BOZICH | 5 Observations about Louisville game after day at Purdue football
WDRB Sports visited Purdue football Tuesday, working on stories about the Boilermakers' opening game against Louisville Sept. 2. Rick Bozich shares 5 Observations from the day at Purdue.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WDRB) -- Purdue athletic director Mike Bobinski stood in the northwest corner of the Boilermakers’ practice field Tuesday afternoon, removed his sunglasses and enjoyed the spectacular scene unfolding in front of him.
To his right, workers tested new banks of permanent lights being installed at Ross-Ade Stadium, lights that will flash on Sept. 8 when the Boilermakers open their home season against Ohio University.
In front of him, workers scrambled to finish Purdue’s spectacular $65 million football headquarters, which will feature a mammoth weight room the Boilermakers believe will the be the largest in college football.
To his left, Bobinski’s new football coach, Jeff Brohm, called plays as Purdue’s offense drilled for its season opener against Louisville, booked for Sept. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Brohm, a former U of L player and assistant coach as well as the former head coach at Western Kentucky, was Bobinski’s first major hire.
“The more I watch Jeff and his staff and the way they work with the players, the more convinced I am that he’s the right guy to take this program to where everybody wants it,” Bobinski said.
“It may not happen this year but it’s going to happen in the next few years.”
Brohm and his staff extended extreme hospitality to me and four others from WDRB during a day-long visit to Purdue, which included practice.
We’ll have more stories about the Boilermakers over the next 10 days as well as during a 90-minute pre-game show that WDRB will air before carrying the Fox Sports broadcast Sept. 2. On Wednesday, the Cards remained favored by 25-1/2 points at VegasInsider.com.
Here are Five Observations From a Day at Purdue:
1. The Boilermakers Will Play Two Quarterbacks Against the Cards
David Blough ranked first in the Big Ten in passing yards per game last season, throwing for 25 touchdowns and more than 3,300 yards (despite 21 interceptions).
Blough said he loved the energy and enthusiasm the Brohms — and he mentioned Jeff’s son, Brady, as well as father, Oscar — have brought to Purdue football.
Like any player, Blough was probably trying to impress his new coaches when he did a silly thing during a recent scrimmage where defenders were not allowed to touch quarterbacks.
Blough dove toward the end zone while trying to cover the final five yards for a touchdown.
Blough got the TD, but he also injured his right shoulder. Although Blough participated in practice drills Tuesday, back-up quarterback Elijah Sindelar ran most plays Jeff Brohm called against the defense.
Blough said there was still swelling in his throwing shoulder and that he was not throwing the ball 100 percent. Blough will need more rehab and clearance from the medical staff.
Look for Sindelar, a former Kentucky Mr. Football from Caldwell County, to play against Louisville even if Blough returns 100 percent.
“Sindelar has a big-time arm,” said Brian Brohm, Purdue’s co-offensive coordinator. “He’s a good player.”
At 6 feet 4 and 230 pounds, Sindelar is larger but not as elusive or experienced as Blough, generously listed at 6-1, 205.
I expect both to play in Indy.
2. Purdue 1, Louisville 0
The Boilermakers have already secured one victory. They won the locker room coin flip and will dress in the larger, plusher Colts’ locker room.
No decision has been made on whether the roof will be open for the Saturday night game.
Tickets were divided equally between the schools, but the game is not sold out. Rebuilding super-sized interest in Purdue football will require time. The Boilermakers averaged 34,451 last season, playing to only 60 percent capacity in Ross-Ade Stadium.
3. Nick Holt’s Plan for Lamar Jackson
Defensive coordinator Nick Holt is one four Purdue assistants with connections to the Louisville program. Holt arrived at U of L with John L. Smith in 1998 and stayed three seasons. He also worked for Petrino at Western Kentucky.
Holt is the guy who’ll try to limit U of L quarterback Lamar Jackson to less than a 1,000,000,000 yards total offense. Holt was asked if he saw anything in the Cardinals’ season-ending three-game losing streak that he could incorporate in the game plan.
“I’m trying to get 12, 13 or 14 guys on the field to get him stopped, but that doesn’t work,” Holt said.
“He can get the ball from center and take off and I don’t know if we have anybody who can catch him.”
4. Brian Brohm vs Peter Sirmons
Former U of L quarterback Brian Brohm along with former U of L assistant coach Tony Levine will assist Jeff Brohm with the offensive game plan.
The Boilermakers face a mystery because Louisville has changed defensive coordinators. They have studied video of the defense that Peter Sirmons, U of L’s new defensive coordinator, directed at Mississippi State last season.
Brian Brohm said he expected Louisville’s defense to be aggressive.
“They’re very athletic,” Brohm said. “There’s going to be a lot of one on one matchups we’re going to have to win against talented players. We’re going to have to scheme them up a little bit.”
Brian Brohm confessed that competing against a program that he played for 11 years ago will be strange.
“Growing up in Louisville, I always wanted the Cardinals to win,” Brohm said. “But I’ll be trying to beat them this time.”
5. Chris Barclay's Favorite Football Team
Ask Chris Barclay for the name of the college football team he loved as a teenager and he won’t ask for extra time to consider the question.
“Louisville,” Barclay said. “Went to and watched all the games, football and basketball.”
As a product of Male High School in 2002, Barclay wanted to play for the Cardinals. He was offered a scholarship by John L. Smith’s coaching staff, but the recruiting process was bumpy.
Dean Hood, an assistant coach at Wake Forest, pursued Barclay relentlessly and told him the Demon Deacons believed he could be the top rusher in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“Sounded great to me,” Barclay said. “Where do I sign?”
He signed with Wake, primarily because of Hood, now an assistant coach at Kentucky. Barclay ran for more than 4,000 yards and scored 40 touchdowns for the Demon Deacons before playing briefly in the NFL and NFL Europe.
Purdue has a solid group of backs, led by Markell Jones who has averaged 4.6 yards per carry while scoring 14 touchdowns the last two seasons.
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