Purdue Boilermakers

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Utah State replaces running backs coach lost to Purdue with ex-North Carolina assistant

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Nearly three weeks after losing an assistant to a Big Ten school, Matt Wells has filled that particular hole on his Utah State coaching staff.

USU confirmed in a press release Wednesday that DeAndre Smith has been hired as the Aggies’ running backs coach. Smith replaces Mark Tommerdahl, who left last month to take over as special teams coordinator and tight ends coach at Purdue.

Last season, Smith was the running backs coach at North Carolina.

“I am extremely honored and fortunate to have this opportunity to work with Coach Wells and the rest of his staff,” a statement from Smith began. “I’m really excited about the opportunity of doing my part to help this program win a Mountain West Championship.”

Prior to his time at UNC, Smith was on the coaching staff at… Purdue, as running backs coach, of course. Smith has also served in that positional coaching role at Syracuse (2013-15), New Mexico (2012, 2008), Illinois (2010-11), UNLV (2009) and Miami of Ohio (2005-07).

One of the assistants on the Lobos’ staff during Smith’s first stint with the program? Smith’s new boss, Matt Wells, who served as wide receivers coach for the Mountain West program.

“DeAndre is an excellent addition to our football staff here at Utah State and fits well in a lot of areas with our staff,” the head coach said in his statement. “He is a tremendous football coach and does a great job coaching running backs. DeAndre is an excellent recruiter and someone that will coach our kids hard with a lot of love. We welcome DeAndre, Lori, Ryan and Donovan to our Aggie football family.”

JaMarcus Shephard adds co-OC to Purdue coaching duties

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Heading into spring practice, JaMarcus Shephard has been given a beefed-up title as part of his Purdue coaching duties.

The football program announced this past weekend that Shephard has added the title of co-offensive coordinator.  Per the school’s release, co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Brian Brohm, the brother of Boilermakers head coach Jeff Brohm, and Shephard will share the offensive responsibilities for the upcoming season.

Shephard just completed his first season in West Lafayette.  That first year, Shephard, who worked the previous season on Mike Leach‘s Washington State coaching staff, served as wide receivers coach as well as passing-game coordinator.

Purdue is coming off its best season in six years, going 7-6 in Brohm’s first year at the helm and leading the Boilermakers to their first bowl bis since 2012.  They also won their first bowl game since the 2011 season.

Purdue hires Utah State’s Mark Tommerdahl as special teams and tight ends coach

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Jeff Brohm is bringing in longtime coaching veteran Mark Tommerdahl to fill out his staff and serve as Purdue’s special teams and tight ends coach.

The Boilermakers announced the move on Saturday afternoon as Tommerdahl heads to West Lafayette after spending just a season at Utah State where he also coached running backs and ran the Aggies’ special teams. While his stay in Logan was brief, Tommerdahl has been all over the country in 34 years as a coach and is highly regarded for his work in the kicking game.

Tommerdahl has plenty of prior Power Five coaching experience and spent four seasons with Sonny Dykes at Cal where he coached three different position groups and served as assistant head coach. Prior to that he also had stops at Louisiana Tech, Texas A&M, Alabama, TCU and several other schools.

The move to bring in Tommerdahl fills the spot on the Boilermakers’ staff that was left when former Houston coach Tony Levine left after one season with the school to pursue opportunities outside of the coaching profession. Brohm’s 10th assistant Kevin Wolthausen was also given special teams responsibilities when he was elevated to a full-time role so it’s possible the team is really beefing up their emphasis on the third phases of the game with the two new coaches splitting duties when it comes to special teams.

Either way, after a surprising 2017 season that ended with a bowl game victory it’s pretty clear that Brohm is not just sitting back when it comes to his coaching staff and is bringing in some veteran names to help the team take the next step in 2018.

Purdue QB David Blough cleared for spring practice

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In a stark change from most offseason news in the sport, Purdue has something positive personnel-wise to hang its hat on moving forward.

By way of the Indianapolis Star, head coach Jeff Brohm revealed Friday that David Blough is “way ahead of schedule” and has been cleared to participate in spring practice, which kicks off this coming Monday, for the Boilermakers.  Just how much of a participant the quarterback will be remains to be seen, though.

“He’s doing a great job and he will be out there at spring practice and will be participating,” Brohm said according to the Star. ‘Whether it will be fully that remains to be seen. He will be out there Day 1 and doing some portions of practice.

“We’ve got to make sure we protect him, especially in 11-on-11 settings. We’ll see how the first week goes if we can progress on that.”

Blough suffered a dislocated ankle in a November win over Illinois and missed the remainder of the 2017 season.  At the time of the injury, it was thought that it and the subsequent recovery process would keep the junior out of spring practice.

Blough had started the two games leading up to his season-ending injury, with Brohm confirming that the rising senior will be the starter as this offseason kicks off in earnest.  Elijah Sindelar, who reclaimed the starting job after Blough’s injury, will miss spring practice as he continues to recover from a torn ACL on which he played for the last month of the regular season plus the Boilermakers’ bowl game.

Jeff Brohm stays in-house for new Purdue assistant

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When it came to filling out his Purdue coaching staff, Jeff Brohm didn’t have to look very far.

Kevin Wolthausen, the football program confirmed in a release, has been hired as the 10th of Brohm’s allotted 10 Boilermakers assistant coaches.  Per the school, Wolthausen will be working with the team’s special teams and defense.

This marks a positional homecoming of sorts for Wolthausen as he spent the 2012 season as the defensive line coach at Purdue.  Last season, Wolthausen served as a quality control coach for both special teams and defense for the Boilermakers.

In between his two stints in West Lafayette, Wolthausen was the special teams coordinator and linebackers coach at UConn in 2016; the two years prior, he was the Huskies’ defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator.

In 2013, Wolthausen was the special teams coordinator at Florida International.  The 60-year-old long-time college football assistant has also spent time on staffs at Louisville, Arizona, USC, Arizona State and Oklahoma.