WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — After Purdue’s 24-6 loss to Illinois on Saturday, everything head coach Jeff Brohm was saying made it seem as though his team would have a quarterback controversy on its hands going forward.
Was Jack Plummer going to remain the starter, or was Aidan O’Connell — who replaced him on Saturday and led the team’s only scoring drive — going to get the nod going forward?
We already know that answer, still five days out from Purdue’s game against Nebraska.
“Right now Jack Plummer will start for us,” Brohm said. “Like always, it’s never as good as you think or as bad as you think after a game.”
Plummer, who has been the starter since Elijah Sindelar injured his shoulder against Minnesota, has struggled at times this season. It’s been an up-and-down season for the redshirt freshman, going from winning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week just three weeks ago, to getting replaced in-game this past week after throwing for just 69 yards and an interception.
For Brohm, it all comes down to Plummer not picking up on the little things, items that he stresses over and over in practice in each week.
“We need to make a few better decisions early on,” Brohm said. “I think we can find the check-downs better, I think we can locate the No. 2 receiver a little bit better, and I think we can occasionally pull it back and run it a few times.”
Having Plummer find check-downs and remaining in the pocket has been one of Brohm’s biggest points of emphasis for his young quarterback this season, but Plummer has yet to consistently do it.
“The first drive on second and third down, I drifted back in the pocket when I didn’t need to. The next drive I drifted to the right and I didn’t need to,” Plummer said. “I’ve got to sit in there and trust it a little more and find the check-down.”
Plummer may have already been named this week’s starter, but Brohm isn't closing the door on O’Connell seeing playing time once again.
“That doesn’t mean two quarterbacks aren’t going to play. I think you have to have both guys ready,” Brohm said. “I think both guys are inexperienced and they’re young and they’ve just got to continue to work on things. We always want to have the ability, if things aren’t going well or we need a spark, to bring somebody in, and I think Aiden can possibly do that for us.”
With a young quarterback and young team around him, it’s all about gaining experience and getting better each week. Brohm realizes that and has faith in his quarterback to turn things around against Nebraska.
“Jack just has to continue to progress and we feel confident that he’ll continue to get better,” Brohm said. “We have confidence that he can go out there and improve and do some good things.