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Jeff Brohm Press Conference - Maryland Week

What does the head man have to say?

NCAA Football: Purdue at Minnesota
“Hey Coach, do you like winning?”
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no rest for the weary in the Big Ten conference. Following a big win on the road at Minnesota Purdue barely has time to catch their breath before they are back on the road again, this time to Maryland. Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm spoke to the media yesterday regarding final thoughts from the game against Minnesota, the health of the football team, and preparations for the game against Maryland. Let’s check out some highlights shall we?

Stop me if you’ve heard this, but Purdue’s next opponent is “a very good football team” and so Purdue is gonna have “our hands full” against them.

Injury updates:

We are hopeful that Jalen Graham will be able to play this week, so we’ll see how this week progresses, but there is some optimism there. King, we won’t know until later in the week if he has a chance, and I would say it’s doubtful at this point.

I think Aidan held up pretty well for the most part other than normal soreness, so I expect him to just do as much as he can this week, that he feels comfortable with, and as we get to later in the week, hopefully he continues to progress.

But I’m optimistic.

Other than Charlies Jones what does the receiving corps need to do?

Well, I think Payne has done a good job. He can control the middle of the field. He’ll catch the ball in traffic. We need to continue to utilize him. He’s been our next best option to this point.

TJ Sheffield we’ve asked to do a lot. He’s played slot receiver, outside receiver. I think he’s got to continue to understand and know exactly what we’re doing and find a way to get open as fast as he can and gain trust from the quarterback.

I think Tyrone Tracy has to continue to work on his get off and bursting and running as hard as he can on every play and gaining trust in our quarterback, as well. Then when you look at Mershawn, he’s been nicked up here and there, and we want him to go harder and faster and come off the ball and explode.

I just think there’s a lot of small things that our young receivers need to continue to work through. They work hard. They give us great effort. We expect them to be great, and sometimes that takes time. So we’ve just got to continue to work through it. Those guys have worked hard, and I just think that as the season goes on, they’ve just got to compete, practice hard and get out there, and you never know when you have a big game.

On Cory Trice returning from last year’s injury:

I think this past week was the first week he didn’t wear his knee brace, which I thought he looked much more fluid and better. Could just be me saying that, but that’s what I thought. I did.

I think this past week we did a much better job of mixing things up on defense, mixing looks up and not having our corners on an island every play, and that’s going to be important moving forward, that you can’t ask your corners to play every snap on an island in single coverage, so we’ve got to continue to do a good job of studying that and making sure that we’re able to stop the run, but yet give our corners some help and a little bit of relief and let them play off.

I just think it’s been a combination of all those things. But Cory works hard. He wants to win. He’s a great competitor. And I think he can continue to improve as the year goes on, but he did a really good job this past game.

First thoughts on the Maryland offense:

This team will throw the ball. They like to throw the ball. That’s kind of what they like to do. They have a quarterback who’s accurate, who can run around and make plays. He plays just like his brother. Just can escape the pocket, can make plays with his feet, can buy time, and he can throw an accurate catchable ball. He’s played a lot of football, so he’s got good experience. He’s got quite a bit of weapons.

Their receiving attack is balanced. All those guys are catching about the same amount of balls, and they do a good job spreading that around.

We will have to prepare a little differently, without question, than for the last week, and we’ve got to make sure that we’re able to guard and defend. If you look at some of the games in the past, you’ve got to figure out enough ways to get more pressure on the quarterback than what we’ve seen lately, but yet some zone eyes and be able to read the quarterback and get some interceptions.

On Jacob Wahlberg’s improved play:

[H]e has good instincts, so he plays that middle linebacker position for us. He’s got good instincts. He’s got good length. He has kind of uncanny athleticism when it comes to just catching the ball and having a knack for getting your hands up and getting in the lane.

Because he gives great effort, he overcomes — maybe he’s not the fastest linebacker in the world. But he’ll tackle, he’ll hit, he’s coachable, and I think he’s done a really good job. We need him to continue to improve because Kieren Douglas had had some knee concerns and wasn’t able to play as much this past week, and we’ve got to continue to get Jacob ready to play even more.

On his play calling abilities and mixing in run versus pass versus what the defense gives you:

It’s a challenge. It’s definitely a challenge. But winning is the goal. I’ve got to do the best job I possibly can of making sure that you do have that patience. As the season progresses, we’re going to need it even more and more. If we can get better at running the ball, it can open up some things in the passing game.

But teams are playing the pass, and I would, as well. We have really, really talented receiver on the outside, an accurate passer. We’ve had the ability to throw up the field, and teams are playing us deeper. They’re being smart about it, and we have to be patient and we have to run the ball and we have to pass it in desirable looks and not just in every look.

That’s the challenge, but we have gotten a little bit better. We’ve just got to continue to work through it.

On Downing and Mockobee being both walk-ons and their play:

Well, both Dylan and Devin have worked really hard. They give great effort. They want to win. They’re hungry. Coach Barclay does a great job with them. We’ve had some injuries. So when you have injuries, you get an opportunity. They’ve been ready.

Dylan went through off-season surgery, as well, was out all spring, but in the course of it changed his body and came in in great shape. He’s done a really, really good job for us.

And then Devin, he’ll continue to get bigger and stronger and learn things as he goes. But he competes. He runs hard. He’s got some elusiveness to him. He’s slippery when he runs. He’s gotten better at catching the ball. He’s a competitor.

I just think that they have risen to the occasion when we’ve needed them, and we’ll continue to push them up on that. But both guys, we’re proud of what they’ve done to this point for us. Very proud of them.

What’s up with the crazy legs nickname for Mockobee?

I think that’s maybe what I call him. He just kind of — when he runs and cuts, you don’t know which direction he’s going. It sometimes looks like he’s double jointed in a couple of those areas. But you know what? He makes guys miss. He’s done a really good job.

Like I said, he can get a whole lot bigger and stronger and he will over the years, and he has a ways to go there, but it doesn’t faze him. He still runs hard. He runs through people. He has no fear when he runs. I think those traits are hard to teach. It just is something that he has in him through his family and through his background and makeup, and we’re working as hard as we can with him to get him up to speed. But he’s done a really, really good job.