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Jeff Brohm Previews Season Opener Versus Georgia Tech

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – August 28, 2023 – By: Rocco Gasparro

University of Louisville head coach Jeff Brohm previewed the season opener against Georgia Tech on Friday at 7:30 p.m. with his first press conference of the season on Monday.

Here is what Brohm had to say about the 2023 season opener.

Head Coach Jeff Brohm Opening Statement
We’re excited to get things kicked off this Friday evening and I’m sure everyone’s excited to get the college football season started. I know some games started this past weekend, but you know our guys have worked hard, put in a lot of work and now you have to go put it into action and trust the preparation that you had and go out there and perform because, you know, he got to come through on game day and pass the test. So I think, you know, like every team, you’re excited to get started, and we are, and you’ll see what you’re made of. Each week will be a weekly test to see what you can do and how you can win a football game, but I know we’re excited to get things kicked off down in Atlanta. I think Georgia Tech will be hungry, will be well prepared. Coach (Brent) Key played at Georgia Tech, so he’s going to take a lot of pride in preparing this team. They made improvements while he was the head coach, and had a Top 25 win along the way, and without question, they’re going to be hungry, and normally the hungriest team has a chance to win the football game.

(Jeff, obviously, you want to start off with kind of a non-conference game to kind of get things going, but with this being a conference game, how much of a sense of urgency does that put on you guys to get out and obviously go 1-0?)
Well, it’s very important. Every conference game matters and every game matters really, but you have to be prepared to go on the road, always. You have to be able to overcome things along the way. This will be the first time for a lot of guys playing together, so you have to keep your focus, you have to trust your confidence, and trust your preparation. You have to be confident when you take the field. You have to go out there and execute. Like I said, we try to put as much pressure on our guys in practice to perform and in a lot of different situations, you hope that it carries over to the game. Game one, you hope that you’re able to adjust and adapt along the way whether things are going good or bad, and that’s what we’re going to have to prove. So, I think each week is an opportunity and a chance to prove yourself and if you’re not ready for the challenge, you’re going to lose the football game. That’s how college football works now, so you have to be up for the challenge and ready to play as hard as you can for four quarters.

(Given the special circumstances with you coming back to your hometown, does the opener feel any different for you?)
Well, I think so. I mean, without question, my nerves will be going. You want to do well, you want to try and win the football game, please a lot of people, and you want to get off to a good start, and that’s always going to be the goal. You have to go back and go through things and make sure you’re as ready as you can be. But then you’ve just got to go out there and play and coach. Be positive with your players, build their confidence, and help them achieve their best. Each week is different. It’s funny, sometimes you’ll go into games feeling really good and it’s not a great outcome. Sometimes you’ll go in there really, really worried and you find a way to win. I just think you have to be able to use your experience and get our guys to play hard, stay focused, be tough, be smart, and not do silly things that hurt us along the way, as far as penalties and turnovers, things that can’t happen, because you only have so many possessions and you have to take advantage of it. Yeah, it’s an important game for us.

(Openers are always a guessing game. This year, with name, image, and likeness, and so many transfers, and so many firsts for you and your team, is it hard to get your arms around where you are, and where everybody else is for that matter?)
I think we know our football team now. We’ve been together for a long time. Yes, there were new faces that we added this summer, but we’ve had a chance to be with them basically since sometime in the summer throughout fall camp, and you know what? You’ve got to go out and play and you have to have your starters ready, your backups ready, you’ve got to be able to play as many guys as you can that prove that they’re ready to get on the field, and you have to go let him play. I just think that you know, throughout the season, you’re going to lose a few guys here and there. You’ve got to be able to adapt and get the next guy ready and hopefully, he already is ready. But it’s just, you know, college football and that’s what makes it fun and exciting. Any given day, anybody can win and the team that wants it the most and is the hungriest usually finds a way to come out in the end.

(When it comes to Jack (Plummer), you’ve mentioned just how smart he is, and how much he knows this offense. But there’s another side to that, he’s got to be more patient sometimes within the offense. Have you seen that from that last scrimmage and moving forward?)
Jack (Plummer) has done a really good job. He’s got game experience. He’s played a lot of football. He wants to win. I think just with anybody, you got to get your quarterback to relax, you got to get them in a rhythm early. You have to get him feeling good about seeing things well, boosting his confidence, and getting them off to a good start. And if you do that, normally, things will carry over and the game will end the way you want. But you know what? Sometimes, it may not happen and you got to be able to adjust along the way. So I just think we’ve tried to prepare Jack as much as we can. He’s got to be smart and understand that if we get in a situation where we need some big plays, he can’t do it all himself. He’s got to get it to our playmakers, give the big plays a chance but know where the outlets are, be smart, use his feet, and not turn the ball over. So I just think it’s about becoming a solid experienced quarterback, and he’s battle-tested, and we feel confident he’ll play a good game.

(Going into game week, do you like the health of where your team is overall, and any other additional news there?)
I think so. Like everybody, we have a few guys that won’t be participating in the game, and, you know, we’ve tried to manage that as well as we can, and we’ll be able to adjust. We’ll have some more happen throughout the season, but I feel good that we’ve built depth at quite a few positions. Hopefully, at those positions, you’ll see multiple guys in the game throughout the entire game, and if we can do that successfully, it’ll make us a better football team. But I feel good that you know, other than a few guys here and there, we’re as strong as we can be.

(Back when you played for Coach Schnellenberger, were there two or three things that he would focus on with you guys as the season started that were the most important, and are any of those things items that you stress today?)
Well, we could talk for a long time about that. I think Coach (Howard Schnellenberger) was great at preparing his teams to take on anybody. We practiced hard, we practiced long. We got after it in practice, so that when we got to the game, it would come easy to us, and so, we do that as much as we can, but you can’t go overboard with that nowadays. We used to practice three times a day and that was fine, but the bodies can’t hold up as much as they used to, I think, and nowadays guys prepare year-round. So we try to be smart and get guys to the game healthy as much as we can. I think when it comes to us, you know we throw a lot at our guys. You want to be prepared, you want to have bullets ready to go. But in the end, we narrow it down to just three things as we take the field, and that’s three things that we think are visible to the common fan, and we have to win these three things no matter what else happens to have a chance. That is playing harder than the other team, and to me, you can tell if a team is playing hard by watching on TV or in person. We have to play tougher than the other team, which means guess what, it’s not always going to go the way you want. So whether you’re up at 10 or down by 21, are you still going to play hard, that’s the ability to be tough throughout the entire game and never give in and never quit, and that’s visible to the common eye. Then you’ve got to be smarter than the other team, meaning we can’t have the 15-yard penalties. We can’t have the things that set us back. We can’t have offsides and misalignments and false starts and things that really set you back and put you in a jam. So we have to be the smarter team. And I think if you win those three things, which is visible to the common fan as well, if you win those three things, you’re going to have a chance to win a football game, and that’s what we really want to make sure as we get close to game time that we find a way to get that done. It’s not easy, because the other team is going to try to do the same thing, but you have to find a way to win in those three things.

(I know your last couple of seasons at least, you got more involved with the defense than you had been earlier in your career, how involved are you with your Louisville defense?)
I’m involved, I think I’ve learned lessons along the way. We want our team to have the personality that we want to take on, which is aggressive in our approach. We want to be in attack mode, we want to not be on our heels. And that needs to be in all three segments, offense, defense, special teams. I feel confident in our defensive coaches and the plan they put together. You know, we want to really just put our players in the best position to have success and we want them to make plays and not be scared to make a mistake. Go for the sack, go for the tackle for loss, go for the interception, and really be aggressive in that approach. So I just think it’s important that whatever knowledge I have, I try to spread it to our coaches, whatever knowledge our coaches have, we spread it to each other, and we utilize that. I just think, you know, we’ve had some good moments throughout the last few years that you try to use that experience, and we’ve had some other moments that we’ve had our teeth knocked in, that you try not to allow that to repeat. So that’s what we have to piece together, and go out there and try to win each and every week.

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