Questions from the Other Side: Purdue Exponent Sports Editor Conner Klotz

Minnesota faces off against Purdue in West Lafayette, Indiana Saturday.

Drew Cove

For this weekly column, the Minnesota Daily will interview someone knowledgeable about Minnesota’s next opponent. This week, the Gophers are playing Purdue. The Daily talked this week with Conner Klotz.

Klotz is the sports editor for the Purdue Exponent, the student newspaper at Purdue.

After finishing 3-9 last season, what looks different about the Boilermakers now that they are 2-2 this season?

The biggest difference besides the coaching staff is that they look like they actually want to be playing football. They’re playing hard, they’re chasing the ball, they’re playing all 60 minutes, which is a very small thing in the grand scheme of things, but compared to the last three or four years for [the] Purdue football program, it’s made all the difference.

[With] a new head coach this season, … what difference has he brought to the program so far?

[Jeff Brohm] brings an offensive focus which is a lot different. Purdue, and the Big Ten in general, is known for the ground and pound offense with high-quality defense, and he definitely brings a good defense with him, but part of the reason bringing him here was to return to the “Drew Brees [at] Purdue” days where the offense was the forefront of the team, when they could score points. It’s something that the fan base was looking for.

What has been the difference between the two losses and two wins this season?

Winning the turnover battle and having a balanced offense [was key]. In the opening game against Louisville, [Purdue] threw the ball [between] 40-45 times, and probably only ran it 15 times. In the two wins, there was a lot more balance. The offensive line could get push up front, which allows more space to work with the offense.

How have both David Blough and Elijah Sindelar contributed at quarterback this season?

In most two quarterback systems you have the one guy who is a pocket passer, and the other guy who’s more of a mobile threat. This system, it’s actually not like that. Blough is a little bit more mobile, just because he’s smaller and a little bit faster. They both have good arms, they’re both smart, [and] they can both see the field. Sindelar is more of your prototypical guy, he’s 6 feet 3 inches, 230 pounds, if he gets hit, he can take it maybe a little bit better than Blough. It’s just whoever has the hot hand, whoever is scoring the points at the time, that’s who [Brohm] is going to go with.

Two players, Jacob Thieneman and Ja’Whaun Bentley will sit out the first half against Minnesota due to targeting calls against Michigan, what does that mean for Purdue’s defense in the first half?

It’s not ideal. Bentley is the best player on the defense, and Thieneman had been a really good surprise at safety. He’s usually top two or three in tackles after each game. They are the bulk of the tackle production on defense. Having them miss the first half of an important game is not ideal, but the problem with Bentley also being out, is that there’s not a lot of depth at linebacker.

Who is one player you think has been slept on and is someone the Gophers should watch out for?

Jackson Anthrop, he is a redshirt freshman, not very big, he doesn’t look that fast but he’s got three or four touchdown passes. He’s not physically imposing, but definitely look out for him getting involved early and for Purdue to try and keep getting him involved.

What do you think Purdue’s record, both overall and in conference, will be at the end of the season?

Probably 5-7. Indiana and Minnesota are the two games [they] have that I would call ’50/50′ games. All the other games are ‘yeah, [they] can probably win,’ or ‘yeah, [they’ll] probably lose.’ So 5-7 and then 3-6 in the Big Ten probably.

What is your prediction for the result of the game this Saturday?

I’m going to go 27-24 Purdue. I think it will be very close, and if Purdue can win the turnover battle, then I think they’ll pull out. If they lose the turnover battle, then it’s definitely possible that Minnesota gets out of here with a win.