Brian Brohm Climbs the Hill

Brian Brohm is ready to begin his second season as the quarterback coach at Western Kentucky University. The younger brother of Toppers Head Coach Jeff Brohm, Brian entered the coaching ranks after an eight-year professional football career. He played in the National Football League for the Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills and in the Canadian Football League for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Brohm is the second all-time leading passer in University of Louisville history, throwing for 10,775 yards and 71 touchdowns from 2003 to 2007. He was the Most Valuable Player in the 2007 Orange Bowl. The Hilltoppers won a school record 12 games last season, including a win over South Florida in the Miami Beach Bowl. They are looking for a starting quarterback after the departure of Brandon Doughty.

What do you look for in the quarterback race – how does one guy distance himself?
We’re looking for consistency. Someone who’s going to know the offense, make good decisions and be safe with the ball but also be able to take shots when they’re there. We just want the full package, the full understanding of the offense, someone who is going to distribute the ball to the guys who are going to be able to make the plays for us. We’ve got four guys who are in the battle. Mike White, a transfer from South Florida, sat out last season. He learned a lot last season from Brandon Doughty, came in with a good knowledge of the offense and has been doing really well for us. Tyler Ferguson came in this spring. He was a little bit behind because it was the first time he had been through an install with our offense. He’s got a big arm and a lot of athletic ability. We’re looking for big things from him.

Brian Brohm. Photo by Gary Jones

Brian Brohm. Photo by Gary Jones

We have two younger guys: Drew Eckles and Steven Duncan. We’re excited about both of them, and they both have a lot of ability. We’re looking forward to seeing what these guys can bring to the table come fall camp.

How good was Brandon Doughty?
Brandon was a very good quarterback. He’s on to the next level, going to the Miami Dolphins. The thing that he did is he made quick decisions and he was accurate with the football. That’s what we’re kind of looking for from the next quarterback. We need to get the ball out of our hands, get it to the playmakers and let them make the plays.

Who has more say in picking the starting quarterback, Jeff Brohm or Brian Brohm?
The head coach has the say on who is going to be the starting quarterback, and that really goes for all positions but especially quarterback. He’s a former quarterback, former quarterback coach. He calls the plays. He’s going to have the final say on who the quarterback is. Obviously, I’m going to give my opinion and the other coaches will give their opinions because it’s such an important position. When it’s all said and done, the head guy is going to pick the guy.

You have been coached by your dad at Trinity and by your brother at UofL. What is different about coaching with Jeff?
It’s not a whole lot different. Playing for my brother, we had a lot of conversations about scheme, about how you go about your business, and it’s really kind of the same thing. I already know the way he thinks – we think kind of alike. It’s very familiar for me to jump in and be able to coach with somebody I played for, I grew up with, grew up learning from. Most of the time, I kind of already know what he’s going to say before he tells it to me.

Other than your brother, what other coaches made the biggest impact on you and influenced the way you coach?
I played for a lot of coaches who have made an impact. Obviously, Coach Petrino has had a huge impact on me. [He’s] a great coach, great schemer, great play caller and a very good preparer. If you take something from him, it’s the attention to detail, the preparation, all the little things that go into making your team a good team. You’ve got to focus on every little detail. I got to play for Mike McCarthy in Green Bay, another good coach. I got to play for Chan Gailey in Buffalo. I played for Jim Fassel when I went to the United Football League and played in Las Vegas. He’s a coach who has been to a Super Bowl. He actually coached the quarterbacks and was in the quarterback meeting room every day, so I got firsthand knowledge about the way he thinks, the way he goes about his business.

Western Kentucky won 12 games last year and people are paying attention. Is there pressure to meet those raised expectations?
Expectations are high, and I think that’s the way we like it. We went 12-2 last year and won the Miami Beach Bowl, had some big wins against some Power Five teams, and we want to keep that going. I think the players like that; it’s fun. It’s a fun atmosphere to be a part of, and we’re really just looking forward to keeping that momentum going. Our guys have been working hard. They’re not resting on their laurels. They have been trying to get better. We’ve just got to keep pushing them to make sure they keep getting better.

You played in some tense environments at Miami and Rutgers. What are you going to tell whoever wins the quarterback battle about the atmosphere he will face on September 10 at Alabama?
We want a quarterback who is playing for that environment. They want to be in that situation. We want somebody who will relish that and will love it. The big time players, they want to play in big time games and big time atmospheres. You can’t get any bigger than playing at Alabama. Week two, everyone should be fired up, ready to go with a chip on their shoulder and ready to prove something to everybody out there who’s watching. VT