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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 27, Digital 6

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

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Page 17 of 117

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 27, ISSUE 6 18 BY STACY CLARDIE J eff Brohm's to-do list in Year 1 as Purdue's head coach is long. Not only do physical improvements need to be made — literally getting players faster, stronger, more ag- ile, etc. — but just as important may be fostering certain qualities — a standard of toughness, work ethic and be- lief, as examples. And that latter piece could be even more challenging, considering few players in the program are accustomed to winning. So Brohm's definition of success in 2017 may not be the traditional one: Strictly wins and losses. But if not that, what? Brohm, the former Western Kentucky coach, answered that and much more in a 30-minute interview with Gold and Black in mid-June. Here are excerpts: Gold and Black: What will success look like to you? Brohm: "I think, for us, the simplistic points we're go- ing to try to accomplish is getting our guys to play hard, obviously get them to play tough and get them to play the game of football smart. I think if we can instill that part in them, I think we'll have a chance. Then you get into all the Xs and Os and figuring this and that out and putting them in a good position, but I think really it's a matter of getting them to play hard, believing they're better than they think they are, playing with confidence, being able to overcome adversity. The fact of the matter is you're going to lose some games. How you handle the losses will dictate how this season goes. But once we get close to the first game, every week will be a one-game season and we'll treat it that way." Gold and Black: You've already categorized this job as a challenge. Does that change your expectations at all? Brohm: "I think in your mind you have to be realistic about what could happen and you have to be prepared for anything to happen. But we will plan to have success and win some games. But if something doesn't go right, it's not like we haven't talked about it, addressed it or had a plan for it. We want to not be timid, not be shy, go into it trying to win each and every game, be aggressive, take chances and then go from there. I think that sometimes playing a good team the first game helps a lot, the fact you learn exactly where you're at and how far you need to come and what maybe you need to do." Gold and Black: Is there a prevailing emotion head- ing into the season for you? Brohm: "Without question, the excitement part is there. The challenge of building a team, especially one that maybe hasn't won as much lately as they'd like, against a first six games of the season means you have to have a good summer and you have to have a good fall camp. You can't just say, 'We're going to start slow and build upon it.' You have to try to be ready Game 1. We're going to have to utilize situations in practice where, hey, Game 1, we've got to look like we're ready and we're prepared and we show- case some of the things we can do and what we're about and build on that." Gold and Black: You mentioned intangibles, play- ing hard, believing. Are there more concerns with the physical attributes of this team or maybe some of the mental hurdles that you need to clear? Brohm: "There's both. I do think mentally, that's our job to get them mentally ready to play. Hopefully, we can do that and hopefully when we leave the field, people can visibly see that our team played hard. That's what you have to have, so we've got to make sure we do that. The physical part, it's somewhat concerning because in the spring we weren't where we'd like to be. We have a lot of new pieces coming in this summer that have to gel quickly and, quite honestly, be on the field and play for us. There's some ar- eas maybe we don't feel we're as strong as we'd like to be, but we have to make them look better than they are and help them still have success. That will be challenging, just to make sure we're utilizing our best players and trying to get them the ball in order to score points, in order to stop people." Gold and Black: How important is fall camp, con- Q&A Much more to Brohm's first year than Xs and Os Instilling Intangibles

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