Brohm: Elijah Sindelar has a "slight concussion"
Elijah Sindelar is coming off a big effort in Purdue’s 42-24 win vs. Vanderbilt. He looked like an All-American.
The fifth-year senior won Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors after hitting 34-of-52 passes for 509 yards with five touchdown throws and a rushing TD. But Sindelar’s status for this Saturday night’s visit from TCU is murky after he suffered what Jeff Brohm called a “slight concussion."
“I think it was a concussion, a slight concussion,” said Brohm at his Monday press conference. “We will monitor and see how he passes all the tests and go through the proper protocol and hopefully get him back if he’s ready to go.”
Sindelar appeared to get hurt on Purdue's final offensive play, when he apparently got hit in head after a short run.
If Sindelar can’t go, Purdue will turn to redshirt freshman Jack Plummer who has never taken a snap.
"We are very confident in Jack," said Brohm. "He would have had to go in (Saturday) if we had extended the game longer. He has had good weeks of practice, he has improved. He has some moxie to him, some athleticism."
Sindelar isn’t the only player Brohm is worried about. Right guard Matt McCann left Saturday’s game with an injury.
“He is probably the one we are most concerned about,” said Brohm. “We are getting more tests that were done today that will give us a further grasp of where he is at. Yes, we have concerns about his availability.”
When McCann left the Vanderbilt game in the first half, sophomores Mark Stickford (43 snaps) and DJ Washington (12) played right guard.
“It was good to get Mark in the game, it was good to get DJ Washington in the game,” said Brohm. “I think you may see a few more guys get in the mix if we aren’t getting done what we need to get done.
"Mark is big. Not the most athletic guy. He can occupy space, loves football, competes hard. DJ has a little big more athleticism, maybe not as great a grasp of what we are doing. Both guys can help us and contribute.”
Brohm was pleased overall with how the line played vs. Vanderbilt.
“They did a very good job,” he said. “Did we do what we need to in the running game? No. It’s not all them. It’s a combination of me and everything. We just have to work hard to get better.
“I do think this past week was encouraging. I thought Vanderbilt was a good defense. We were able to put up some good yards in the passing game and gave up no sacks. That’s an accomplishment.”
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Where's the offensive balance?
Much has been made about Purdue’s offensive imbalance. In the win vs. Vanderbilt, the Boilermakers threw for 509 yards and ran for only 31 yards on 18 carries. Regardless, Purdue won, 42-24.
“The key to winning is scoring points,” said Jeff Brohm. “So, whatever that takes. We’d love to be good in both (running and passing). We wanna score points and win games. Yes, putting all the pressure on the passing game is what we’d prefer not to do. But at the same time, if that’s gonna help us score points and win, we aren’t gonna be stubborn. We aren’t gonna force the issue.”
Purdue ranks No. 125 out of 130 schools in the nation in rushing (63.5 ypg) and is No. 3 in passing (466.0 ypg).
“Elijah is a very streaky, he can get in a rhythm,” said Brohm. “Throughout his history, when we have been very balanced, he hasn’t played as well. When he has thrown a lot, I think he’s played better.”
Sindelar has thrown a lot in 2019, as he leads the nation in attempts (104), completions (68), yards (932) and touchdowns (9).
Talking TCU defense
TCU brings a reputation for playing tough defense under 20th season head coach Gary Patterson. And Jeff Brohm is concerned.
“They move around, they shift, they stunt,” said Brohm, who battled Patterson when he was an assistant at Louisville. “That’s the most concerning thing, all of the line movement.”
“Two really good defensive tackles. Two really good corners. It will be a challenge for us on both sides of the ball. And we will have to gain some advantage on special teams. A lot of work to done this week in practice.”
On offense, TCU—which played two quarterbacks in its opener—likes to spread out defenses.
“They will do a lot of things you are gonna have to defend in space,” said Brohm. “That is something we have to get better at. We are pretty decent when guys load the box … We have to get better when teams spread the field and that means a mixture of playing coverage. But it’s still a mixture of getting after the quarterback.
“This past week, we blitzed more, we affected the quarterback, got pressure on him, we got sacks and we still got hits. We have to be smart in our approach and stay on the attack, making sure we don’t let the quarterback get comfortable.”
The Horned Frogs were off last week after beating Arkansas-Pine Bluff 39-7 in the opener.
Say "hello" to Jack Sullivan
Purdue has liked how its defensive line has played. This past week, the staff rotated players liberally, using eight linemen. And 6-5, 270-piund redshirt freshman Jack Sullivan turned heads with three passes broken up for his tackle spot.
“Been wanting to get Jack in more,” said Jeff Brohm. “Think he has done a good job in practice. Think he gives us athleticism and length. Maybe he isn’t quite the weight or strength you want at this point, but he’s still developing. He has a bright future. It is good see him and more guys play on the defensive front. I think it helped us.”
One lineman who has yet to play is 6-3 sophomore Jeff Marks, one of the a handful of true freshmen who played in 2018.
“Jeff is the next guy up,” said Brohm. “He has shown some good things ... wanna get him in the mix more. He isn’t at the weight we want. We don’t think weighing 250 pounds is where he needs to be at. But I think he realizes that. Before, I don’t think that meant as much to him. He has some quickness and elusiveness, but he still has to have some push.”
Where will Nick Holt be on Saturday?
Much has been made about where defensive coordinator Nick Holt has been positioned during games. Surprisingly, he was situated in the press box in the opening loss at Nevada. But Holt was back on familiar ground last week in the win vs. Vanderbilt. Will Holt be back on the sideline again this week?
"That would be the guess going into this game," said Jeff Brohm. "I think it would be a good guess."
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