 of that this season with the roster that Hazell created. So how did he do this?
Well, he adjusted to what he had. At Western Kentucky, Coach Brohm had one of the highest scoring offenses in the nation, all three years he was there, averaging over 30 points per game. When he was hired, he looked at our offensive roster and probably though, “Oh Crap, where are the offensive weapons?” He went in right away trying to bring in playmakers such as Isaac Zico and Terry Wright. He also brought in Notre Dame transfer, Corey Holmes, that left mid-season. He brought in offensive line help in Dave Steinmetz and Shane Evans, both were starters all year.
He made adjustments, that is half the battle of coaching, changing to what you got. You think an offensive minded guy like him doesn’t want to pepper the ball all over the field and score 35 points per game? He does, he just knows we don’t have the dudes to do that yet.
Offensively, we averaged 24 points per game, good for 97th out of 130 FBS schools. I am sure Coach Brohm wants that to be closer to 34 points per game, we will get there, no worries.
Remember when I said he wants to pepper the ball all over the field? We can’t do that. Both Elijah Sindelar and David Blough were game managers this year, neither blew your socks off, but Coach Brohm knows that this year, neither could. They are learning his system still and that takes a while. So, he looked at the running backs, a stable of backs that include: Markell Jones, Richie Worship, Tario Fuller, D.J. Knox and Brian Lankford-Johnson, he decided he was going to run the ball.
He wants to be a pass first offense, explosive plays all over the field. But of 806 offensive plays, we had 404 passes to 402 runs, basically 50/50. But he had to do this, there was no other way.
He also knew he had great defensive pieces coming back. Gelen Robinson, Ja’whaun Bentley, Danny E, T.J. McCollum (grad transfer), Da’Wan Hunte and Eddy Wilson. He knew that with their scheme they would be able to keep us in games. He and Nick Holt put a defense together that was top 20 in the nation in scoring, 19th of 130 teams, allowing only 19.3 points per game. Just amazing. Nick Holt is the perfect kind of crazy for this defense.
In 4 years, Darrell Hazell had 5 FBS wins, 3 B1G wins, 0 bowls and was 0-4 against IU.
In one football season, Jeff Brohm had 6 FBS wins, 4 B1G wins, 1 bowl birth and 1-0 vs IU.
Now let’s take a look at the recruiting class, so the players Coach Brohm did this with this season.
2013 Class - 56th in the nation (Mostly Hope recruits)
2014 Class - 71st in the nation
2015 Class - 68th in the nation
2016 Class - 73rd in the nation
2017 Class (Brohm 1st class, but mostly Hazell guys) - 68th in the nation
Where does Jeff Brohm’s 2018 class stand you ask? As of now, it sits at 37th in the nation with 23 verbals already.
What I am saying is, Coach Brohm and his staff made lemonade without lemons. They did the unthinkable, Vegas had us at 2.5 wins for the over/under before the year. Most fans said they would be happy with 3 wins with this roster. No one expected this, but this is what we got.
Yes, the easy pick for B1G Coach of the Year is Paul Chryst from Wisconsin. Undefeated, one win away from a final four birth, I get it. But all I am saying to the voters is, look at this 6-6 Head Football Coach in West Lafayette, who just made lemonade without lemons.