As I have written in this blog before, Purdue was a good football team when I was a small child. With players like Leroy Keyes, Mike Phipps, Bob Griese and Perry Williams, the Boilermakers were a good football team. They were even ranked number 1 for a while in 1968. Purdue 1960s
Then, again with Joe Tiller as their head coach, the Boilermakers were a fun team to watch. Tiller’s first recruiting class in 1997 had a smallish Quarterback out of Austin, Texas that nobody really wanted and they won the Big 10 in 2000 earning a rare Rose Bowl trip. Tiller
Winning at Purdue can be done.
It’s just not done very often.
This past season, Purdue fired their coach, Darrell Hazell, after the Boilermakers got off to a 3-3 start.
They lost the rest of their games to finish up 3-9.
In something of a surprise, at least to me, they hired Jeff Brohm the former head coach at Western Kentucky.
Brohm comes from a football family. His father is a high school football coach in Louisville. Jeff and his brother Brian, both played Quarterback at Louisville. Brian played in the Canadian Football League for a while and is now a football coach. Brother Craig played Wide Receiver at Louisville and then briefly in the CFL as well.
Jeff Brohm was the best of them and played 7 years on the NFL.
Bobby Petrino was the head coach at Louisville back in 2003 and he hired the former NFL Quarterback, Jeff Brohm, to coach his Quarterbacks. Petrino and Brohm did very well with Louisville with great records in 2004 when the Cardinals finished 11-1 and in 2006 when they produced a 12-1 team.
Petrino was hired away from Louisville by the Arkansas Razorbacks and was starting to get that program rolling until he got into some trouble and was fired. The powers that be kind of frown on hea football coaches fooling around with pretty young coeds. Wives also tend to ask for divorces.
Petrino sat out a season before landing the head job at Western Kentucky where he hired Brohm as his Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks coach. Petrino had been hired to replace Willie Taggart who is now the head coach at Oregon after a successful stint at the University of South Florida. Taggart to Oregon
After only one season as head coach at Western Kentucky, Petrino went back to Louisville when then Cardinals coach, Charlie Strong, was hired by Texas. Incidentally, South Florida hired Charlie Strong
to replace Willie Taggart after he left for Oregon.
Jeff Brohm was promoted to the head guy at Western Kentucky to replace Bobby Petrino. During his time at Western Kentucky, Petrino led the Hilltoppers to an 8-4 record and Brohm’s first season as a head coach was not a bad one with an 8-5 final record.
2015 was much better for Western Kentucky and Brohm with a 12-2 record and 2016 was almost as impressive with an 11-3 record.
It’s easy to understand why Purdue would want to grab Jeff Brohm.
But, can he win at Purdue?
Jeff Brohm has a lot to sell recruits. He was a hot shot college Quarterback. He may have been a career back up in the NFL, but he was still there and he has those connections. Plus, he developed Western Kentucky Quarterback Brandon Doughty and this past season Mike White. He also helped develop his younger brother Brian while an assistant with Louisville.
Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers should be lining up to play for Brohm at Purdue. The defense at Western Kentucky was not as bad as some might think, either. They finished among the better 1/3 of defenses in the country.
One problem he will have at Purdue is academics. Purdue is one of the better schools in the country and finding the right kids with the physical talent to play with the best and they can make the grade in the classroom can be tough.
Stanford is doing it. But, they also have had their share of bad seasons.
At Purdue, Brohm will inherit junior Quarterback David Blough who will be in his third year as a
starter. Blough beat out two Quarterbacks that started in the SEC last season in Danny Etling at LSU and Austin Appleby at Florida.
Blough threw for an impressive 3,352 yards and 26 Touchdowns. But, the problem was he also threw 21 Interceptions which was the highest in the country.
Brohm also will have Markell Jones returning at Running Back as well as 3 backs that were freshmen last season.
On the down side, Blough loses all of his top receivers and 3 out of 5 Offensive Linemen.
Purdue has not been known for great defense and it doesn’t help that they also lose maybe their best Defensive player in Defensive Tackle Jake Repogle.
Jeff Brohm enters this challenge with a 30-10 record and a lot of people think he made a mistake. Maybe he did, but if he wins at Purdue he will be one of the hottest coaching prospects in the country. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and some seriously good recruiting.
What he can promise talented recruits is early playing time and the impression that the team will get much better. I am hoping so, because I miss the Boilermakers of old.