After a disappointing loss by Purdue there was no rest for the weary as the team must now prepare for Saturday’s upcoming game against Eastern Michigan. Jeff Brohm stepped to the microphone today with his thoughts on both games. Let’s hit some highlights shall we?
Brohm’s opening statement:
We’re looking forward to getting back on the field Saturday. This weekend was a loss that stung us. It should. It was disappointing. I know our guys are a little bit angry, which they should be. We have a lot of work to do. Without question we need to get better in a lot of ways.
Definitely helped us identify where our weaknesses are, where we need to improve. We’re going to work hard every day to improve that, go back to work.
We’re playing an Eastern Michigan team that plays good football. They won their game big last week. Last year they beat Rutgers at Rutgers. We lost to Rutgers at Rutgers. This team is capable of beating anybody. With our team, if we don’t play well, we’re definitely capable of losing to anybody. We have to concentrate, refocus, come out and play extremely hard, find a way to win.
Injury update on Simeon Smiley:
Yeah, Smiley had a freak deal where he collided actually with one of our players going across the middle. I believe he actually has a visor, as well, either hand got stuck underneath his helmet or his helmet pushed it. A couple lacerations on top of his eye, had to get that stitched up. May have been slightly concussed as well. We’ll take that day by day.
On the play of the secondary:
Well, I think our secondary for the most part played an average game. I think that our tackling was suspect in the first half in the secondary. That was probably the most disappointing about the secondary was the tackling.
As far as other than a blown coverage once or twice, I think for the most part our secondary played okay. We have to get better there, a little bit tighter in our zone coverages, challenge some routes, throws behind the line of scrimmage, which wasn’t all in the secondary. We have to have linebackers expand out for that when it happens. That did not take place.
It looked like we were a little soft in the secondary, when at the same time the inside backers have to be able to expand when things happen and balls are thrown by the line of scrimmage. That wasn’t happening early on.
About THAT penalty:
To be honest with you, still feel the flag at that point of the game -- according to the ref, he told me he thought our player body slammed him. I did not see a body slam. If that’s what he’s calling it, I don’t agree with that.
Did we go a little beyond the whistle? We probably did. We are trying to strip the ball at that point in the game. I think Lorenzo tried to strip, kind of turned and flung the guy around, trying to get the ball, which the ball did come out. I can see why it was called. Doesn’t mean I agree with it.
The plan for QB and QB evaluation:
I think both quarterbacks are going to play in the game, I can tell you that for sure. Then we’ll decide who starts towards the end of the week. Both will play meaningful minutes.
I’m disappointed, Elijah is disappointed in himself. He’s taking it hard. He’s going to work hard to improve. Really it’s forcing plays. Sometimes he threw the ball well. He does give us a vertical threat, can throw the ball up the field. Has to know when things aren’t covered, you can’t throw it. I think if he does that, his play really could be outstanding, be effective.
But we knew going into the game we had to beat them at their own game, which was playing harder, which we didn’t do. Not turn the ball over, which they did not, we did. It affected the outcome.
You have to understand that every pass we design may not be able to get out super quickly, have to take a few shots up the field. When they cover, you have to throw it away, run it or take a sack. You can’t throw it to the other team.
Two of the interceptions I’m extremely disappointed in. The other one, the guy made a good play. Still, you’d like to be able to see that and that throw it where only we can catch it. He’ll learn from it.
I think David came in, gave us a spark. Make a few more plays with his feet, savvy, moxy in there, does a decent job.
Still like to be able to throw the ball up the field and see things. We just got to continue to work at it. It wasn’t efficient play at that position. We got to get better at it.
On Rondale Moore:
Rondale did a great job. Like I said, I knew he can be a special player. We want to make sure we don’t give him too much. I think he performed outstanding the first half. Second half we couldn’t get him the ball as much. We’ll continue to utilize him. At the same time we have to make sure we utilize the others. He definitely showed what he can do on the playing field.
Offensive line eval:
I think you’ll see more guys play this Saturday as far as the offensive line. In general, it was better than we performed up front. A lot of times in the run game it was just an extra apex guy we couldn’t get that was making the play.
Passing game, we were fairly decent when we had to push it up the field. At times we got beat around the edge. That we’ve got to get better at as the wide and rushing along the edge.
I think they did improve. That’s something we can grow upon. Do we need to find ways to throw the ball vertically and protect longer at times? Yes, we do. As far as knowing what to do, at least trying to be physical and playing hard, I thought they did that.
On the margin for error and the 2018 season schedule:
Well, I think we have a very good schedule this year. I think based on what I saw the first game, we’ve got to play a whole lot better. The defensive side of the ball, we have to get the front seven to play a whole lot better and to play a whole lot harder, to be much more effective and disruptive, play with tremendous energy and toughness. That has to happen. We have to tackle better in the secondary. We got to be able to do things on defense, know guys are going to go hard, be able to come off the ball and figure out a way to create penetration.
On the offensive side of the ball, I think we can do some things. But we can’t beat ourselves. We’re not going to beat the teams on our schedule if we have turned the ball over three times and they have not. It’s not going to happen. We cannot do that.
I think if you look at the last three games we won, against Iowa, Indiana, the bowl game, we didn’t win by a whole lot. We won those battles. We don’t win those battles, we don’t win those games.
Right now overall we don’t have the experience we had last year, so the margin for error is less. We’ve got to concentrate on the small things, play extremely hard, play for 60 minutes, play to win, but at the same time we have to win the turnover battle, we have to play harder than the other team.
First Impression of EMU and specifically the QB:
They had a good first game. Scored a lot of points. He’s a big guy that will stand in there, throw it. We have to find ways really to get after the quarterback, put some pressure on him, not let him stand there all day and let him throw it. That will be the challenge.
Anything pressure-wise we can do, that has to happen, line movement has to happen. We have to have more intensity up front from everybody that’s in there. It’s going to be important to affect the quarterback, not give him all day to throw because I don’t care who you have in there, who is in the secondary, you’re going to complete balls if you’re not able to affect the quarterback.