Jeff Brohm on Elijah Sindelar: "It will be a game-time decision”
MORE: Purdue loses Bailey for season | Podcast on Markus Bailey injury | Boiling Over | Deep Dive | Weekly Word | Matchup preview: Purdue-TCU | Defense must move on without Bailey | Roundtable: Biggest surprise
Purdue’s chances for victory on Saturday night at home vs. TCU may hinge on whether quarterback Elijah Sindelar can play.
The fifth-year senior suffered a “slight concussion,” according to Jeff Brohm, in last week's home win vs. Vanderbilt. And, the Purdue coach seems optimistic he may play vs. the Horned Frogs (1-0) when the game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET in Ross-Ade Stadium.
“He is still in concussion protocol,” said Brohm after Thursday’s practice. “We are gonna let it play out. It will be a game-time decision.”
A reporter told Brohm that media saw Sindelar practice yesterday. And that raised the question: Can you be in concussion protocol and still practice?
“I don’t know the exact rule, so I don’t want to misstate anything,” said Brohm. “I know whatever the doctors say, we’ll have to go with. I just do what they tell me on that.”
If Sindelar can’t play, Purdue will turn to redshirt freshman Jack Plummer.
Sindelar isn’t the only player Brohm is worried about from an injury standpoint. Another is fifth-year senior starting right guard Matt McCann (ankle).
“We have multiple guys that will be game-time decisions,” said Brohm. “I won’t know the availability probably until right up until game time.”
Junior wideout Jared Sparks may not play, either.
“Probably not likely,” said Brohm. “We will see where he is at. It will be game-time.”
Could Sparks’ absence extend beyond Saturday?
“It’s hard to tell,” said Brohm. “It’s hard to tell on that. It’s too hard for me to tell on that.”
The injury bug already has hit the Boilermakers hard.
“Some years, you have some nicks and bruises, some years you have a little bit more than that,” said Brohm. “We have had a little bit of a rash of injuries here. We have to get them as healthy as we can and see if we can play come game time. We will do whatever is best for the individual and take care of them.”
Time for Cornel Jones to step up
Purdue suffered a big loss when fifth-year senior linebacker Markus Bailey suffered a season-ending knee injury in practice on Tuesday. How will the defense replace his leadership and production?
“I do think we have some veterans at linebacker,” said Jeff Brohm. “Cornel Jones has played a lot of football. I think he’ll step in. He has been inching to play more. So, now is his time to go out there and showcase what he’s all about. Ben Holt has done a good job for us.
“We just have to have everyone step up and play a little bit harder. I think they know their roles are gonna have to magnify just a little bit. They have to give better effort and we just have to continue to move forward. I do feel confident Cornel will be ready to play.”
Jones, a junior, played in 13 games last season and made 12 starts. He notched 69 tackles, 43 solo, including a team-high 12.5 for loss with 3.5 sacks.
Could any true freshman linebackers have their development hastened?
“I think at linebacker, Khali Saunders is a guy we are gonna get ready to play,” said Brohm. “I don’t anticipate that happening unless something else from an injury standpoint happens during the game. But we will be sure to get him ready to play.”
Another possibility, if needed, would be to move junior “Leo” Derrick Barnes back to linebacker, where he played before moving spots prior to the Music City Bowl.
“That’s definitely a possibility,” said Brohm. “We do have multiple d-linemen. So, being able to swing him both at linebacker and defensive end is for sure a possibility.”
TCU good prep for B1G action
TCU will be a big challenge for Purdue. Just ask Jeff Brohm.
“This is a good defense,” said Brohm. “Coach (Gary) Patterson is an outstanding coach. They have played a lot of great offenses in the history of him being there. I know we aren't gonna scare them one bit. They will come in and be on the attack. They press you at corner, they have two really good defensive tackles. They slant and stunt, game you and rush you from all different angles and they attack downhill. They aren’t a team that’s gonna play off and give you easy completions.
“So, yes, this will be an extreme test that we are gonna have to see what we can get going and try to create a few big plays, see how we match up and swing for the fences and see what happens.”
Brohm knows the Horned Frogs often see pass-happy offenses in the Big 12 like Baylor, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, so Purdue’s pass-pass-pass scheme won’t faze TCU. No doubt, playing a quality foe like TCU will prep Brohm’s crew for Big Ten action. Purdue will be off the week after this game and then open Big Ten play September 28 vs. Minnesota at home.
“I think it will definitely (prep us for the Big Ten),” said Brohm. “You don’t wanna go down with a rash of injuries, which has happened a little bit, but it will definitely help us prepare for very good football teams. TCU will stack up with all of the teams on our schedule as far as talent and how they play and are coached.
"So this is a great non-conference game. It doesn’t go against the conference record but it goes against our overall record. We have to find a way to win. It can be a huge momentum swing if in the end we can find a way to pull out a victory.”
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