Purdue football coach Jeff Brohm made his first appearance this season today on his weekly radio show at the Stacked Pickle with host Tim Newton. Brohm answered a wide range of questions about the upcoming season, which begins Aug. 30 at home against Northwestern.
Here's what Brohm had to say about...
...Purdue's performance in fall camp: "Fall camp went very good. We have a lot of young players that we need to gain experience and we put them under the fire as much as we could. We have seen improvement. Has it been perfect? It sure hasn't, but I like the fact that they've continued to work hard and some days they have a good day and some days not as well, but they're able to respond. We have multiple guys we feel comfortable putting in (the game) now. We've still gotta go out there and perform and play with confidence and make plays, but I like the way our guys competed at camp and as we get closer to the game, we've gotta make sure we get ready for Northwestern."
...his team captains showing their personality and being themselves and who his eight captains are: "We do want our guys to display their personality, whatever that is. We have guys who are talkers, some guys maybe not as much, but I think it's important that they understand that football's a game of toughness. You've gotta bring some swagger every time you get on the field and you've gotta believe you have a chance to win. It's not easy, you've gotta be tough, you've gotta be physical. Collisions happen and you've gotta be able to bounce up and hop back out there. The guys we have are great leaders. (Quarterbacks) David Blough and Elijah Sindelar have handled their situation as well as anybody. DJ Knox has been a steady performer at running back for us. (Center) Kirk Barron has been an anchor of the offensive line. He doesn't miss any games, he doesn't really come out. Some of the other positions do, he doesn't. The defensive side of the ball, while some of our guys are inexperienced, there's some guys that have a ton of experience. (Safety) Jake Thieneman is one of them and (linebacker) Markus Bailey is another. (Defensive lineman) Lorenzo Neal is another and those three guys have played a lot of football and they were great components to our defense last year and a big reason we won. Then we have (punter) Joe Schopper on special teams. I think he's a guy that made a lot of plays for us, he's consistent in the punting game, we can do a lot of different things with him and he's a great leader."
...the style of defense he plans to play: "I think it's important at every level, but especially this conference, you have to stop the run. We're committed to it. It's important that we do what we can from a personnel standpoint, but also from a strategic standpoint. That means sometimes if you're aren't as experienced and not as dominant up front (as a team), you've gotta create movement, you've gotta have some stunts, you've gotta come after people, you've gotta load the box, you've gotta test them to throw the football on you. From there, we've just gotta cover the pass. As I look back at last year, that's the one thing that I think we definitely could have been better at is against the pass and on third down. Right now, we've gotta be good overall, but it's gonna be important that we defend the pass."
...the team's quarterback competition between David Blough and Elijah Sindelar: "It's a lucky position to be in for me to honest with you. I think both young men are terrific people, they love the game of football. They both had serious injuries they worked extremely hard to overcome. They're both back healthy, ready to go. They've had great camps. The competition among them brings out the best of them and I really think that position can help us win, regardless of who's in there. For us, I think it's at the point we'll tell the quarterbacks what the situation is and go from there. At this point, we'll keep it in house and that way the other team doesn't know who's going out there the first play, but it's important to let our quarterbacks know.
"As far as I can see, both guys can move around and make plays and they're healthy and they feel good about where they're at. They definitely rehabbed their injuries as aggressively as they could, spent a lot of time doing it and got back much faster than others. So that's the credit to them and our training staff. I think right now both guys feel healthy, but you know throughout the course of the season at every position, things happen and you've gotta have more than one guy. At every other position you like competition, you'd like to have multiple guys, but for some reason a lot of people don't necessarily feel that way at quarterback. I think for us to have two veterans is a great thing to have."
...Northwestern, the Boilers' Week 1 opponent: "The good thing about it is we understand this is a tough opponent and we've gotta play well and be ready to go. We've gotta do everything right and play hard and hang in there and see if we can figure out a way to beat them. The thing about Northwestern is they are solid and they're strong up front. They've got a ton of experience, they don't beat themselves, they're well-coached and we've gotta find a way to play harder than them and see if we can get them to make a mistakes and get a few shots. It's going to be a difficult game. They got us last year pretty good (23-13). Luckily we came back at the end just to make it a little bit closer, but it's a tough opponent. The great thing is it's at home and I think our fans out there supporting us, hopefully that'll give us an advantage."
...Purdue's mindset going into a night game at home on a Thursday: "I want (the players) jacked up. I think it's important. Football's a different mindset. You've gotta go out there and be physical and find a way to battle to the end and figure out a way to just hang in there and have the toughness and fortitude to figure things out when things aren't going well. I want our guys into it. It's going to take everybody on our team. We're gonna play quite a few guys, they've gotta be able to go the whole game, they've gotta be able to maintain that (energy) until the end. It's going to be a barn-burner in my opinion. For us to win, it's going to be a fourth quarter game where we're going to have to find a way to just make a play or two more than they do."