Following both teams clinching their respective divisions Saturday, Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh and Purdue Boilermakers head coach Jeff Brohm took questions from the media on Sunday ahead of the Big Ten Championship.
Here are some noteworthy comments from each coach:
Harbaugh’s initial thoughts about Purdue - “My earliest thought is I’ve been watching Purdue quite a bit. Coach Brohm has done a tremendous job with the team from their very first game, and I remember being in the position that he’s in now and what that feels like. It’s just filled with optimism and in good feeling with your team. I remember the feeling last year — no one expected us to be there, and here’s this opportunity to go play in the championship game. So I know how dangerous a team like that can be and I would imagine that’s the same feelings Purdue is having.”
On getting back to Indianapolis - “What it means is just a great thrill of being able to go for a championship. There’s a time to live, there’s a time to die, but there’s never a time to reject the moment, and our players get to go through that. They get the benefit of being in that moment and having that opportunity, and that means just so much.”
On the “spoilermaker” reputation of Purdue in Brohm’s tenure - “It’s facts, and we realize it’s a big test. We haven’t played them much but we’ve certainly watched them in all the big games, all the success they’ve had, and already starting on the tape it’s pretty darn impressive. They throw the ball extremely well, we know how good (Purdue’s Charlie Jones) is, we played against him last year. He’s really good. And they’re really running the ball more effectively, too, which makes them more dangerous offensively and harder to stop.”
Brohm’s opening comments - “We’re excited here at Purdue to represent the Big Ten West and get an opportunity to play in the Big Ten Championship Game. It’s a dream come true for our football team and our players. It’s something I’m sure they’ve dreamed about for a long time, and they’ve put in a lot of hard work. We’ve gone through some ups and downs, but we’ve continued to battle and fight hard and give us great effort and belief that they could do anything, and they found a way to get there. It’s a tremendous accomplishment by them — I know they’re excited to advance to this big time game and we’re excited to play an unbelievably talented Michigan team.”
On how they’ll face the challenges Michigan provides - “Without question, they’ve proven how talented they really are. The running game is off the charts, they have an athletic quarterback who’s performing at a high level, fantastic offensive line, a plethora of tight ends that continue to come in — they play Big Ten football at it’s best. Defensively, they played lights out all year long, and it’s gonna be a challenge. So without question we’re playing if not the best team in the country, one of the top teams in the country.”
On if he’s surprised at Michigan’s old school style being effective given modern trends - “No, I think everything comes full circle. I think your best national championship teams are known for first great defense and a great running game. If you can have a great passing game with that, without question it’s gonna help. Especially in the Big Ten, to me that’s what the Big Ten is known for — great defenses and tremendous running games.”