WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue football hits the road after a 30-13 loss to Wisconsin at Ross-Ade Stadium. The team travels to Lincoln, Nebraska, to face the Cornhuskers on Saturday.
Coach Jeff Brohm met with the media to discuss how the Boilermakers' will look to bounce back, starting with this week of practice.
Purdue is scheduled to play Iowa at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. As of Monday morning, the Boilermakers are a 7-point underdog on the road according to SI Sports Book.
Here's a look at the highlights of what Brohm had to say ahead of Purdue's next matchup of the season:
JEFF BROHM: Well, we're getting ready to have a good week of practice. We've got an opponent coming up this week that we've got to get ready to play, going on the road to an environment that they've sold out there for a long time.
I think Nebraska has actually played really good football this year. They've been in every game. They were up on Michigan State at the end of the game and unfortunately they lost. They were up on Michigan at the end of the game. Unfortunately they lost. They played Oklahoma right down to the wire, and they've had a lot of big wins.
We'll have our hands full. This is a big physical defense. They did a good job against us last year. They've got size, athleticism, experience in the secondary, and they've got that system down. They've done a good job on offense. They've got an experienced quarterback that can run and make plays and they'll spread the field, and he basically gives them an extra blocker with him running the ball as much as they do.
We'll have some challenges there. Then we're going to have to defend in a different way than the last two opponents we've had, and he's always given us some problems because of his athleticism.
We've got to have a good week of practice. We've got to get better at a lot of things. I think our guys understand that the last game is over with. We went over all the things that happened in it yesterday, and our guys were good about it, and they understand what it's going to take to improve and get better, and now it's back to work.
It's a one-game season, and this is an important game just like all of them, and it'll be a tough, physical football game that we've got to do a lot more things better and more efficiently and be more detailed and disciplined in our approach during the game and execute at a high level in order to win.
Q. Do you think it's good to go on the road now, sort of circle the wagons, us-against-the-world type mentality?
JEFF BROHM: I'd rather play at home, but you know what, this is our schedule, and I think our guys have practiced hard and they'll practice and prepare well, and it's a matter of we've got to play a physical team and do a lot more things more efficiently in order to have a chance to win.
Q. How are you going to handle the quarterback job moving forward? Is Aidan still the No. 1 guy? Do you think you'll continue with the multiple quarterbacks? Can you say?
JEFF BROHM: Yeah, Aidan is our starter, and we have other quarterbacks capable of going in, and they will continue to do that.
Right now we're limited at the running back position. One scholarship running back available. We've gotten some yardage, extra yardage utilizing that, and obviously each week will be a little different. We've got to be as efficient as we can and be able to do multiple things with each, if and when they go in, but we'll prepare to play anybody that we need to to help us win.
Q. Any update with Zander and Garrett Miller?
JEFF BROHM: Well, right now for us on that front, Zander, we're going to try. I'm not optimistic. Garrett Miller will be out. Greg Long, we'll see how he practices this week, see if we can get him back. He took a little hit to the head. Same with Kydran Jenkins. DaMarcus Mitchell will not play in this game. Tyler Witt I think will play. He did some things to his hand, but he'll be tough and go out there, and I know he'll play.
I think other than that, just a few nicks and bruises, and I think most of the other guys will practice.
Q. Who will handle kickoffs this week?
JEFF BROHM: Well, that's another -- Chris Van Eekeren will be out again with his ankle, so it'll a combination of Mitchell, Finneran and Freehill that could possibly kick off.
Q. Just talk about the problems Adrian Martinez poses trying to defend him.
JEFF BROHM: Well, Adrian Martinez has been there a long time it seems like, and he's big, he's strong, he's athletic. He has the ability to throw the ball when they need to, but he can run around and make plays. All the different things they do with the zone read and the power read and getting him on the edge and really his scrambling ability when plays break down is probably even where he's most dangerous, and that's where you've got to have guys there with their eyes on him waiting for him and able to tackle him because he'll hurt you running the football. At least half of those are on pass plays that aren't open and he goes and makes a play.
It'll be tough for us. We didn't do a good job against him last year, so we'll have to have a better plan.
Q. I believe this is kind of one of the first teams that you'll play where they're trying to get you in space, get you in one-on-one match-ups on the defensive side. Just the way your defense has played this year, they've played well, but will this be something new that you guys have not really faced this year?
JEFF BROHM: I think it'll be a challenging offense for our guys to go against. Even over the years, we've done a decent job against running football teams for the most part here and there. When teams spread it out and the quarterback is a runner, you've really got to be sharp. You've got to expand out and cover out to all the little bubble screens that they like to throw on the perimeter. You can't allow those to happen. Then you've got to be ready for the quarterback to pull it and run it. A lot of guys have to have their eyes open and we have to get off blocks. We have to spread the field with the receivers but yet have good eyes on the quarterback and be able to break when he goes to run, and that's more of a challenge than you think, and I think that's always what they've been good at.
They have an experienced quarterback that's done it a long time, and yes, we'll have to try to get a lead and make them throw more than they want to throw, and that's going to be the best recipe for us to have success if we can do that. If not, we're going to have to fight and scrap and try to hang in there until the end.
Q. Who are the next guys up on the offensive line if you have to go deeper than the six that you've been playing?
JEFF BROHM: Well, right now Cam Craig would be one of the next ones up, followed by Moussa or Mbow, two freshmen. Josh Kaltenberger or Bycznski could slide in there at the guard position if we need them to, but those would probably be the top nine as of right now.
Q. Just the progress that they've made in practice; are they not just to the point where you're comfortable getting them into a game? Where is their development this deep into the season?
JEFF BROHM: Well, they've worked hard, but no, they have a ways to go, so we would prefer not to have to play a whole game just because you're playing big, physical football teams, and as a true freshman it's not an easy chore.
This past game was not one of our better games up front. We got exposed in some areas, and the speed and physicality and all the different multiple looks and the athletic linebackers blitzing from all over gave us problems and then caused us to make numerous mistakes that you just don't see with the speed of practice as much.
For young guys to come in, it takes a little while, but if they have to go in, they'll play hard, and we'll make adjustments, and we'll roll with it. They're great kids. I think a couple of the young ones can be really good players. But they just haven't played much.
Q. With Van Eekeren out, is it a season-ending injury or do you expect --
JEFF BROHM: No, it's more of a high ankle. It was an unfortunate incident in the pregame warmups at Iowa where one of their balls came over, and after he went to kick he landed right on the ball, which was kind of odd, and sprained his ankle. He actually played the first half with it and then he couldn't go really much in the second half. It actually was a little worse than we originally thought, but he'll be back at some point.
Q. Would you prefer Mitchell not do kickoffs, or is he kind of your best option right now to do that?
JEFF BROHM: Well, right now Mitchell, he's had a really good year. The last couple games he's been in a little bit of a slump and not as consistent and maybe just lost a little bit of his confidence, but he's just got to get that back and get his mojo back.
Ben Freehill probably has the stronger leg. In practice last week did a good job. We talked about using both, and if we had to kick off again, Ben probably would have came in and we would have given him a shot. Both those guys will be available.
Q. Did you change some of the schemes on kickoff returns after what happened at Iowa? What adjustments were made there just to kind of limit the big yardage that you gave up that day?
JEFF BROHM: Well, we made quite a few adjustments, so kickoff cover, yes, we had a different scheme in, a couple different personnel in the game, as well, and I thought it was effective. Even the one kick we kicked short we tacked them on the 26-yard line and the ball came out, so we got down there. So I thought we did a much better job there.
Kickoff return we can't drop the ball. That just can't happen. It's happened too much. That was disappointing.
I think our punt return we got better. We've adjusted some things there to try to get a return occasionally, and we got some yards and only one ball we let bounce and really didn't go anywhere because we want to catch every one.
We missed an extra point, which can't happen, but the protection was better, we just missed the kick.
So there was some things here and there that we've got to clean up, but there were certain areas that we got better at, and we worked hard to try to fix some of that, and I thought for that one game we did better.
Q. Going back to the offensive line a little bit, just what do you need to see from them this week at practice to try and limit some of those mistakes that you had against Wisconsin that you kind of talked about already?
JEFF BROHM: Well, I think they'll come ready to work. They've always worked hard. Coach Callaway, Coach Williams do a great job with them. They gave us everything they had. You know what, Wisconsin was good up front, and their linebackers were good and active. They beat us at times.
We had certain plays and certain looks even on some runs and some option runs where it could easily be a play and we didn't have it because they would run around us and their quickness got to us. They got push on the pocket quite a bit, even when they weren't blitzing. They got in the backfield. We gave up too many sacks, and a couple times there wasn't a whole lot the quarterback could do other than if he was really athletic could try to run out of there fast or throw it away, but they got on us quick.
Then there were a couple times of course we should have taken a sack, and the interceptions hurt us, especially four turnovers; they gave them the ball going in and scoring. Can't ever happen. When you have five turnovers against a good team, you have no chance of winning, so we've got to clean up a lot of things.
Q. After the game Saturday you mentioned that just both fronts were kind of exposed; when you went back and watched the film, what was it that Wisconsin did that kind of let them have success against the defensive front, and what kind of needs to get cleaned up there?
JEFF BROHM: Okay, well, we talked about the offense.
On defense, looking at it, I thought our defensive front did about as good as they could for a long time. They popped a couple runs in the first half but not for huge gains. In the second half they did pop a couple of runs that the interior got blocked, and we got out of some gaps and combined that with some missed tackles, and when they're running it every play, we weren't able to sustain that the entire game.
But it's not all on them. The offense could have scored some more points and moved the ball, not turned it over, but I thought the defense just kind of wore down a little bit towards the end of the game, but they had some really good moments.
We've got to build on that. We've just got to tackle better when we've got people in space. We've got to get guys to the ground. They scored one touchdown where we have a perfect blitz and we got up in the backfield and we don't make the tackle.
A combination of all those things. But I thought that those guys played hard, and they're giving us everything they have. It was a big, physical offensive line and good running backs, and they beat us.
Q. You mentioned just some potential injuries for this upcoming week on that defensive front. Are there any adjustments that you're looking to make just immediately just to kind of help in case of their absence or limited playing time?
JEFF BROHM: Well, at the one defensive end position we're a little low on numbers, but Jack Sullivan has played both spots for us, both sides of defensive end, so he'll be able to go over there and shore that up. In the interior, a couple guys a little nicked up but I think they'll be able to play, so I don't think we're missing much there.
At the linebacker corps and the secondary, other than Cory Trice being injured, everyone is healthy.
Q. There was a holding penalty on your defense there in the first half where it got applied at the end of the run. Can you explain why that was?
JEFF BROHM: Well, I agree with you. We haven't followed up with the head of the Big Ten officials yet on that question. What they told me is that because it was a run, they tack it on at the end of the run. If it was a pass, they would not have, and I did not understand it, either.
I don't know. I thought it was either you take the ball where it's at or you take the penalty. I'm not for sure if they're wrong or not, and we haven't got clarification. That's something we'll have to follow up on and see.
That was the exact question I asked, and that was the answer they gave me is because he ran the ball, they tack it on at the end, which I don't understand that, but I could be wrong.
Q. Obviously Wisconsin paid a lot of attention to David. It seemed like they had a second guy kind of all over him a lot of the game. What does the counter punch there have to be when other people do that the rest of the season?
JEFF BROHM: Well, we're going to see that quite a bit. We didn't see it as much in the Iowa game for whatever reason.
But Wisconsin is a good defense. They did it in a couple different ways. They dropped the safety down to his side but not real low and kept him in a window where he could play the quarterback and be in that intermediate window where David has caught a lot of balls, helped the corner a little bit, allowed him to play a little more aggressive and tight because he's in that area.
You know what, they dropped eight quite a bit when they had to throw and they knew we weren't going to run as much, and it's tough to get a lot of guys open when they're doing that.
We have to -- we had some spacing routes open that we got batted and picked the wrong side once and did a couple things where we could have got completions, but I think in general, if we have to throw the ball and things are covered, we have to make good decisions with the ball, which means you have to throw it away, which means you have to step up and run and get some yards. It means you have to move and find a lane or throw it out of bounds, and that did not happen.
That's part of playing efficient football at quarterback, and while running isn't Aidan's game, he still has to -- he's been told every game, I need three or four runs from you from designed pass plays that aren't there, so you have to force yourself to be smart with the football, and while you have thrown the ball in some tight windows, you can't always do that. You can't put our defense in that dilemma.
I think he understands that. He can't put our team in that dilemma. Mistakes are going to happen. He's going to throw an interception every now and then, but we for sure had some costly turnovers that are going to give you no chance to win.