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Jeff Brohm recaps Murray State win, previews Indiana game

Just five days away from kickoff in Indy.

Louisville v Georgia Tech Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images



(Opening Statement)

“I think our guys are excited to play a very competitive football game coming up this week against Indiana. Indiana is playing good football and Coach (Tom) Allen has done a good job. Definitely played tough on defense. That’s always been a strength of theirs. The Ohio State game was probably one of the Buckeyes’ most unproductive days in a long time. So they’re playing really, really good right now on defense. Offensively, they’ve found two quarterbacks that they liked. They’ve got a dynamic playmaker in the backfield. So we’re going to have our hands full. We’ve got to play good football, have a good week of practice and get ourselves ready to go.”

(Is it any more difficult to prepare for a team when you don’t know which guy is going to be the starting quarterback?)

“Well, I think they’ve done a good job getting both guys ready to play. (Tayven) Jackson, who we recruited at Purdue, is a very talented quarterback who can throw and run. Their other quarterback (Brendan Sorsby) is a good athlete as well. With the dynamic back they have in the backfield, it’s very fast and elusive. They’ve been able to mix in some option concepts as well as their normal running and passing offense. So it makes you defend a lot of different elements. Every year we’ve played Indiana in the past, it’s been a very tight football game and it goes down to the wire. So I think it makes you prepared for a lot of different things that they can throw at you.”

(What stood out to you about their defensive against Ohio State and what are some of the challenges you guys will face to throw the ball this week?)

“Indiana has always done a really good job on defense and they’ve had some really good years. They’ve played at a high level and put up good statistics. They’ll come at you in a lot of different ways, give you a lot of different looks and blitz from a lot of different areas. I think when they’re able to balance that with a productive offense, they can be dangerous. So far, they’ve shown they have talent on the offensive side of the ball as well. So it’s made them play some really good football up to this point. Our team needs to know that we’ve got to play and execute at a high level in order to win.”

(After last week’s game you said you wanted to see Jack (Plummer) throw with more conviction. How do you get a guy to make the right throws with more conviction?)

“I thought Jack made improvement from week one to week two. I thought he had a tremendous week of practice. We’ve worked on a lot of small things that I think helped him. As you look back on this game, between a few coaching errors and things that we can get cleaned up. Continuing to work on throwing on time and driving the football and trusting what he sees – that’s what we got to do. We’ve shown the ability that we can run the football, we have good running backs. We have a couple of weapons that we like on offense and some others that are continuing to improve. He’s got to be the leader and the general of it. We need him to be efficient and to play with conviction and to play with confidence and trust what he sees and drive the football in there. So we’ll work again, specifically on a couple of things this week to make sure that we’re continuing to improve there but he’s a great kid. He works really hard and he wants to do well. We just have to put as much pressure on him in practice to make all these throws on time. Standing there, keeping his feet on balance and carrying that over to the game.”

(On defense, the safety position has been one we’ve talked about being short on guys, M.J. (Griffin) and (Josh) Minkins got hurt. What did you see out of those guys in the first two games? Any update on Minkins? Devin was one of the first transfers you got and he really stepped up the other night.)

“Well, yes. We have been hit there to a certain degree. I think Devin Neal plays extremely hard. He can tackle. He has played a lot of football in the past. He’ll give us everything he’s got. I think Cam’Ron Kelly did some really good things. There were a couple of times we wanted him to trigger faster on certain calls we have, so we have to continue to work through that. He had a great week at practice last week. Anytime we have a new system, it takes him a little while to get going. He didn’t get here until after the spring, so we have to continue to speed up that process. When it comes to Josh, we’re continuing to progress him. Whether he’s ready for the game or not is still too early to tell.”

(Because of a freestyle plan, Isaac (Guerendo) got more opportunities. How much do you do with a home run hitter such as Jawhar (Jordan)? Does that give you options as a play caller?)

“Well, for sure. It’s nothing more as a play caller then asking who are our best playmakers and let’s make sure they get their touches. Whether that’s running backs, tight ends, receivers, they have to get their touches. If we’re any good coaches at all, that is the simplistic way of doing it. It’s just making sure the ball hits their hands. I think Jawar is showing split display playmaking ability. Isaac runs hard and he has good hands. He lowers pads and he tries to run people over. Maurice (Turner) is a good player as well. He has a little bit of both of those skills. So getting them in the game is critical and making sure that we’re aware who is in there and what they do well. When the game is over, their hands need to be on the ball so many times. Otherwise, I’ve not done a good job as a coach.”

(After two games, are there any things about your team that surprised you in a good way? And are there any things in particular you’ve been concerned about?)

“We tried to correct things from week one, which I think we made some progress there, obviously. Now the competition heats up, and we’ll see exactly what we’re made of. Defensively, getting lined up, getting set, and letting our guys play sounds simple, but we have to make sure we get that done. Finding ways to get after the quarterback and pressure the quarterback more, it’s important that we find ways to get that done. Creating some turnovers I think would be critical, making sure we figure that out. Offensively, I think it’s just trying to be as efficient as we can and eliminate some silly penalties that we had. When we have the opportunity for big plays, we have to hit them. So I think we need to continue to work through that because as we play the team’s coming up on our schedule, you have to hit those plays when they’re there. So I just think working through that. We’ve been pretty steady on special teams, at least gaining a slight edge each week. So if we could create a couple of huge plays there it would be beneficial, but if not, at least, being consistent in gaining a slight edge will be vital to success. I just think all three components matter. We continue to look in the mirror and try to fix some problems we’ve had as coaches the first couple of weeks and put the best plan together to get ready for this game.”

(You mentioned how critical it is to get the running backs involved. Through the first few games, you’ve actually run the ball a lot more than you guys have passed it so far. Is that something you expected heading into this season, granted how much your offensive scheme relies on passing the ball?)

“I’ve learned over the years in order to win at a high level, you need to be able to do both. Now, some games will dictate what you have to do more of and what you don’t have to use more of, but you have to at some point be able to do both. You’ll have games where whatever happens, you’re not winning and you’re behind, you’re going to have to throw the ball. So you have to be able to throw the ball at some point, you can’t just always play from in front even though that’s a great advantage if you can, but you have to be able to throw the ball. But at the same time, you have to be able to run the ball. There are numerous ways people can play coverage, drop guys, extra guys in coverage, and force you to run the ball. You have to be able to run the ball. There are certain times in third and short, goal line, when you have a lead, you have to be able to run the ball. So I just think you have to be able to do both, and that’s what the great teams can do. So who are our playmakers will dictate whether we throw it more or run it more and then of course, you know, for example, in the second half of Georgia Tech, we wanted to come out and run the ball more. We were not as efficient at passing the ball. We wanted to rely on that to kind of get us back in rhythm, and I think that helped us. I just think you have to work on both and be good at both if you want to win at a high level.”