football Edit

Brohm on Purdue penalty problem: 'Keep your mouth shut and play football'

Jeff Brohm knows his team has a penalty problem. And he’s doing what he can to fix it.

How bad was it in the Boilermakers’ 32-29 loss at Syracuse last Saturday? Purdue was flagged 13 times. Penalties also were an issue in a season-opening 35-31 loss to Penn State, when Purdue was penalized nine times.

“It was a long day yesterday,” said the Purdue coach at his Monday press conference. “Without question, penalties are hurting us, and you cannot win football games with the penalties that we're getting.”

Purdue (1-2 overall; 0-1 Big Ten) will get a chance to show it has cleaned up its act when it faces off vs. Florida Atlantic at 7:30 p.m. ET for Homecoming in Ross-Ade Stadium.

“So, that has to get fixed, and that starts with me,” said Brohm. “I have to make sure that happens, and we all need to do a better job, including myself, with making sure that we win the penalty battle.”

Add it up: Purdue is the second-most penalized team in the Big Ten, averaging 8.3 per game for 81.0 yards. Last year, Purdue was sixth in the Big Ten in penalties with an average of 4.5 for 42.8 yards.

The work of the Big Ten officiating crew at last week’s Syracuse game was dubious on many occasions. Brohm has sent plays into the conference office for review.

"Yes, and there's been communication with me on multiple things with the head of officials,” said Brohm, who noted two Purdue interceptions were negated by penalty calls on his team.

Purdue incurred two costly unsportsmanlike conduct penalties late in the loss to the Orange. Tight end Payne Durham and Brohm each were flagged after Purdue kicked a PAT to take a 29-25 lead with 51 seconds left.

“If you are asking my opinion, no, I don't think any of those two were merited at all,” said Brohm. “As you look at the film, we get a 15-yard penalty on an extra point with 50 seconds left in the game.”

Durham, who had caught the go-ahead 12-yard TD, got into what appeared to be a heated verbal exchange with a Syracuse player after the extra point.

“When as you look at the film, the film shows an extra point, a slight push of the other player into Payne and then both guys start jawing at each other helmet-to-helmet,” said Brohm. “Not extensive, but it's jawing for maybe five seconds.

“Then you see them start to separate on film, and then the film cuts off. At the time, the referee was moving that way but hadn't thrown a flag. I assume he threw a flag after.”

Moments later, Brohm was flagged as he sought an explanation for the penalty on Durham.

“So, as I'm trying to wave to the official who is in the very back end zone, the head referee, to come talk to me, yeah, I probably was a couple of yards on the field, but it was a break in action, the game wasn't going on,” said Brohm. “Then, all of a sudden, I see a flag thrown from down the sideline. A guy looked like he was close to the end zone, and I just assumed it was on me even though there's no way that -- I've done way worse than that.

“To me, to make two 15-yard penalty calls at that juncture, do I agree with it? No, not at all. Now, with that said, it happened, so it's my fault. It's Payne's fault. We have to take responsibility for it, and we have to be accountable for it and make sure it never happens again.”

The penalties resulted in Purdue having to kick off from its own 10-yard. After the kickoff return, Syracuse was set up at the 50-yard line. The Orange proceeded to score the winning TD on a 25-yard pass, a five-play drive assisted by pass inference and holding calls on Purdue.

"So, that was addressed with the team, and I apologized to the team for that flag and got to make sure that never happens again,” said Brohm.

The players also have to do their part.

“The chatter has to stop,” said Brohm. “It has to stop in practice. Being able to play with your own personality to a certain degree and let guys play, no, you have to keep your mouth shut. You have to keep your mouth shut and play football.

“You have to limit any celebrations. You can congratulate your teammates on plays. No, you can't be celebrating, either. We cannot get any more 15-yard penalties, including myself, including sideline warnings and on the field, those type of things. We just have to be really, really by the book and keep our mouth shut and coach and play football.”


Play man coverage or zone?

Should Purdue have been playing man coverage when Syracuse threw a game-winning 25-yard TD with seven second left?

It has caused much discussion.

"As we went into this game, we did play a little more man than we had in the past," said Brohm. "It was effective throughout the game. They did not get many passing yards."

Syracuse quarterback Garrett Shrader hit just 44 percent of his passes (13-of-29) for 181 yards, but three went for TDs. And he had no turnovers. When the chips were down late, Shrader delivered a 25-yard strike to Oronde Gadsden in the left corner of the end zone for the winning score.

"At the end of the game, when you have a lead, there has to be a fine line of knowing, 'OK, we've got to be able to play coverage with zone and zone eyes, but still cover down on all receivers and maybe not be cheating into the box for the run,' " said Brohm. "Just you have to give up the run. You've got to be able to cover all receivers with zone eyes behind.

"Then, if you want to mix in tighter coverage with man, you may need two safeties in the back and not one. We went from probably not being aggressive enough to the next time being too aggressive, and it didn't work out for us."

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