INDIANAPOLIS — Jeff Brohm expects the Purdue Boilermakers to be confident, play well and win.
The first-year coach also needs his players to understand it’s not a good idea to speak that way in public. If they didn’t understand that lesson before losing Saturday’s Big Ten opener to No. 8 Michigan, he’s making it perfectly clear now.
“We were a little too confident after a good SEC win on the road,” Brohm said after the 28-10 loss. “We have to earn our stripes. The Big Ten schedule is not going to get any easier.”
Brohm was alluding to last week’s bold prediction by receiver Gregory Phillips, who told ESPN.com that people would be surprised when Purdue pulled the upset. Had Phillips stopped there, perhaps Brohm could have chalked it up to an overly exuberant guy in a re-energized program who is eager to prove to the rest of the world that the Boilermakers, finally, are back.
Instead, Phillips continued.
“I wish we played Ohio State, too, because nobody can stop us right now except ourselves,” he said. “If we don’t beat Purdue and turn the ball over, we win every game.”
The Buckeyes are not on Purdue’s schedule this season and Phillips’ comments came three days after Brohm told reporters he wasn’t sure how the Boilermakers (2-2, 0-1) could score a point against Michigan’s stingy defense.
In fact, the Boilermakers were shut out in a dismal second half when they produced just 10 yards in offense.
With a bye week up next, Brohm has some pressing matters to deal with. First, he must sort out the quarterback situation before facing Minnesota on Oct. 7.
Elijah Sindelar and David Blough have played a roughly equal number of snaps through the first third of the season, but Blough left Saturday’s game after re-injuring his throwing shoulder. It’s unclear how much time — if any — he’ll miss.
The Boilermakers also will be without two key defensive starters, safety Jacob Thieneman and linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley, for the first half of next week’s game after both were ejected on targeting calls last weekend.
So from that standpoint, the timing of the bye couldn’t be better.
But it’s a good bet Brohm will use the extra time to reinforce his principles on speaking out.
“We need to keep our mouths shut and just play football,” Brohm said. “I want us to be confident and I want that. I think we need to tone it down a little bit.”