Final Grade: Purdue's Coaches Did All They Could With Hand That Was Dealt
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The last area to cover in our final grades series is Purdue coach Jeff Brohm and his coaching staff. Their marks are mostly good, considering all the hardships they faced this season.
For starters, even with a disappointing 4-8 record, what Brohm was able to do with this year's team was nothing short of impressive. The Boilermakers lost their top two quarterbacks (Elijah Sindelar and Jack Plummer), top two running backs (Tario Fuller and Richie Worship), No. 1 wide receiver (Rondale Moore), and top two defensive players (Lorenzo Neal and Markus Bailey), along with several other injuries.
Even through all that, Purdue showed the ability to compete against several Big Ten teams and even pull out the win in four games.
The biggest testament to Brohm’s coaching ability came with the constant changes at quarterback. After the injury to Sindelar, who was an air-it-out type of quarterback, he was forced to change the playbook for backup Jack Plummer, who had the ability to create plays with his feet.
Just as the offense started to implement quarterback runs, Plummer was injured and the team turned to walk-on Aiden O’Connell. Whether it was a testament to O’Connell’s work ethic or the work done by Brohm and the rest of the coaching staff, O’Connell stepped right in with no problem and won his first start.
Being able to be competitive with three separate quarterbacks just shows how good Brohm is at having everyone prepared.
Brohm, who has been known to get creative on offense, showed that this season as well. There were multiple times where he drew up game-changing trick plays.
Against Wisconsin, Purdue was able to take a 17-14 lead in the first half after Brohm drew up a wide-receiver pass from Milton Wright. The play fooled the Badgers and left tight end Brycen Hopkins wide open for the 58-yard score.
The most impressive play that Brohm drew up this season though was the game-winning touchdown to beat Nebraska. He ran David Bell on a sweep and after the ball was pitched to him by O’Connell, it was a walk into the end zone for the 9-yard touchdown. The play tricked everyone on the Nebraska defense.
Obviously there were some struggles for the coaching staff this season. There always is when you have a record of 4-8. But it’s difficult to put the blame on specific coaches or the coaching staff in general ,though. Because of all the injuries to significant players, the staff was put in a difficult spot, and I believe they did a solid job with what they had.