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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 3

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

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 3 13 really just focus on a couple simple things while you're getting better like playing hard, playing tough and playing smart, those three things, if we can try to win that battle, you've got a chance to win six games on that alone. Doesn't matter who's the coach, in my opinion," Brohm said after the Boilermakers beat Indiana to secure a bowl berth. "So we kind of built it on that. Our guys did a pretty good job, I'd say, probably every game other than one of winning that battle or at least being right there in the thick of it." Brohm knew when he came to West Lafayette, he'd face considerable challenges to revive the program. He knew there were some limitations and talent defi- ciencies in the roster makeup — and talked about those — but he was more struck by the lack of consistent effort by the team the previous season. That was simply not ac- ceptable, so it was something Brohm stressed from the first meeting with the team. He talked about having a one-game season approach, and with that, players were expected to exert every ounce of energy "until the end" of each so-called season. But Brohm wasn't only just talk. He and his coaching staff stressed it in practices, expect- ing a high level of effort on every single rep and demanding focus for each one, too. Naturally, more focus means fewer mistakes, and that leads to smarter play. That day-to-day approach eventually created a habit, and that habit eventually created a culture. On Saturdays, there were no excuses for not finishing blocks, for not swarming to the football on defense, for not grinding for extra yards. And with that mindset instilled, Purdue did something surprising: It competed in every game. The previous era had been defined as much for its in- consistency as anything. A seemingly important victory would be followed by a blowout loss. Purdue couldn't win back-to-back games. It couldn't generate enough momen- tum during the season — or victories — to make play- ers willing to fight hard until the finish. The Boilermakers didn't win a single game in November — in 17 tries — the previous four seasons. But under Brohm and his staff, these Boilermakers' av- erage margin in those six losses was only 7.7 points. Its worst loss was an 18-point defeat to eighth-ranked Michi- gan, a game Purdue led at halftime. "The greatest thing that I saw was guys that wanted to win and more effort and more preparedness," senior cap- tain Gregory Phillips said. "When I say prepared, I'm say- ing more people are trying to watch film. More people are doing the extra things that are going to get them ready for Tom Campbell Ja'Whaun Bentley (4) finished his career with his best season, leading the team in tackles.

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