Big Ten Media Days isn't happening as planned, but we can always pretend!
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we don't get the chance to speak to the Big Ten's delightful cast of head coaches this year – at least in person – so we decided we'll do the next best thing – pretend.
We took matters into our own hands and threw our own make-believe Big Ten Media Days, complete with hypothetical questions for each of the Big Ten's head coaches, along with an explanation as to why we'd ask that question and in some cases, even some roleplay as to how the coach might go about answering our question.
David Regimbal: You've won just six of 18 games since upsetting Ohio State in 2018. My question is: was selling your soul for that victory worth it?
Many teams can use a big win like the one Purdue registered over the Buckeyes in '18 as a springboard out of extreme mediocrity into relative mediocrity or even borderline relevance.
Jeff Brohm's program wasn't able to do that last year in part because its 2019 injury list reads something like a Stephen King script. But the Boilermakers are home to two of the league's most explosive receivers in Rondale Moore and David Bell, and they could make some noise in a West Division that could shake out much like 2018, when only one team (Northwestern) registered more than five wins.
Dan Hope: How will your offense get the most out of Rondale Moore and David Bell on the field together?
A Purdue wide receiver has been the Big Ten Freshman of the Year for each of the past two seasons, as Moore earned the honor in 2018 and Bell won the award in 2019, but they were only on the field together for four games last season before Moore suffered a season-ending injury.
Now that Moore is back healthy and Bell has a full season of college experience, Purdue could legitimately have one of the best wide receiver tandems in the country (a pair of receivers who were also recruited by Ohio State, but ultimately weren’t prioritized by the Buckeyes the way they were by the Boilermakers). Brohm, as Purdue’s offensive mastermind, will be tasked with developing game plans that maximize both of their tremendous skill sets this season – and how well the Boilermakers do so could go a long way in determining whether they can get back on track and have a winning season after going just 4-8 last year.
Because the Boilermakers don’t have the pound-for-pound talent that the top teams in the Big Ten do, they need to be able to maximize their strengths to pull off upsets like they did against Ohio State in 2018, and there’s no bigger strength on their 2020 roster than their two star wideouts.
Matt Gutridge: Coach Brohm, as Louisville’s starting quarterback in 1992, you were a successful two-point conversion away from upsetting Ohio State in Columbus. As you know, Ralph Dawkins scored on a two-yard run with 0:33 left on the clock. For the 2-point conversion, you were flushed to the left, then overthrew Dawkins for the possible game-winning score. As Purdue’s coach in 2018, your Boilermakers pulled off a 49-20 stunning upset of the No. 2 Buckeyes. What is the secret to your success against Ohio State?
Jeff Brohm, probably: “Hmm, where to begin? Back in 1992…hold on a second, I have to complete something.” Brohm’s speech is interrupted as his body is hit by a quick shock. Brohm then pulls out a checkbook, “Give me a second as I complete this task. Let’s see, another 1/8 of my soul to S-A-T-A…”
Zack Carpenter: Coach, if Rondale Moore can bounce back and live up to his lofty preseason expectations — like, say, finish as a Heisman finalist — how big of a boost do you think that sort of spotlight could give you guys in recruiting?
Purdue’s finishes in the Big Ten recruiting rankings since 2010 out of 14 teams:
- 10th (2010)
- Last (2011)
- Ninth (2012)
- 13th (2013)
- 13th (2014)
- Last (2015)
- Last (2016)
- Last (2017)
- 11th (2018)
- Fifth (2019)
- Seventh (2020)
Recruiting is how you turn a program around 180 degrees, and judging by those numbers alone, Jeff Brohm seems to be the man for the job. (2018 was his first full recruiting class.)
In 2018, Moore was Purdue’s highest-ranked player at No. 229. In 2019, the Boilermakers snagged a top-60 player (George Karlaftis), a top-115 player (David Bell) and a fringe top-200 player (Milton Wright). In 2020, they landed a few more top-300 players.
The Boilermakers hadn’t reached a bowl game since 2012 but did so in Brohm’s first two seasons before a 4-8 slide in 2019 (due in part to Moore’s injury).
But if Moore can bring a mega spotlight to Purdue and live up to those expectations with an explosive season — and get drafted in the first round, where he is projected by many super-early mock drafts right now — that could be the spark Brohm and the Boilers needs to push this program to a cycle up year and a possible Big Ten West championship.
Johnny Ginter: Hey Jeff, just a quick question: can you knock it off? Seriously, can you guys stop? It's giving me and my friends a headache and I hate it. Thanks.
Purdue has, in general, gotten progressively worse during Jeff Brohm's three years as head coach, and yet I feel like their threat to Ohio State specifically has somehow only grown. That's bad! I hate that!
Ramzy Nasrallah: The aggregate score of Purdue’s last five meetings with Ohio State is 177-97 in favor of the Buckeyes. Do you have any answers for why this series has been so obviously one-sided in favor of Ohio State?
Jeff Brohm, probably: "Ohio State is the Big Ten’s flagship football program and we’re just honored that they allowed us to score 97 points on them over the past decade."