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Gold and Black Illustrated Vol28, Digital1

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 1 6 The Key Words J eff Brohm knows who he is. Better yet for Purdue fans, he knows what his football team is. Or at least what he wants it to be. When asked by Dave Revsine of the BTN about what Brohm would like the identity of his football team to be, it didn't take long for Brohm to answer. "I would like this to be an energetic, creative team that plays hard and plays with intensity to win," the first-year coach said. But Brohm's use of the word "creative" is key here. For the first time since Coach Joe Tiller's reign nearly a decade ago, Purdue has an identity in Brohm and Brohm's offense. It is a creative offense. Brohm is known nationally for that and it is paying dividends already on the recruiting trail, and the overall feel of the Boilermaker program. But Brohm knows he is not there yet, maybe not even close with that offense. Which brings me to the first word Brohm used in his answer to Revsine: Energetic. And that is what this issue's cover crew has to bring to the Boilermaker defense and to the entire program. My guess is there will not be many times in the next few years that we feature defensive players when looking at the Boilermaker football team. But for right now, this foursome couldn't be any more important to how this pro- gram progresses in Year 1. It is no secret that the Boilermakers are going to have to stay in games with its defense. It will have to change the culture of the program with its defense, by playing hard every play, and never, ever giving up. That was one of the first things Brohm noticed when he looked at the tape on the 2016 squad, a team that didn't always give effort — or have the effort to give — at the end of games. If Purdue can develop the culture of playing hard, even in defeat, this will be a successful season and a step in the right direction. And who can be a better example of consis- tent intensity and effort than the four guys on the front of this magazine. And the good thing is they have ample skill, too. All four can play at the Big Ten level, and each has a personality that can be infectious, can get other guys to join them in the fight. So yes, the key word is identity. And Brohm and Co. have it. It is just not as simple as how many points the Boiler- makers can put on the board. It is about energy, looking and doing things a bit differently, that will ultimately turn this program around. What will be interesting is to observe how many steps forward the 2017 Boilermaker team can make to achieve that end. j Boiler Index From Publisher Alan Karpick 5 New Home: The Boilermakers were expected to move into their new digs Aug. 24, setting up the locker and weight rooms and beginning to make themselves at home. Purdue hopes the Football Performance Complex will be a program-changer. 4 Fortune: When's the last time Pur- due received good injury news? Seems like never. But when David Blough's MRI returned a shoulder strain rather than a tear many breathed a sigh of relief. The Boilermakers need their experienced QB, especially with so much skill position inexperience. 3 Lights: Lights are only lights — they won't win a football game — but perhaps the installation at Ross- Ade Stadium represents a push toward a brighter future. And a Friday night game vs. Ohio on Sept. 8 to open the Jeff Brohm Era at Ross-Ade seems like it might be pretty cool. 2 Spirit: Only the first three training camp practices were open to the public (and media), but in them, the coach- ing staff showed enough passion to rub off on players who had — unfortunately — grown too accustomed to losing. 1 Defense: From Day 1, Brohm thought the defense looked good during camp, and that didn't waver over the next two weeks of practices. The Boilermakers have veterans, particularly in the front seven, who might be able to cause problems for the opponent. Is there enough depth? No. But maybe the front-line players can carry the load. — Kyle Charters Reasons For Optimism T O P Photos by Tom Campbell (facility, Shephard); Purdue Athletics (Blough, Lights); Brian Neubert (T.J. McCollum)

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