Things went well against Nevada. Until they didn’t, and then they went very very badly. As you know by now Purdue lost to Nevada to start the season off 0-1 under Coach Brohm for the third straight season. Coach had his weekly press conference on Monday so let’s try to cut through the coach speak and see if anything of substance was said shall we?
Q. Aside from just playing hard for 60 minutes, finishing, personnel-wise, what are some of your biggest concerns coming out of the game?JEFF BROHM: I think when you look at the game, on the offensive side of the ball, we moved the ball pretty well and had some yards. We weren’t great in the running game. I don’t know if we’re going to be great at the point of attack at some positions, but we’ve got to get better at that. We have to establish that, take a little bit of pressure off the passing game. I think Elijah played extremely well unlit late in the game. Of course, the turnovers are what killed us. Two throws he just shouldn’t make. Third-and-10, escaping the pocket, you have to go underneath, trying to move the chains, see if we can pick up some positive yardage to have a possible chance at a field goal. The disappointing thing is he did a lot of really good things, but the two interceptions were really bad decisions. Those things can’t happen. I think on the defensive side of the ball, for two and a half almost three quarters we played pretty good football. Complete bust in coverage on the first touchdown, let the guy run wide open, which is disappointing. They threw a contested fade for the second touchdown. Really the game is 31-14. They’re punting to us. We have a turnover that gets them the ball back where we could easily have taken that ball and tried to have done something with it, possibly close the game, put an even more differential point margin. The tide swing from there. We didn’t get stops in the fourth quarter. The pass-rushing lanes were too big. The ability to scramble up the middle and buy time, was disappointing to see that. We had a few more busts in coverage in the secondary and with our linebackers in the fourth quarter. Really not to get a stop in the last three possessions, they had the ball, they scored points, was very disappointing to see. There’s a lot of work to be done. We have to fix the mistakes we made and be men about it. As coaches, with myself on down, we’ve got to coach better and make sure that we can get our guys to play efficient, hard-nosed football the entire game.
On running backs:
I think Zander did some good things. Wasn’t as sharp in protection as we’d like him to be. A couple of times running the ball, bounced the ball out when there were some holes he should have followed in. King will be a very good player. All true freshmen are going to have some mistakes. Takes a while to get adjusted. We would like to get King a few carries in the game. I think he can do some things for us. To ask him to be able to do a whole lot I think is a little unfair to him. We have to make sure we manage what we give him, we’re on top of that. But I do think he needs to touch the football. The depth there is young, but they need to start to get on the field and play some.
Here’s the question we all wanted to know, why was Holt in the box?
Well, I think looking at the way we finished last year was not the way we wanted to finish. I think from a defensive coordinator, offensive coordinator standpoint, I know for myself, if I wasn’t the head coach, I would be up in the booth. You can see the field, what’s going on, identify things. In between series, you can have your notes and your sheets right in front of you. It’s much easier to call a game, in my opinion, upstairs just from a sight standpoint, ability to see personnel, match the teams coming in, realize mistakes. I thought we needed to make sure we were on top of that and had good vision, have everything in front of him so he can see things and be aware of exactly what’s going on due to the sight line. For me, calling plays on the sideline, it’s more of a feel thing. It is beneficial to be able to see the field and know what’s going on.
On the rotation, specifically defensive line:
When I look back on both sides of the ball, definitely on the defensive line, even at linebacker a little bit, we need to rotate our guys and play more, make sure that we’re fresh in the fourth quarter. What sometimes happens is you get in a thing where you think you’re playing well, things are going well, you don’t want to change it up either. I think that probably happened a little bit with us where early on we were playing well, we were getting stops, we were doing a very good job on defense. You don’t want to disrupt what’s going on. You have to be able to balance those two as much as you can. That’s probably why the rotation wasn’t as much as we probably wanted going in because things were going well, the defense was playing well really, like I said, two and a half quarters until, other than the one bust in the coverage. It gets to a point where you’re trying to hold on, you want to play guys that have been in there. In general, yes, we would like to rotate more on the defensive line, make sure that we have the ability to play more guys is always the goal. But in every game, little tougher to get that done. We have to make sure we work hard to get that done.
On what happened to the offense in the 4th quarter, aside from turnovers:
The run game, certain spots we didn’t knock people back very much. We had some penetration. Towards the end of the game they started to come after us a little bit more. We struggled at certain spots that were young guys that hadn’t played a whole lot. In general, they played good enough for us to win. They need to continue to get better. I thought that for the first game, the five we played gave us good effort, executed at a decent level. While there’s plenty of room for improvement, we just got to work hard at getting better. We’re going to face much better defenses throughout the course of the season, so we’re going to have to be ready for the challenge.
Why did Sindelar run it so much?
This year we do want to at least have a threat. I think it’s important there’s at least a threat of the quarterback running the football. Really we got some good gains on the quarterback runs we called. Wasn’t much more than a quarterback draw with a lead blocker. When you sometimes get on that, in the running game their linebackers plugged the holes quick, and it came downhill. You have to be able to meet them in the hole and knock them back, not just meet them in the hole. What we were getting with the quarterback draw, the linebackers were dropping, we were getting much more space to run. We told Elijah, You run as hard as you can, get down to the last minute, but don’t not run hard because that’s when you do get hurt.