Purdue vs. Ohio
When: 8 p.m. today
Where: Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette
Records: Purdue 0-1, Ohio 1-0
Radio: 1380 AM, 1480 AM
INDIANAPOLIS – Jeff Brohm produced a blockbuster hit in his Purdue coaching debut.
He expects the encore to be even bigger.
The new Boilermakers coach will make his first home appearance in a rare Friday night contest against Ohio. The hope is that another impressive performance underneath Ross-Ade Stadium's bright, new lights, will keep the Boilermakers' box office hopping.
So Brohm is leaving nothing to chance.
“Any time you're playing in a setting that you haven't seen, you've got to practice in it,” he said before a night time practice this week. “We have to make sure we understand the lights – are there any glares, where's the problems if there are any and have a good feel and be comfortable that we can have good vision, see the football on both sides of it and feel good about it. Other than that, I don't think it's a huge deal.”
Actually, it's a pretty big deal.
Purdue (0-1) spent roughly $5.6 million to put in the lighting system that was completed two weeks ago. School officials are hoping it gives the Boilermakers more flexibility in scheduling, allowing them to become a semi-regular under the Big Ten's new Friday night lights policy and perhaps even generate more national television interest.
If nothing else, playing at different times could halt what has been a steady decline in attendance.
Last week's solid start against No. 16 Louisville was encouraging. But fans want to see if the Boilermakers can play lights out this time against perennial Mid-American Conference contender Ohio (1-0), which has made seven bowl appearances in eight years.
Brohm made a few adjustments to make sure his team stayed fresh on a short week.
Bobcats coach Frank Solich, meanwhile, pretty much stuck to his usual game plan.
“We paid a little bit of attention to that (short week) prior to this week, so it's not like we are starting fresh in analyzing them,” Solich said. “We are going to continue doing the same things that we have been doing. We are going to practice against their plays and defenses, but in saying that you are never sure what you are going to get.”
Especially if pulls out all the stops for his home premiere.
“We don't want to adjust too much on both sides of the ball in a short week, unless it's definitely going to help us win the football game,” Brohm said. “We've got to make sure our guys are fresh and ready to go.”
Notes: Purdue defensive tackle Lorenzo Neal will miss the first half, serving his punishment for a targeting call last weekend. ... Both teams used two quarterbacks last week, and both coaches intend to do the same this week. Ohio's Nathan Rourke was chosen the MAC East Division Offensive Player of the Week after rushing six times for 50 yards and three touchdowns. He also was 6 of 10 for 72 yards through the air against Hampton. Both Purdue quarterbacks, Elijah Sindelar and David Blough, threw two touchdown passes against Louisville. ... With Purdue running back Markell Jones out with an injured knee, Brohm plans to continue with a rotation of Tario Fuller, D.J. Knox, Richie Worship and Brian Lankford-Johnson.