Game 9: Iowa Hawkeyes @ Purdue Boilermakers
With Tuesday’s press conference prior to the Iowa game concluded, let’s take a look at some highlights and insights.
Coach Brohm On Playing a Complete Game:
.”...we’re going to have to play efficient football, we know that, in all three segments. We’re going to have to play as well as we have all year in order to get a win, and our guys need to understand that.”
I think we all can understand and see that Purdue has yet to really put together a complete game where all three phases have played at or near their full potential. We have seen collapses by the defense at the ends of both halves, the offense turn the ball over way too many times, and special teams continue to have mind-numbing hiccups. If this Purdue team can take advantage of the bye week to clean up some issues, they have a good chance at running the table in November and getting to the B1G Championship Game in Indianapolis.
Coach Brohm on the health of of the secondary, specifically Cory Trice, Jamari Brown, and Tee Denson:
“Well, there is (sic) concerns. Some guys still haven’t practiced, so when they practice we’ll know if they’ll be able to play. In the meantime, others have to get ready and be ready to go…(Cory and Jamari) They have not practiced yet…Tee (Denson), you know, like we talked before, double sports hernia. Had to go back and get another procedure. He’s just fighting through that stuff.”
As it was prior to the game against Wisconsin, Purdue was thin at the DB position but with the injuries sustained during that game the defense really took a hit. If Purdue had their full assortment of players available, I would definitely consider this to be a strength on the team but it looks as though Purdue may be down to sliding Sanoussi Kane down to CB as he did in the Music City Bowl last season against Tennessee. That would be made easier if Chris Jefferson was available but he has not returned after making it public that he was taking time to focus on his mental health.
Personally, I would slide Sanoussi Kane down and play him as a boundary CB (short side of field) while keeping Reese Taylor as your field CB (wide side of field). Kane has experience and can slide him back to SS if the younger guys like Camdyn Childers, Jah’von Grigsby, and Brandon Calloway show they can play solid defense. This would likely force either Bryce Hampton onto the field full time or we may see Antonio Stevens pressed into more snaps after finally returning from his severe knee injury.
Coach Brohm on Injuries on the Offensive Side of the Ball:
On Charlie Jones: “ He hasn’t practiced yet. We’ll see where he is at this week, but use this time to hopefully get guys healed. In the end they know they have to get out there and practice some in order to play well.”
- On Broc Thompson: “ Broc is doing everything he can, like we talked before. I don’t anticipate that happening, but we’ll see.”
- On Paul Piferi: “...hopeful he’ll play.”
- On Ben Furtney: “Ben will be out…Tristan Cox has moved into that role a little bit…”
- On King Doerue: “King is unlikely.”
- On Dylan Downing: “We’re hopeful to get Dylan back this week.”
So this is totally all sunshine and rainbows, right? In what looks more like a scene from a war movie rather than a college football team, Purdue has struggled with injuries throughout the entire season. This comes off a season in 2021 where Purdue enjoyed little to no injuries to any major contributors. Sometimes you are the windshield and sometimes you are the bug.
Although the idea of Thompson being unavailable comes as no shock along with Furtney, the others that could be out are of concern. Charlie Jones has been dealing with some knicks and nagging stuff throughout the season and hopefully the bye week meant he could sneak in some extra rehab in. The biggest pieces are getting Piferi and Downing back as they provide needed depth for positions that were already lacking prior to the season. This last four game stretch won’t lead Purdue to Indy with Devin Mockobee and Payne Durham sitting on the sidelines (Yes, it doesn’t without Charlie Jones either).
Coach Brohm on Iowa’s Offense Looking Improved Against Northwestern:
“When I watched them this past week they were efficient. They didn’t turn the ball over. They utilize their zone running scheme very well with the jet sweeps and making some play-actions off of it. They were able to get easy completions and get the ball out on time. We have to figure out a way to get a lead and not allow them to be able to utilize this scheme as much as they can. So that’s going to be vital for us, figuring out a way to get a lead.”
No surprises here as Coach Brohm has shown over the last few years an ability to make Iowa play a bit out of their comfort zone, especially true last year in their win against Iowa when they were #2 in the country. I’ll have a piece on what has allowed Purdue to get to 4-1 the last 5 seasons tomorrow but Purdue needs to have a wide receiver push the safeties and linebackers back to be effective in the running game. The previous 5 years Purdue has been able to get behind the Iowa safeties but the previous three seasons they had David Bell and fortunately for Iowa fans he isn’t here anymore.
I’m not sold on Iowa’s improvement though when the story for the entire season has largely been that of futility. Northwestern isn’t a great team on defense as they have allowed 28.8 ppg (85th of 131) and rank 94th in total defense (407.1 yards per game). But even a blind squirrel can find a nut at some point because Iowa’s offense ranks 129th out of 131 teams in total offense at 248.8 yards per game. Iowa also ranks 122nd in 3rd down conversions (28.6%), 116th in completion percentage (55.1%), 127th in passing efficiency (102.38 which is the worst in P5), 107th in sacks allowed (3 per game), 120th in rushing offense (93.5 yards per game), and 120th in passing offense (155.1 yards per game).
Coach Brohm on Seeing Iowa on the Recruiting Trail:
“They hammer the state of Indiana quite a bit and really before I got here they probably dominated the state. We’ve been able to do a little bit better job, but they have a lot of connections. You know, done a good job.”
I thought this would be a good moment to check in on some recruiting battles between Iowa and Purdue in the 2023 with players that chose Purdue over Iowa. There are also 5 players on the other side of that equation as well.
- Kendrick Gilbert, Defensive Line, Indianapolis, IN (Cathedral): Purdue
- Will Heldt, Offensive Line, Carmel, IN (Carmel): Purdue
- George Burnhenn, Tight End, Mount Vernon, IN (Mount Vernon): Purdue
- Jaron Tibbs, Wide Receiver, Indianapolis, IN (Cathedral): Purdue
Before Coach Brohm came to Purdue, Iowa was entirely entrenched in the Indy area as any other college program. The fact that Purdue was able to pry David Bell away from Iowa was a huge recruiting coup for the Boilers and showed not only can Purdue recruit the major Indy area players but that they can be incredibly successful. If Purdue wants to continue to take that next step then they have to continue to win these recruiting battles for the prized Indy, Chicago-land, and Fort Wayne players. They are good enough to get you to Indy for a chance at a B1G title.
Coach Brohm on Iowa’s Defense:
“They know how to play the quarterback’s eyes and where he going to go if he throws it early, where he’s going to go if he throws it a little later.
The secondary does a great job keeping the ball in front of him, staying inside, not giving up the big play…before we played them last year they were dominating teams because they were just crushing people in the turnover battle. It’s just something they’re really good at.”
This is what has me worried for this Iowa game. Iowa just seems to be a team that through their fundamental focus as a program and the fact they always just seem to be a hard-nosed team, they can make things happen. O’Connell has been great this year but has shown a penchant for throwing costly INT’s as he has thrown at least 1 in the last 5 games. Against Wisconsin he threw 3 including one that was returned for a touchdown and Purdue will need AOC to be on his game to get Iowa uncomfortable and out of rhythm.