A big change was needed, with Purdue’s offense sputtering and its defense porous under former head coach Darrell Hazell. One thing was clear, the Boilermakers weren’t going to out-do the likes of the Wisconsin Badgers or Iowa Hawkeyes with the same pro-style offensive formula.
So, it should come as no surprise that it is being reported that the Boilermakers have picked an offensive-minded head coach this time around. Reports indicate that Western Kentucky head coach Jeff Brohm has taken the same job at Purdue.
Terms of the deal have not been released, but the Boilermakers have indicated they would do what it takes to hire top talent. With a new football building and increased facilities overall, Purdue has shown Brohm the commitment needed to be confident that things can change in West Lafayette, Ind.
Brohm comes with the usual good record at a lower conference school, going 30-10 in his three seasons with the Hilltoppers. Some believe it was just a caretaker role, as Willie Taggart and Bobby Petrino stabilized and rebuilt the Western Kentucky program.
The Hilltoppers have had success beyond the first year though, as Brohm led the team to a Conference-USA championship and a 12-2 record last season. It was good enough to get his team ranked No. 24 in the final AP poll last season.
Not much has chances in 2016, as the team has gone 10-3 so far this season and will play in the Boca Raton Bowl.
Brohm clearly won’t be there to coach the Hilltoppers, as he is likely to be introduced at a Monday afternoon press conference.
This should be an intriguing marriage for Brohm and the Boilermakers, as he has a good stable of offensive skill position players to work with and has one of the most potent offensive schemes in the country.
A protegé of Bobby Petrino being successful on offense shouldn’t be surprising. What may be is that Brohm’s offenses have nearly been the equal of his mentor. This season the Hilltoppers are currently second only to Louisville in points per game (45.3 to 45.1) and seventh in total offense.
All three of Brohm’s offenses at Western Kentucky have been high-powered too. WKU has finished in the top 10 in total offense every year he’s been at the helm of the program.
With David Blough and Elijah Sindelar possessing some very good tools, Brohm could have some immediate success in turning Purdue’s potential in to actual success. This was the Big Ten’s best passing offense in 2016, finishing their season averaging 294.6 yards per game.
That’s not the whole story though, as Brohm is going to have some things to fix. Let’s not forget that despite some of the weapons available, the Boilermakers finished the season 11th in scoring offense in the Big Ten (24.6), dead last in rushing offense (96.1) and were just seventh in total offense so far in 2016.
Purdue tried to play tough, hard-nosed football with its last hire and that was an utter disaster. This time around, it appears the Boilermakers are going back to gimmicks and something different to combat a Big Ten full of power and pro-style based offenses.
Can that return to gimmick offense work like it did under Joe Tiller in the 1990’s and 2000’s? That is likely the standard that Brohm and Co. are going to be judged by.
It’s a high bar, but with the money and facilities being committed to the program, raised expectations for success have to come along with it.