From UConn to Purdue, Coyle wants to make most of last season
Purdue turned the page at defensive coordinator after 2019, replacing Nick Holt with Bob Diaco. And, so far through a 2-1 start, Jeff Brohm has been pleased.
"We've just got to continue to improve," said Brohm this week. "Our defense gave us opportunities in the second half (vs. Northwestern) to get the ball back and drive down and score and tie up the game but we didn't take advantage of it. I think it's a combination of all of us tightening things up, getting better as we go on."
Purdue's defense received a boost Saturday from the debut of UConn grad transfer Tyler Coyle, who missed the first two games dealing with a foot injury suffered a week before the first game. He also became a father to a baby girl this fall.
"I thought Tyler did some good things," said Brohm. "You could tell he was a little rusty at first. But I think he plays hard. He likes football. He's a great teammate. He'll continue to get better."
The 6-2, 215-pound Coyle plays an outside linebacker role--the DOG. A role he shares with sophomore Jalen Graham.
"This year, I play the DOG position," said Coyle, who gets to guard slot receivers. "It's like a little hybrid linebacker/safety."
Coyle played 10 snaps on defense and was credited with a tackle in Purdue's 27-20 loss to Northwestern. He also was involved on special teams as a return man.
"He's a good tackler," said Brohm. "And he's played a lot of football. And he knows Coach's (Bob Diaco) system. I think having him in there will help our football team."
Coyle was recruited to UConn by Purdue defensive coordinator Bob Diaco in 2016, when Diaco was head coach of the Huskies. Current Purdue co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach Anthony Poindexter also was at UConn as DC and safeties coach in 2016. That season, Coyle redshirted in Storrs. Diaco left after 2016, while Coyle remained for the next three seasons and started 30 games. Coyle's familiarity with that duo made opting to come to Purdue easier.
"I wanted to come back and ultimately link up with coaches I knew," said Coyle. "I knew Coach Poindexter and Coach Diaco. I felt like this was the right fit for me."
Said Poindexter: "I had a relationship with the kid, along with Coach Diaco. "We both had a relationship with the kid. Even before Coach D got here, we knew he was in the transfer portal and I reached out to him to see if he'd be interested. I think it was pretty much a no-brainer when Coach D got here. He knew the system. If he had one more year to play, he'd like to play for us. It actually ended up being a good fit for us."
Coyle led the Huskies in tackles in 2018 and 2019, leaving UConn having made 261 tackles with three interceptions. The Windsor, Conn., native opted to spend his final season in West Lafayette after not doing much winning with UConn.
The last three seasons, the Huskies compiled an aggregate 6-30 record under Randy Edsall. UConn cancelled its 2020 season due to COVID-19. Coyle hopes to taste victory this season. He'll get a chance to do that when Purdue plays at Minnesota on Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET on BTN.
"Absolutely," he said. "That's why I came here."
Purdue is No. 8 in total defense in the Big Ten (408.0 ypg). The Boilermakers are No. 8 vs. the run (150.7 ypg) and No. 13 vs. the pass (257.3 ypg). In the most vital stat of all, Purdue is No. 6 in scoring defense (23.7 ppg). And the Boilers have seven takeways. With Coyle on hand, those defensive numbers could be on the up-tick. At least that's the hope.
"He did exactly what I expected him to do (in his debut vs. Northwestern)," said fifth-year senior safety Brennan Thieneman. "Come in, fly around, make plays. He's a good player with a lot of capabilities. So, I expect a lot of good things from him in the future."
Copyright, Boilers, Inc. 2020. All Rights Reserved. Reproducing or using editorial or graphical content, in whole or in part, without permission, is strictly prohibited.