Jeff Brohm was a star quarterback at Trinity High School and at the University of Louisville. Now, after years as an assistant coach at the college level, he is getting ready for his first season as a college head coach. His Western Kentucky Hilltoppers kick off the 2014 on Friday, Aug. 29, hosting Bowling Green State. Brohm, who played in the NFL and the XFL, takes over a WKU program that has won seven or more games for three straight seasons.
KENT TAYLOR: Is the excitement level different getting ready for your season opener as a college head coach?
JEFF BROHM: I’m extremely excited. I’m looking forward to it. It’s something that you put a lot of hard work into. Iâ€™ve been thinking about it all year, ever since I got the job. This summer I spent a lot of time getting ready for this first game of the season, and hopefully our team will come out ready to play and put on a good show.
TAYLOR: What are your biggest question marks heading into camp?
BROHM: We lost a lot of guys on defense. We’ve got to see where we stand defensively. Last year the defense was the strength of our team. We finished first in the conference, 14th in the country in total defense and had a couple of guys get drafted on the defensive side of the ball. Offensively, we’ve got to replace our top running back, and that’s going to be the number one thing.
TAYLOR: Antonio Andrews did so much for you on that side of the ball. How do you replace him?
BROHM: We’ve been fortunate to have great running backs. Antonio was an outstanding guy for us: durable, could catch the ball, could run the ball, very instinctive. He’s going to be a hard one to replace. We have a young guy in Leon Allen who has some strength and some speed. He’s been sitting in the wings. I think he’s very hungry. Hopefully he can go out and play well.
TAYLOR: Has Brandon Doughty taken a leadership role this summer?
BROHM: I think he’s had a very productive summer. He did well in the spring. As any quarterback does, he had some struggles last year, but he finished strong. At one point we were 4-4, we won the last four games due to his very productive play, his improved play. Two of the games we had 90-plus yard drives to win the game that he was a big part of. I think he’s gotten over the hump. He knows what he has to do to become a great player. He’s put in the time and hopefully will have a great year.
TAYLOR: How good is Bowling Green State, your opening week opponent?
BROHM: Bowling Green is actually one of the better teams on our schedule, if not the best team. They had a great season last year. They beat Northern Illinois to win the conference. They went to a bowl game. They’ve got their quarterback coming back, who is a very good player. They have new coaches coming in from Eastern Illinois. They’re bringing the Baylor-type offense that puts a lot of points on the board. It’s going to be a very challenging game. They’re picked to finish first in their conference. It’s one that we’ve talked about a lot with our players, and hopefully they come ready.
TAYLOR: Are you going to say that every week, “This could be the best team on our schedule?”
BROHM: Eventually I may, but I do know on this one, I’m telling the truth.
TAYLOR: What is the difference between being the Associate Head Coach and being the Head Coach?
BROHM: The Associate Head Coach is more of a title. Obviously the Head Coach, there are a lot of things that get involved with it. You have to get to know all your players. You have to have the pulse of the team. You have to know what’s going on, not only in their football life, but off the field, in the classroom. You’ve got to stay on top of things, make sure they’re doing everything right to be a productive player, citizen and student. Those are all things that as a position coach, you don’t have to do. You just have to worry about your guys, for the most part. That’s been challenging, but yet it’s been fun. I think the guys know me a lot better now, I know them, and when you build that relationship, they play hard for you, and that can equate to wins.
TAYLOR: How many years have you called plays?
BROHM: Just a couple years, I’ve called plays. I’ve been the coordinator. I’ve been with Coach Petrino a long time, and he’s always going to be the play caller. He does a tremendous job, but you learn a lot of things when you’re watching him prepare his team and put together a game plan. Those are the things that I’ll take for me and utilize.
TAYLOR: You will call the plays?
TAYLOR: How many games do you think Louisville will win in their first year in the ACC?
BROHM: I think Louisville has a chance to have a great year, probably even better than people think. They have a lot of talent coming back. They have a great, young quarterback who has three years left to play and grow. They have some NFL-possible players on that team, and now they have a great coach coming in. They just had two tremendous years. They beat Miami and Florida in back-to-back bowl games. I see them having a tremendous year.
TAYLOR: Honestly, who is the best quarterback in the Brohm family?