LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Some coaches scream. Some coaches pout. Some coaches howl at the moon.
Some even threaten to take their footballs and run to another conference.
At Purdue, Jeff Brohm thinks.
Always has, back to the time he directed Trinity High School to multiple state championships and played quarterback at the University of Louisville.
Like the 13 other coaches in the Big Ten, Brohm was disappointed, frustrated and angry when the league canceled the 2020 football season Tuesday because of the novel coronavirus.
Anger will not defeat the virus. Anger will not develop a plan to enable Brohm’s guys to salvage their 2020 season and protect their 2021 season, too. So Brohm planted himself at his desk and attacked a plan for a winter/spring season as intensely as he attacked Urban Meyer’s Ohio State defense when the Boilermakers scored 49 points in 2018.
“I’m not claiming it has all the answers,” Brohm said. “But I wasn’t interested in waiting (for others to create a plan). I wanted to do my part. I feel like it was important to get some optimism out there.”
When Brohm was finished, he delivered a product that quickly inspired praise and stirred more discussion from administrators, players, coaches and the media.
It’s more than simply a starting point. It’s a legitimate plan that Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren should strongly consider.
Training camp that begins in mid-January. An eight-game conference season that runs from Feb. 27 through April 17 with games played on college campuses. (Brohm even researched weather patterns. In many Big Ten cities, March weather mirrors November weather.)
Options for a national playoff or simply a Big Ten championship.
A three-month period without mandatory workouts. Coaches must be serious about giving players time away from the game so their bodies can heal.
A return to workouts for the 2021 season in July. Training camp starting in September. A 10-game season that runs from Oct. 2 through Dec. 11.
You’ve got a better plan?
Great. Brohm would love to hear it. You’ll never hear him say that his way is the best way or the only way.
He knows there issues with eligibility, roster management and players opting out to protect their professional careers. Venues, the weather and fan safety will also have to be discussed.
What you will hear Brohm say is that it is time for coaches and administrators to get to serious work to create a functional plan so football, especially in the Big Ten, can resume in a safe and structured environment.
“I hope that in the next five, six or seven months, we have a better answers (than the Big Ten had this time),” said Brohm, who also coached at U of L and Western Kentucky. “If we don’t have them, we have a lot of issues.”
This projected to be a solid bounce-back season for Brohm and the Boilermakers. Unsettled by injuries, Purdue slipped from 6-7 to 4-8 in 2019. With 17 returning starters, Purdue expected to return to a bowl game for the third time in Brohm’s four-year run in West Lafayette, driven by a high-octane passing game.
But concerns about the coronavirus led former Trinity star Rondale Moore to opt out of the 2020 season to prepare for an NFL career, and then the Big Ten became the first Power Five league to cancel all fall sports.
That sent Brohm to work. He said that most of the plan was his, although he talked with Purdue Athletic Director Mike Bobinski as well as his assistants. One primary guidepost was player safety, especially managing the amount of full contract work required by players.
As Brohm noted, before the virus, the regular football calendar included 24 regular-season games spaced over a little more than 15 months, roughly 1.6 per month.
His plan includes 18 regular-season games over nearly 10 months, roughly 1.8 per month.
Perfect? No. But nothing seems perfect these days. And Brohm is open to suggestions and ideas. He was aware of another plan that features games beginning in January. Those games would be played at domed stadiums, which exist in the Big Ten footprint in Indianapolis, St. Louis, Minneapolis and Detroit.
Brohm simply wants discussion, analysis, information and optimism. The last thing Brohm wants to watch is the Big Ten drift into January without a firm plan on how to proceed.
“We all need to put our minds together so we can have football,” he said.
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