INDIANAPOLIS — There's a sense of urgency brewing in West Lafayette. And while there's excitement that surrounds the 2021 season, Purdue football coach Jeff Brohm knows the team needs to get back on the right track sooner rather than later.
After a 2-4 season last year, which included three losses by a touchdown or less, Brohm placed heavy emphasis on finishing strong during the upcoming season.
"I know at this time of the year everyone's looking forward for football and I know our coaches and players are," Brohm said. "I think this is a great opportunity for our team to go out and prove their worth."
The Boilermakers haven't posted a winning season 2017 during the start of Brohm's tenure. To say the least, the program enters 2021 with low expectations. Despite recent shortcomings, Brohm believes the team is poised for a breakthrough.
Purdue failed to capitalize on an undefeated record through two games at the start of the 2020 season.
"While you like to start fast, it’s important that you finish strong," Brohm said. "It’s important that you take each season as a one-game mentality and figure out a way to win that game. When that’s over, it’s time to move onto the next one.”
A year ago, the team never trailed by more than once score against both Northwestern and Minnesota. However, the Boilermakers also never earned a lead in those games.
Against Rutgers, the Purdue offense watched as two different double-digit leads dwindled. The Scarlet Knights left West Lafayette with a win after defeating the Boilermakers by scoring the game's final 17 points.
The loss bogged down Purdue in what ended up being its final game of the season against Nebraska. The Cornhuskers led by as many as 21 points, yet the Boilermakers fought back within one score.
In the end, Purdue couldn't reach the endzone to tie the game, and Nebraska dealt the finishing blow with a field goal midway through the fourth quarter.
"I think we’re close for sure," Brohm said. "We’ve had a lot of close games the past couple years. We’ve had some big wins a couple years before that. We’ve just got to get better at some of the small things, and that’s on me first to help put together the best plan to get that done."
Purdue has been at the forefront of national attention by upsetting No. 2 Ohio State back in 2018 in West Lafayette. The team also defeated Iowa that same season, and the veteran players on the team are ready to relive even a sliver of that success.
”We need to win, and we need to win now," Purdue junior defensive end George Karlaftis said. "How we do that is by finishing games. You look at last year, it’s like one or two possession games, every game.”
Brohm said he wants the program to put pressure on him to go out and help the team prove itself next season.
Purdue opens its season at Ross-Ade Stadium against Oregon State on Sept. 4. The team hasn't felt victory since opening its season with a 2-0 record last year.
Each game in the team's four-game losing streak during 2020 occurred at home, without fans in the stands. The cheering crowd will be back next season and in full attendance for the season opener.
"Hopefully we’ve put in enough offseason work to this point to be in a good spot," Brohm said. "We’ve got to continue to progress that, but that’s what it’s all about. Every week is going to be a pressure situation and it’s up to us to get it done.”
- BROHM ADDRESSES QUARTERBACK BATTLE: The Purdue football program will head into fall camp with a group of quarterbacks competing for starting job. Coach Jeff Brohm says the team looks to have a starter in mind early on, but he won't hesitate to utilize more than one quarterback this season. CLICK HERE
- GEORGE KARLAFTIS HUNGRY FOR RETURN: After his season was cut short due to injury and COVID-19, Purdue defensive end George Karlaftis is excited to get back on the field. He's working hard, doing whatever the team needs to help the program win in 2021. CLICK HERE