Purdue Gets Through 1st Spring Football Practice

JD Arland

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Jeff Brohm's Purdue football team got back to work on Monday after three long months off. The first practice of the spring showed off new faces, roster depth and that classic Jeff Brohm coaching style.

“We came out with some energy,” Brohm said of the first workout inside the Mollenkompf Practice Facility, their first since finishing 4-8 a year ago. 

Here are the three biggest takeaways from the Boilermakers' first practice of the spring: 

1. Jeff Brohm kept it real

It's no secret that 2019 was a disappointing year. The injury bug bit Purdue harder than most college football teams, losing several star players at key positions like Rondale Moore and Lorenzo Neal. On Monday, Brohm didn’t blame last year's losses on injuries. Instead, he talked about limiting turnovers and preventing big plays, which he says the team looked at closely this week.

“You’re not going to win football games doing that,” Brohm said. “While you want to get aggressive and all those things, you can’t give up that many big plays.”

Quarterbacks Aiden O’Connell and Jack Plummer got equal reps in one of the most-watched battles of the spring. That starting job is wide open.

“We’re going to let that one play out. I think both guys showed promise,” Brohm said.

2. Defensive coordinator Bob Diaco is electrifying

New Purdue defensive coordinator Bob Diaco was pumped up from whistle to whistle on Monday. It looked like he wanted to put on pads and jump into the practice himself. Diaco has a magnetic grip on his defense and Diaco shouted encouragement to players throughout the workout.

Diaco was quick to offer criticism, and did not hide his opinions, but he also doled out praise as well. He was also quick to offer “attaboys,'' and quizzed his squad on formations, celebrated with them during scrimmages, and even ran sprints with them at the end. 

3. Injuries still an issue for Boilermakers 

The 2019 campaign was defined by a struggle to find depth after several key injuries halted the Boilermakers’ chances of getting to a bowl game last season. This spring, some of those injuries remain, but Brohm said they should be back to mostly full strength by the summer. 

Here’s the unofficial injury report Brohm spoke to reporters about:

  • WR Rondale Moore: Limited in practice this spring
  • WR David Bell: Out for spring
  • WR Jackson Anthrop: Questionable, rehabbing lower leg
  • DT Lorenzo Neal: Out for spring

It’s not surprising Brohm is keeping his best players away from contact while they continue to rehab from injuries.