Skip to main content

VIDEO: Purdue Football, Jeff Brohm Gearing Up For Old Oaken Bucket Game Against Indiana

Purdue football coach Jeff Brohm met with the local media Monday to discuss the team's upcoming matchup against Indiana at Ross-Ade Stadium. Here's everything he had to say, including video.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue football returns to Ross-Ade Stadium to close out the regular season with a matchup against Indiana. Coach Jeff Brohm met with the media to discuss the Boilermakers and the team's upcoming battle for the Old Oaken Bucket.

Purdue is scheduled to play Indiana at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. As of Monday, the Boilermakers are an 15-point favorite according to SI Sports Book website. The over/under is 50.5.

Here's a look at what Brohm had to say ahead of Purdue's final next matchup of the regular season:

Opening Statement

JEFF BROHM: I think our team has a lot to play for. It's rivalry week, and in order for us to have a chance to win the game, we've got to prepare well. We've got to get as many guys healthy as we can and go out there and execute on Saturday. I think in these type of games, you've got to -- all three elements, offense, defense and special teams have to be clicking. We've got to make sure we sharpen things up and get ready to play. This team has 10 senior starters on defense. The other one is a junior. They have a lot of experience and they know how to play football, so we've got to get ready to go.

Q. Back to Northwestern for a little bit, after watching film, what did you like in the performance and what still kind of needs to get cleaned up and you head into this week of practice?

JEFF BROHM: I think offensively we were able to get big plays, which was big for us. We were able to respond when they got some things going, which we've done a pretty decent job of that here in the last six games of doing that. We've got to continue to sharpen things up. We had too many penalties, which we've normally been pretty good at. That can't happen. That hurt some of our drives. We've got to continue to work on getting more yards in the running game. I think defensively, I thought they ran the ball more efficiently than we would like, so we've got to get a little better there and make sure that we're as firm up the middle as we can and we're getting as many guys down in there to help if we need to. Pass defense did a good job for the most part, and when they had to throw, that's when we normally do our best on defense.

Special teams, we had the advantage. Obviously it was due to the onside kick that we were able to recover, which really was luck, but we kept alive on that, on the momentum, and then Mitchell Fineran did a good job of kicking the ball and getting us some points on field goals when we couldn't score in the red zone.

I just think we've got to sharpen up quite a bit of things and try to have a better performance this week.

Q. You talked about the running game a little bit. There was obviously an opportunity to have a good performance against a team that kind of struggled against the run. When you looked back at that game, was it more so that the offense passing the ball was clicking more that contributed to maybe not as many yards in the ground game, or was there more to be desired?

JEFF BROHM: I think it was a combination of both. I do think that we felt we had an advantage in a certain area that we wanted to attack, and we kept attacking that. That was beneficial to us.

You know, we did a couple things wrong in the run game that cost us on a few plays. Other than that, we got some positive yards at times. We just didn't -- I didn't run it as much. But I think it's about scoring points and moving the ball, and whatever can help us do that, we want to be able to do it. So whether that's running the ball or throwing it, whatever is going to help us score points and win, and you have to be able to be efficient at both when that is needed.

Q. Looking ahead to this week, obviously it's the Bucket Game. This game wasn't played last year, so just what does it mean for this program, college football fans in the state of Indiana to have the game back, and then also what does it mean for you guys to have a chance to get the bucket back?

JEFF BROHM: Rivalry games are great, and we're excited to get this one underway. It's great not only for our team but our fans and our university. It's something that we want to take a lot of pride in and make sure that not only do we work hard to get the bucket back, but it's the last home game for seniors. We want to make sure they go out on the right note. They've put a lot of hard work in and they've gone through a lot of good times and adversity and handled it in the right way, so we just want to make sure we end on a positive note and try to play the best football that we possibly can.

Q. Last couple match-ups, they've been one-score games. Outside of it just being a rivalry game, what is it about these two teams when you guys play each other regardless of record that is keeping these games so close year in and year out?

JEFF BROHM: You know, a lot of guys on these teams know each other so they take pride in playing against each other and rise to the occasion. It's very competitive. Just like any conference game, whoever prepares the best and plays the best is going to win, bottom line, doesn't matter what their records are. You can throw those things out.

We've just got to make sure that we learn from this past game, figure out ways to get better, come out and execute, try to be as sharp as we can. Of course winning the turnover battle and having as few penalties as you can and being as efficient you can on both sides of the ball is going to be important, so we've just got to make playing to our strengths and that we're trying to take away their strengths.

Q. Last time you guys played IU in double overtime, we spoke to you one time about this, but again, what do you think of the new overtime rules?

JEFF BROHM: Well, it hasn't happened to us yet, so I don't have a great feel for it. I really probably don't have a stance yet. I think they're obviously trying to shorten the game a little bit and get right to it.

You see teams now in that first overtime because of the new rule going for two probably quicker than they have in the past, so that's probably the main thing I've seen. Not that I know the metrics on it exactly, but it's probably a smart thing to do when you're the second team that scores in the first overtime going for two, and I could see that happening more and more.

Q. You didn't get a chance to ever play Kentucky; just talk in general about what rivalries mean to college football and then specifically any angst in not getting to play this game last year.

JEFF BROHM: Well, I think it's a great game to play. You want to play rivalry games. I think it, like I said, means a lot to your players, the fan base, all the people within the state that take pride in supporting their team. They're a lot of fun. The buildup is great. The competition level normally rises up every year, and it's always a close, tough, physical game that whoever plays the best and is the most efficient wins, and it gives the fans so-called bragging rights beyond that.

I just think it draws a lot of interest, and they're great to have, football, basketball, you name it, every sport. It's great for the fan base.

Q. You've talked often about Milton Wright's work ethic. Can you give any specifics that really illustrate, I guess, his commitment to improving, even in practices or in the weight room, whatever?

JEFF BROHM: Well, I think the one strength of Milton Wright that he probably exceeds our expectations and exceeds the level of everybody on our team is he goes extremely hard in practice. He goes hard and fast. He doesn't like to miss any practice even when he's nicked up. There's really only one speed that he practices with, and I think that really carries over to the game.

I think he's matured as a player. There were some things early on, just route running and consistency catching the football were things he just had to work through, but as far as get-off and speed and speed coming out of his brakes and length at receiver, he has those traits.

I think it's something that he shows every day in practice, and it's subtle, but as coaches and even as players you can see that this guy is going 110 percent on every rep. There's no in between. Even when we try to have jog throughs he's normally going much faster than the others, so I just think that carries over to the game.

He's been very unselfish. David has made a ton of plays for us in the past, Rondale has made a ton of plays for us in the past, and he's still been out there on the other side doing his thing, and quite a bit he's open.

I just think Aidan saw him early. A couple times they're rotating the coverage to David, and Aidan got very comfortable throwing his way, and Milton got open for him and made the catch and made a lot of big plays. That's why I was happy for him. He's stuck in there when others could have complained and said, hey, can I get a few more balls here and there, and I think it just shows that he's continued to mature and has a bright future, and we hope to have him play a lot more football for us.

Q. It looks like there's only going to be one true freshman who uses his year this year in Jack Ansell. Is it just one of those years where there just wasn't really space available for some of these true freshmen to really impact beyond playing the four games?

JEFF BROHM: Well, I think you're always trying to recruit as many difference makers as you can. I think at some positions it's easier to step on the field early than others, and all those things factor into it. I think we've been fortunate to get a few of those guys to step in right away and get it done, which is great, but sometimes they're not going to develop that fast.

We feel like we've got a good nucleus of guys that will continue to get better, but weren't quite ready or maybe we didn't quite need them at that position or maybe they needed to just continue to develop in the weight room.

I know we recruited Yanni Karlaftis and I think he has a bright future. Unfortunately he came in injured with a bad hamstring. He missed the entire spring. He really didn't get healthy until the summer. I think that knocked him back a little bit.

We have some linebackers in there that have played a lot of football, but he easily -- we've definitely talked about using him each and every game, but we didn't want to waste it if he wasn't going to be playing a lot of reps. So I think he's getting very close, and we've got some others that have done a good job. It's just whether it's their position has got a little more experience or whether they just need to develop more, that's what we need to do with them.

Scroll to Continue

Read More

Q. Jamari Brown went off the field a couple times. Is he okay, and did you come out of Saturday okay health-wise?

JEFF BROHM: I think Jamari will be okay, which is good. He's done a really good job for us this year. He kind of locks things down over there on the boundary for us and is physical. He's got length and does a really good job of taking away the easy throws.

Sanoussi Kane has come in and done a good job. We'd like to play him more and rotate him in there, and he'll continue to get better. But I think when he got in there, he did some good things. He's more of a physical player that can tackle that really we unfortunately made him play a lot of positions for us, safety, corner, back and forth, whatever we needed him at, so he's had to wear a lot of hats, which is a little unfair to him. But he's learned quite a bit, and I think we feel comfortable putting him in the rotation, and we've just got to continue to build some depth there.

But Jamari has done a really good job. I think he'll be healthy. I think Damarjhe Lewis missed the game. We're hopeful to get him back. Lawrence Johnson has had some issues where he's been playing injured, so both of our tight ends. So those are the main ones that I just think if we take care of them this week in practice and not practice them as much as we'd like to, we can hopefully get them to the game a little healthier.

Q. I may be getting ahead of myself, but do you think this may be the last time fans in Ross-Ade stadium see David Bell and George Karlaftis?

JEFF BROHM: Well, I'll let them speak for themselves. They've done a great job for us since the day they got here. They make a lot of plays. They're great ambassadors for the program. They represent Purdue in the right way. They're tremendous teammates.

We're very proud of their performance to this date, and I think they have a bright future, and we'll support them in any decision they make.

Q. What has Jaylan Alexander meant to this defense this year?

JEFF BROHM: Jaylan really has come a long way since he first got here. He had a lot of energy and enthusiasm when he first got here, but he really just needed to grow and learn how to be a great leader. I think he definitely has taken that step. He cares. He wants to win. He tries to get our guys ready to go. He tries to bring the juice every day in practice and in the games, and he has developed and matured as a player.

Without him in there, we have a dropoff, so he's a guy that we need in the game to make plays for us. He's normally around the ball. He hustles. He'll hit. He'll tackle. We've just seen him grow and get better each and every year.

I think that's a testament to his work ethic and our coaches working with him, but he's done a very good job. He's a very big, important part of our defense.

Q. Just your linebackers in general, I think they're one of the -- three of them are top five or six in tackles. Is that a byproduct of what's going on on the defensive line, allowing those guys to make those plays?

JEFF BROHM: It's a combination of a lot of things. I think Jalen Graham also at the outside backer/nickel position has done a really good job. He's got a bright future. He can make plays. He's got length. He can play in the run game and the passing game, so he kind of gives us the ability to stay in that personnel in matter if teams are in three wide outs or two-back sets. He's a good leader. He's a competitor. He came in as a quarterback, we moved him over, started at safety, dropped him down, and he hasn't complained one bit.

I just think he's made a lot of really good plays for us. Kieren Douglas came here as a walk-on. He worked his way into a scholarship. He goes hard. He hits hard. When he first got here we had to pull him back in practice. He was hurting too many of our guys. That's just the tempo that he plays with.

He's gotten better. I just think changing direction and learning the nuances of an offense is things he had to improve on, and he's worked hard at it, and he gives us a presence in the middle, and when he's seeing things well and when he's reacting well, he can hit and make tackles. I just think he's tough, he plays hard, and he wants to be out there and help his team win.

Q. Your offense is still operating at a high level when you look at total yardage and points, but you're doing it without a consistent running game. Teams are playing you for the pass; they have the last however many games. Why are you guys still effective in that area when teams know that that's what you're going to do?

JEFF BROHM: Well, it's a combination of a lot of things, as well. I know I've said that about three times today. But we work hard at the passing game. I think we've got some playmakers at that position, and we've got a quarterback that's playing efficient.

We've got a system built to compensate for the running game with how quick we get it out and the type of passes we throw and the screens we throw in there and the quick games and the run pass, all those things I think help balance the attack. We've had some runners get injured along the way, which changes what you do. I mean, you have to try to win each and every week, and when you don't have certain guys, you've got to figure out a way to make it work.

I just think we've adjusted this a little bit here and there to get us in a flow, get us in a rhythm. It's helped our quarterback get in a rhythm. It's helped us get the ball in the perimeter, and hopefully this opens up the running game some.

We've had a few games where we've gotten some yards when we needed to, and we've kept them honest. This past game wasn't as good as we would like, we just kind of missed a few things, missed a few blocks and ran past a few, didn't get it communicated right, where if we do, we can get better at it.

So I just think continuing to work at both is important. Whatever helps us score, we want to do, but I just think we've developed -- we've continued to develop the passing game to kind of take place of some of the runs with the ability to get it out quick and get it on the perimeter and get the quarterback in rhythm.

Q. You mentioned penalties from this past game, but up until last Saturday you guys have really kind of kept your penalties down to a minimum. Why do you think that this team has played that way most of the year?

JEFF BROHM: Well, there's certain things we work hard at every single day, and we talk about it, and we work on it and we drill on it, and one of them is throwing the deep ball and catching it, something we do more than anywhere I've ever been. Defending the deep ball and not panicking and getting pass interference but trusting your position and making the quarterback throw it correctly, we do it every day, specific drills for it. Ball security and turnovers we do more so than anywhere I've been as far as let's not -- let's win the turnover battle if we can and not turn it over, and I think we've done a good job of not fumbling the ball. Controlling interceptions, we've had a game here or there where it's gotten out of hand, but for the most part we've done a really good job. Receivers have done a good job of not fumbling the ball in open space, and I think we talk about penalties and keeping it between the whistles as clean as we can and policing that, and this past game was not one of our best games.

I just think Greg Long gets a little excited and emotional and did a couple things beyond the whistle that the referee saw and called, unfortunately, and it cost us. But he was playing hard, and he's trying to be physical. We've just got to rein him back in.

Even Garrett Miller, he's gotten a couple penalties, 15-yarders that were probably borderline, but at the same time you can't do it, so whether it was the little spinning of the ball that he did after a couple games ago or really just trying to make a block at the point of attack, he just kind of has to pull back that.

So it's just kind of being smart. We talk about it. We work on it. Those little things are important to winning the game. We're never going to be perfect at it, but we'd like to be better than other teams, and it's just something that we not only talk about but we work on all those things every day, and because of it I think we've done a decent job.

Q. This senior class, what they've meant to the program. They came in kind of with you early on, got to a couple bowl games, but then they're going to end their careers at least going to a bowl game. What have they meant to the program right now?

JEFF BROHM: Well, to be quite honest, the senior class to me, with COVID, I sometimes don't know who's a senior and who's not. (Laughter.)

Now, we have quite a few guys that have been here a long time, and I know who some of them are, and they've done a great job for us. We're going to have quite a few of them out there, and a lot of them are playing right now. They're a big part of why we've won. They're a big part of not only their performance but their leadership, their unselfishness. They've been great teammates.

We really had a lot of really good people that do things the right way and want to win and care and don't point fingers and are willing to go to work and willing to be critical of themselves to try to figure out ways to get better, and I just think that that's always the backbone of your team is those guys that have been here and that are willing to give you everything they've got not knowing if they're going to get a lot of credit, a lot of playing time, and they're just very unselfish with it.

We're thankful for that, and we hope to send them out on a good note in this last home game.

Q. You and Tom Allen have been head coaches at your respective programs since 2017. What has your relationship been like with him in that time?

JEFF BROHM: Well, Tom is a good person. I've gotten a chance to know him. We've gone against each other every year. He's coached high school football in the state and he's coached at Indiana, so I know he takes a lot of pride in representing himself and his university.

We're friendly rivals. I always wish the best for him, and I think he cares for his players and wants to win and is a good ambassador for the program. We're looking forward to getting this rivalry back going this week and having a lot of fun playing the game.

Become Part of the Boilermakers Country Community!