Today’s press conference was anything but ordinary as both Athletics Director Mike Bobinski and Head Coach Jeff Brohm were available for questions. Bobinski started the session off by talking about this year not being a “linear progression” and that things have certainly changed in the last day and a half in reference to Coach Brohm’s positive Covid test. He stressed that the health and safety of everyone in the department including athletes and staff was his number one priority. He went in depth about the testing regime that the Big Ten has mandated and that Purdue has followed since September 30th. This was quite interesting so I think it’s worth quoting in full:
[B]eginning on September 30th we’ve done our daily testing and had, to this point, very favorable results, and without getting into things that we can’t or shouldn’t share publicly, just for purposes of letting folks know, we have had zero student-athlete positives through that entire period of time. No one has — none of our athletes have had a positive antigen test to this point, and that’s a really, really good thing, and that’s a testament to the daily protocols and the attention to detail and the cautious way that they’re going about doing their business, both in our facilities and away from our facilities. That’s not to be taken for granted these days, and we appreciate that. There’s no guarantee that that will be the season-long condition, but it’s our current condition, and we’re hopeful that we stay there.
That to me is huge news. When Purdue initially released data on their infections they weren’t sorting it out by athlete versus staff only that X number of people had tested positive. To have zero athletes test positive at this point is extremely encouraging and I hope Bobinski and the entire department can keep it up.
In Coach Brohm’s opening statement he confirmed that he had the virus saying it was “not ideal” but continued (more or less) by saying that 2020 is the way it is and we just have to do our best. Coach Brohm also confirmed that he does have symptoms of the virus including cold chills, sweating, body aches, and being abnormally tired and exhausted in the days prior to the positive test. This leads me to believe it’s possible he had the virus for a few days prior to Sunday which could complicate the contact tracing and perhaps isolation of other athletes or staff. Brohm addressed the contact tracing issue by noting his hope that when it “comes to contact tracing, a lot of this daily testing has been put in to try to help eliminate some of the contact tracing within our building.” The hope is that these daily tests will be able to catch the virus with enough time to prevent a widespread infection in the locker room.
Despite his own positive test Brohm remains “very confident” that the conference will be able to play eight games in eight weeks. He pointed to the detailed medical procedures set up by the conference as evidence of the seriousness of the conference.
Despite asking “numerous questions” about the protocols and scenarios of him being on the sidelines or in a box or booth for Saturday’s game at this point Brohm believes he will not be able to be there. Given this situation Coach Jeff Brohm confirmed that his brother Coach Brian Brohm will be acting as head coach and will be calling the plays for the game against Iowa. Bobinski confirmed that the conference is away of the situation and that there was continuing exploration of ways to get Jeff Brohm on the sideline for Saturday.
There wasn’t a whole lot of player news except to note that the starting QB has been chosen but that won’t be announced until game day and that yes it is always possible that the team plays two quarterbacks. Yay? I guess?