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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 27, Digital 5

Gold and Black is a multi-platform media company that covers Purdue athletics like no one else.

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Page 12 of 87

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 27, ISSUE 5 13 J eff Brohm says he embraces this considerable chal- lenge he's signed on at Purdue to tackle. Of course that's what he says. Such talk is the foreword to the coaching-transition handbook, a blueprint for which there's really no alterna- tive. Saying the right things is a must for any new regime at the ground floor, even if it's just empty platitude. But Brohm should be taken at his word, because his ac- tions have already backed up those words. He didn't have to do this. Sure, Purdue is compensating him well, providing him a major-conference platform and administrative support unmatched in school history. This and whatever other rea- sons we might not know about right now that made this job appeal to him. But if he was a path-of-least-resistance guy, he could have stayed at Western Kentucky and won a dozen games a year for the foreseeable future, or gone to Cincinnati and taken over a more ready-made situation to win right away, or really pushed for Baylor or Oregon, programs with high-scoring traditions that might be outside his regional niche but might have fit him well. If Brohm was challenge-averse, he wouldn't be here, three-and-a-half million bucks a year or not. He came, taking on that challenge, taking over a pro- gram whose failure-related superlatives should come with some sort of parental-advisory warning. Brohm must have had an idea he was going to have his hands full when he signed on with Purdue. You don't win nine games in four years without having significant and deep-rooted issues. Make no mistake: Purdue's new coach came into this with his eyes wide open. From Day 1, this new Boilermaker staff recruited like it needed a new team now, going the junior college and grad-transfer routes wholesale. After this spring's inevitable attrition, a step will have been made toward flipping this roster as quickly as pos- sible. Hey, that's just college football nowadays when you're playing to win, which Purdue is now, at more levels than just the sideline. Again, Brohm came into this with eyes wide open. But spring might have even opened those eyes a bit wider. This is a coach who's made his name with offense, but faces a reality where his team's best wide receivers aren't on campus yet and the offensive line — a signifi- cant question mark to begin with and a significant-ques- tion-mark-to-be again come August — was held together with popsicle sticks and yarn this spring. Brohm seems fairly positive about his defense, that being the same defense whose normal for the better part of a decade has been to get run over, through and around by even the most pedestrian of Big Ten oppo- nents. This is a critically flawed roster, dotted with gaping holes — inexplicably — and dead weight, its collective results lately being both the reason Brohm is here and the mountain he now must move. Once again, Purdue has some good football players, just nowhere near enough of them. Purdue probably isn't going to out-run or out-hit a lot of people this season, especially during a harrowing opening stretch, and it certainly hasn't outplayed many people lately. What it might have to do is outsmart people. Brohm is a good coach. He's proven that elsewhere. And for Purdue to have success against very real odds this season, he might have to — as in non-nego- tiable need — prove it again with his new program and do so convincingly. j Neubert can be contacted at Work's Cut Out From Editor Brian Neubert college tour and your kid is invited.' And we had 20-some kids who signed up. It was an aspect of whatever you want to do, whatever school you want to go to. We wanted to show there's more to East Chi- cago than just going to Chicago. "Coming to Purdue, it opened their eyes up and these kids are in tune and are paying attention." — As told to assembled media

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