Coach Brohm stepped up to the mic at his first press conference of the season yesterday. A transcript is available here if you’d like to read it in its entirety but here are the highlights. Please note that I generally don’t consider the coach speak at the top to be a highlight. Yes, we know you had a productive summer, yes we know that this first game is gonna be a real test, yes we know that you saw some real gains in the offseason.
On starting with a conference game:
Well, I think if you can open with someone nonconference that you feel good, you have a good chance to possibly win, that’s always a comfort zone, but at the same time, we know we have a great schedule. It’s like that every year. At some point you’re going to play really talented football teams. We’re going to do it right off the bat.
I think what it does do is it helps you focus more in the off-season in fall camp and understand that, as coaches and players, you’ve got to get ready to go or it’s going to be a long day.
On the tight end position following the loss of Garrett Miller:
Losing Garrett was a blow. He was a very talented tight end. He could run. He had really good size, and he blocked really, really well. He came into his own last year. It’s unfortunate that he hurt his knee. He was having a great camp and could really stretch the field for us and provide a blocking element because of his toughness and tenacity. So he’s going to be missed.
Payne Durham, we had to make sure we kept him healthy all camp, so he’s been limited just to make sure we get him to the game. Paul Piferi will be his backup. He’s a converted quarterback.
Paul has worked hard to get better. The passing game comes more natural to him, blocking at the point of attack and doing those things is a little bit harder. So we’ve just got to make sure, when he’s in there, we’re asking him to do things he’s capable of. So we’ve got to be really conscious of that.
We’re working to get the backup tight ends ready, but they’ve still got a ways to go, and a couple of them have been out in camp. So that presents a little bit of a dilemma. At the same time, you’ve got to put your best 11 guys on the field, figure out a way to get them the ball, create some plays, and get some points. We’ve just got to be somewhat strategic and smart with it.
Injury updates for Jalen Graham and Branson Deen:
They should be ready to play, yes.
Impact of the transfers:
I think our transfers will have a huge impact, and that’s why we brought them in. So when you look at offense, Charlie Jones and Tyrone Tracy have been very productive in camp. They’ve got to make plays for us and be some of our difference makers for us to win.
On the offensive line, Sione at guard and Daniel Johnson provide us depth and will be in the rotation. They’ve done a good job this camp. So I think at that position as well, that has helped us.
When you move to defense, Reese Taylor has done an outstanding job at corner for us. We’ve been able to keep him healthy through camp. He’s instinctive. He makes plays. He’s played a lot of football. We really like what he brings to the table.
Scotty Humpich at the defensive position has got skill and size and athleticism. He needs to be a playmaker for us on defense.
And Bryce Hampton is going to play in the secondary. We’re not super deep in the secondary. We’re working hard to get better at that, but those will be the main ones that stand out. I’m sure I’m forgetting a few. But those guys are going to play for us.
On the talent in the secondary and their history at QB:
When you play in a position, you can understand route concepts, look at a quarterback’s eyes, shoulder, all the things that give you indicators of how to break on the ball, make plays.
Jalen Graham had a really tremendous year last year. We hope he builds upon that. He needs to be a leader for us. He needs to play as hard as he can in between the whistles and make plays.
Cam Allen, I think, keeps getting better and better. Needs to just do his thing, be in position, and then make tackles when he needs to.
And Reese Taylor definitely has great instincts. It’s hard for us to get open on him. So I’m hoping that’s because he’s really good, not because we’re not able to get open. But he’s done really good. I think their background of just playing football and understanding the game is very beneficial.
On the O-Line:
Well, I could see us probably playing around eight offensive linemen. If it goes up to nine, it wouldn’t shock me. Keeping guys healthy and fresh is going to be important as well. But we do feel like, at this point, there is some more depth and guys that are getting closer to get on the field
Injury updates on Broc Thompson, Jamari Brown, Cory Trice:
I think all three will be ready to go. Yes, we still have to be somewhat cautious with all three, but that’s the cards we’re dealt with. They sustained injuries, and we’ve got to get them back healthy, and we’ve got to get them back in the flow, and we’ve got to make sure that we’re not wasting all their good reps in practice and not being able to utilize them in the game.
But at the same time, they have to get enough reps to make sure they’re ready. So that’s the balance you have. There’s certain guys like those three that we need on the field. We definitely need them on the field. When they’re not, we’re not as good a football team.
So it’s going to be important that they play well, we keep them healthy, and we try to continue that throughout the entire year because it’s going to be more than one game we need these guys. We need them the entire season.