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Purdue Football: The Jeff Brohm Question

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I got a chance to interview another knowledgeable Boilermaker on his opinion.

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Purdue
Stay forever please.
Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

We all know the question.

Will he stay or will he go?

This week, I got the opportunity to do a short Q&A with Doug Griffiths. If you do not know who he is, you should give him a follow on Twitter, @DougGriffMax983. He now is Activities director for The Zone for 98.3 FM, helping cover sports.

Doug was once the editor for Gold and Black Illustrated, most of us know this as GoldandBlack.com. Doug loves Purdue and is knowledgeable, so, I reached out and he didn’t hesitate to answer my questions I had over our situation.

Q1: Obviously, we know that Jeff Brohm will be a top target for Louisville. What chance do you give them to actually pull away our head football coach?

A1: I really do not believe Louisville will be able to steal Brohm away from Purdue. I think he stays in Boilermaker Country and no I’m drinking the Kool-Aid.

Sure, Louisville will reach out to favorite son Brohm and likely already has (or at least the program’s handlers have) and offer him the job. It’s a no-brainer and because of his legendary status in the Bluegrass State and as a Cardinal, Brohm is THE only candidate for the job until he publicly says, “No.”

For all the Boilermaker fans freaking out right now (and I admit, at times I’m one of them), Brohm will listen to his alma mater. Can you blame him? He should just like he did when Tennessee came calling a year ago.

However, when he analyzes everything and he will thoroughly, I’m pretty confident he will break the hearts of the Cardinal faithful and remain in West Lafayette.

With that said, the Brohm saga will not come to a conclusion until shortly after the Bucket game.

Until then, there will be tons of speculation as there already has. The Louisville media will spin it as it’s a done deal and report that the Ville won’t whiff on landing its clear-cut No. 1 choice. I’d be surprised if you didn’t see a report that sites a source saying the deal is done and Brohm will be the next Louisville coach. DON’T BELIEVE ANY OF THOSE REPORTS! Until you hear Brohm say he’s bolting try not to fret all the speculative reporting (and you’ll get a bevy of it in the coming days).

Many of you might be thinking, ‘Why would Brohm stay at Purdue and turn down his school?”

I think a lot of it comes down to timing.

Brohm has established himself as an offensive genius and his stock has sky-rocketed in just a few short years. He’s too good of an offensive mind to think he won’t continue to be coveted each and every year by college programs nationwide. Soon, too, the NFL will be calling.

This guy is such a good coach that he can now have the Louisville job any time he wants it. That’s simply not going to change anytime soon.

Plus, ask yourself, ‘Does your gut tell you that Brohm wants to start all over again after doing just that 15 months ago at Purdue?’

Coaches thrive at doing what few think they can. Brohm was told by many not to take the Purdue job. He did. Why? He wanted a huge challenge and wanted to prove that he could resurrect a program that was one of the worst in the Power 5.

Not only did he do the unthinkable in Year 1, but he has followed that up with three wins over top 25 teams this season, including a drubbing of Ohio State on national TV that will be remember forever in Purdue folklore.

Furthermore, Brohm and his coaching staff have assembled a 2018 recruiting class that without question is one of the very best the program has EVER assembled, certainly since the advent of recruiting rankings. It is unfathomable to consider Brohm and Co. have recruits coming into the program that turned down legit offers from the likes of Bama, Ohio State, Michigan and other powerhouses. Purdue has NEVER won as many recruiting battles over the blue bloods of college football as Brohm has. It’s simply remarkable to consider the job he has done in recruiting.

In two short years, Brohm has proven he can win at Purdue and win big. Certainly those that follow Big Ten football have come to realize that and you know they’re terrified of the thought of Brohm actually fielding a team of all of his recruits.

Finally, I take Brohm at his word. Earlier this season he somewhat surprised outsiders by saying people don’t realize how good it is at Purdue. I know he likes it in West Lafayette and likes it a lot. What’s not to like? As good and surprising as 2017 was, this year has been pretty special when you consider this team was left for dead at 0-3 and then went out and dominated a ranked Boston College team, took to the road to win two in a row, had one of the program’s greatest victories of all time against the Buckeyes and nipped ranked Iowa with a last-second field goal causing the second field storming of the season.

Brohm isn’t soon to forget the memories his team has created in 2017 and 2018 and you know he’s thinking, ‘If I’ve taken this program this far this fast, what heights might it reach in two or three years?’ It’s pretty scary thinking where Purdue’s program will be in 2020 and 2021 under Brohm’s guidance.

Q2: Do you believe that Louisville is a step up or down when looking at it for a college football job? Why?

A2: Without question it’s a step down. After all just look at this week’s power rankings of the Power 5 according to ESPN. SEC No. 1, Big Ten No. 2 ... ACC No. 5 even with Clemson.

Big Ten football is pretty special, period. The tradition, attendance, Big Ten Network and many other factors make it arguably the premier conference in college football.

The ACC is a basketball conference. Always has been and always will be just like it is at the University of Louisville.

Interestingly enough, you haven’t seen much if anything said about comparing Brohm’s road to a conference title game at Purdue versus what his path would be at Louisville. Coaching a team in the Big Ten West versus the ACC Atlantic. No comparison. At Purdue, Brohm has to beat Northwestern, Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska. At Louisville, he’d have to tackle Clemson and Florida State. Good luck with that.

Brohm is a Midwest guy and the Big Ten is King of the Midwest. He is in a great position to have a lot of success at Purdue.

With Louisville being “Home” for Coach Brohm is there anything Purdue can really do to try and persuade him to stay if it appears as if he is going to leave?

Earlier this week, Brohm said Louisville was NOT his dream job. I believe him, and if it’s not, he’s not going there ... at least not now.

Still, I assure you Purdue athletic director Mike Bobinski is doing his due diligence to sweeten the pot for Brohm. I don’t mean that necessarily as some type of big raise either although that wouldn’t hurt Purdue’s chances of keeping him now and in the near future.

I have to admit, it bothers me that Illinoispays Lovie Smith $5 million per year and Brohm makes $3.8 million.

But Purdue is light years ahead of where it was under Morgan Burke’s leadership. It’s now finally paying its football and basketball coaches a competitive salary (remember before 2012 Purdue was the only Big Ten school that didn’t pay its football coach at least $1 million per season). Plus, the school has significantly increased the salaries of its assistant coaches and lengthened their contracts. It’s amazing Purdue kept any assistant coaches from leaving a few years back considering they were only given one-year deals (no, that’s not a typo).

Brohm knows Purdue and Bobinski are fully committed to football. His office is in the barely one-year old $65 million Football Performance Complex. Ross-Ade Stadium finally has permanent lights and got a new sound system prior to this season. Awesome video boards will be installed this off-season and on the drawing board is plans to enclose the south end of the stadium, a project that will probably cost north of $100 million.

To really boost things, the university finally is no longer taking a cut of the Big Ten Network revenues (Purdue was the only school where the athletic department didn’t get 100 percent of those funds).

Bobinski and Mitch Daniels get it. They know what a winning football program means to the university. Three years ago Ross-Ade was half full. Now, we’re on the verge of the third straight sellout. It doesn’t take a world-reknown mathematician to figure out how much more revenue is being generated now. Also, when people are excited about football, John Purdue Club memberships rise and so do the contributions. The same is true about general students applying to the university. More applications come in during years where the football team is exciting and winning.

Thank you Jeff Brohm! Yes, he has completely reversed the culture at Purdue and his value to the school is priceless.

Q3: Having gone through this process before with Painter, Brohm, and maybe even Keady and Tiller can we trust anything that anyone says?

A3: Not really, but you ask a good question.

The media had Painter heading for Missouri, proving yet again not to believe everything you read, and just about everyone thought Keady was gone for Arizona State in 1988-89 and then to San Francisco in the early 2000s.

Painter had every right to leave since his alma mater wasn’t as committed to the basketball program as it should’ve been. He wasn’t upset at his salary. Instead Painter was tired of losing assistant coaches to program’s that were a considerable step down from Purdue. Those days are long gone though under Bobinski.

Keady stayed because he genuinely loved Purdue and the people around the program.

Only Brohm’s inner circle knows exactly what the coach is thinking.

I just don’t think he’s the kind of coach that would up and leave after two short seasons even with his alma mater beating down his door.

Q4: From his press conference today, Coach Brohm was quoted saying, “It’s important for me to not comment on any speculation. Right now, I have a job to do. … I’m going to stay focused on that. I’m very appreciative of the job I have right now.” Can we read into this at all? What is your opinion on this quote?

A4: I have to admit, those comments were somewhat bothersome.

Why didn’t he just come out and say, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’ to Louisville’s courtship?

But again, this is a school where he made a name for himself in a state that he and his family have thrived on the gridiron and are beloved. He’s obligated to at the very least listen to what Louisville’s sales pitch is.

I’ve heard from a number of people that Brohm believes when other schools come after you, it’s good for recruiting. It gives your program notoriety, keeps it in the news. You would think opposing coaches would negatively recruit against Purdue using Brohm’s flirtation with other jobs against him. So far, though, it looks like Brohm knows what he’s doing. After all, the Boilermakers’ recruiting fortunes are as rich as ever this year.

Q5: If Coach Brohm does decide to leave, who would be a couple of replacements you would be interested in?

A5: The fact is Purdue’s program would be set back years if Brohm leaves.

Recruits would de-commit, current players would transfer, season-ticket sales would plummet and overall interest in the program would sink quickly.

People would have to be realistic, too, about who Purdue could really get to replace Brohm and whether that person would energize the fan base.

None of the names out there excite me.

The new coach (I hate even writing that) would have to have a gimmick offense. That’s what it takes to win at Purdue. See Jim Young, Joe Tiller and Brohm.

Put someone like Syracuse’s Dino Babers on the list. Babers was on Jim Colletto’s staff and even nicknamed his second daughter, Tasha, Buckethead because she was born on the day of the 1992 Old Oaken Bucket game. His Orange are rolling this year.

Troy head coach Neal Brown would be another interesting candidate. He guided his team to a shocking win at LSU last season and in 2016 nearly beat eventual national champion Clemson. Troy is 8-2 this season.

The fact is this program doesn’t need another coaching change. Somehow, someway Purdue’s powers-that-be have to do what many think is impossible and make the Purdue football head coaching job a destination job instead of what it’s perceived.

Brohm snubbing his alma mater would go a long way in telling the nation that things at Purdue have definitely changed big time for the better and that at least for him and for the time being, being the head coach of the Boilermaker program is in fact a destination job.

I would like to thank Doug for taking time out of his day to answer the questions I had over our current situation. Again, if you want quality Purdue information, follow Doug on Twitter at DougGriffMAX983.

Thank you, Doug!