A Quarterback at the Helm of the Cradle
Dec. 15, 2016


 

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Cradle of Quarterbacks is being led by a fellow signal-caller for the first time in nearly half a century.

Jeff Brohm, who played quarterback collegiately at Louisville and for seven seasons in the National Football League, was hired Dec. 5 as the 36th full-time head football coach in Purdue history. He is widely regarded as one of the most innovative offensive masterminds in college football.

"Purdue is known as the Cradle of Quarterbacks, and that history is very enticing," Brohm said. "We will play a brand of football that features the quarterback's strengths. Our style will be wide open and exciting, and we think the fans will enjoy watching us play."

Brohm enjoyed an outstanding collegiate career at Louisville from 1989 to 1993. A three-year starter, he ranks among the Cardinals' career leaders in touchdown passes (sixth, 38), total offense (seventh, 5,410), completion percentage (eighth, .562), passing yards (eighth, 5,451), passing efficiency (eighth, 129.97), passing attempts (ninth, 715) and completions (ninth, 402). Brohm was voted the team's Most Valuable Player during both his junior and senior seasons, and his number 11 became part of the Louisville Ring of Honor in 2006.

Brohm played in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers (1994), Washington Redskins (1995-96), San Francisco 49ers (1997-98), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1998), Denver Broncos (1999) and Cleveland Browns (2000). In eight career games - all with the 49ers - he completed 37-of-58 passes (63.8 percent) for 353 yards with one touchdown and one interception. His best game came Oct. 27, 1996, when he completed 19-of-30 passes for 176 yards and a touchdown to lead San Francisco to a 10-9 win over the Houston Oilers. In 2001, Brohm played in the XFL for the Orlando Rage and was named first team All-XFL.

Cradle Of Quarterbacks
The Cradle of Quarterbacks has evolved over the last half century as a defining feature of Purdue football. Boilermakers have set numerous NCAA and Big Ten Conference records, many have been chosen as All-Americans and national awards winners or finalists. Three have been selected for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame (Bob Griese, Mike Phipps and Mark Herrmann), and two are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame (Griese and Len Dawson).

Fifteen former Purdue signal-callers have gone on to play in the National Football League, accumulating more starts and throwing more touchdown passes than those from any other school.

And with Drew Brees, Len Dawson and Griese as Super Bowl champion quarterbacks, Purdue is one of just two universities that can claim three Super Bowl champs at the position. (The other is Alabama with Bart Starr, Ken Stabler and Joe Namath.)

"When I look back at my time at Purdue," Brees said, "I was truly blessed to have played for a great coach, Joe Tiller, and in a great offensive system that helped prepare me for 16 successful years in the NFL. When I look at coach Brohm, I truly believe that he can bring Boilermaker football back to the forefront of the Big Ten and the excitement and passion back to Ross-Ade Stadium."

The Cradle of Quarterbacks tradition started with Bob DeMoss, who gained fame as a freshman by leading the 1945 Boilermakers to an upset of fourth-ranked Ohio State in Columbus. DeMoss went on to be Purdue's primary quarterback through 1948.

After playing one season in the NFL for the New York Bulldogs, DeMoss returned to his alma mater as quarterbacks coach from 1950 to 1969 before becoming head coach in 1970, the last signal-caller to do so before Brohm. Along the way, DeMoss recruited and developed many members of the Cradle: Dale Samuels, Dawson, Griese, Phipps and Gary Danielson.

Brohm's familiarity with the quarterback's psyche has shaped his coaching style.

"I've been fortunate enough to play the position and to be around a lot of great players and coaches," Brohm said. "It's important to me to make sure we take care of the quarterback. Normally, if you're doing that, helping him develop and putting him in a position to succeed, your team is going to play better."

"The most sensitive people on every team are the quarterbacks, so you've got to make sure that you know how to coach them, and each quarterback is different. I think if we can develop a plan where we're constantly working with our quarterbacks and players year-round to get better, daily finding ways to improve, we are going to have success."



Brohm came to the Boilermakers from Western Kentucky, where he compiled a remarkable 30-10 overall record (.750 winning percentage), including a 19-5 Conference USA mark (.792), from 2014 to 2016. The Hilltoppers were league champions in 2015 and 2016, the school's first back-to-back titles as an FBS member. They won the 2014 Bahamas Bowl (49-48 over Central Michigan) and the 2015 Miami Beach Bowl (45-35 over Miami, Fla.) and will play in the 2016 Boca Raton Bowl on Dec. 20.

The Hilltoppers averaged 44.6 points, 356.6 passing yards and 526.2 yards of total offense per game under Brohm and ranked in the top 10 nationally in scoring offense (No. 6 in 2014, No. 3 in 2015 and No. 2 in 2016), passing offense (No. 2 in 2014, No. 4 in 2015 and No. 5 in 2016) and total offense (No. 4 in 2014, No. 9 in 2015 and No. 7 in 2016) each of his three seasons.

Tom Fornelli of CBS Sports tabbed Brohm as his No. 1 college football coaching hire in the Power Five this offseason, while 247Sports gave the hire an A+.

Brohm believes his experience as a quarterback also helps when it comes to his defensive philosophy.

"I think I have an understanding of what the quarterback doesn't like to see and what he doesn't want to happen to him," Brohm said. "Whoever our defensive coordinator is, I will be in the room. I want to make sure they understand what a quarterback doesn't want to see because sometimes defensive coaches can have tunnel vision. They don't see it from a quarterback's perspective.

"That guy has the ball in his hand every play, so we've got to make sure he's uncomfortable. We hit him; we come after him. But, at the same time, nowadays you've got to be able to defend the run and the pass."


 

 

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