Iowa Football

Purdue football coach Jeff Brohm out for game against Iowa after testing positive for COVID-19

Purdue coach Jeff Brohm yells to an official during a game last season. (Michael Conroy/Associated Press)
Purdue coach Jeff Brohm yells to an official during a game last season. (Michael Conroy/Associated Press)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Jeff Brohm said he figured something was up over the weekend.

The Purdue head football coach had a few days last week of feeling very tired and exhausted. Tired and exhausted is just part of being a coach, of course, especially right now as the Big Ten Conference prepares to kick off its truncated 2020 season this weekend.

“I didn’t really know for sure what was happening,” Brohm said Monday in a Zoom conference with reporters. “It wasn’t until Saturday that it really started to kick in, and that’s when the cold chills, the sweating, the body aches, a little bit of chest tightness, really all the symptoms you hear about took place. I knew that I was probably not in good shape right then and probably would have a positive test the next day.”

Which he did. Brohm confirmed he has COVID-19 and most likely will miss Purdue’s home game against Iowa.

He said he will continue to assist in preparations for Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. game, albeit remotely. Co-offensive coordinator Brian Brohm, Jeff’s brother, will take over as acting coach.

“Really now it’s about getting healthy,” Jeff Brohm said. “I think in the next couple of days I’ll be over all this. Right now, I have the normal symptoms that you hear about, and I think sometimes you just kind of have to provide understanding that you need to get a little more rest than you’re used to, pounding the fluids and taking whatever medication you need to get back to normal. Unfortunately it got me, and now I’ve just got to recuperate as fast as I can.”

Brohm is the eighth FBS head coach to contract COVID-19, joining Kansas’ Les Miles, Florida’s Dan Mullen, Florida State’s Mike Norvell, Toledo’s Jason Candle, Arkansas State’s Blake Anderson, UCLA’s Chip Kelly and Arizona’s Kevin Sumlin. Alabama’s Nick Saban initially had a rapid test that was positive last week but three subsequent PCR follow-up tests were negative, and Saban coached his team this past Saturday against Georgia under the assumption his intial test was a false positive.

The Big Ten’s rules call for any player testing positive to be out of action for 21 days, while coaches are subject to regular CDC recommendations, which are for a 10-day self isolation.

“It’s unfortunate, and it’s not ideal timing, but that’s the way the world works today,” Brohm said. “I think our team is in great position right now to move forward. We’ve done a lot of good work up to this point, a lot of good practices, and I think our team is ready to play.”

Brohm and Purdue athletics director Mike Bobinski said there are no plans right now to cancel Saturday’s game. Bobinski said since Purdue implemented the Big Ten’s daily rapid testing system, no player has had a positive test.

“The program, the system in general has been really, really well executed,” he said. “I appreciate very much ... our local staff has done a great job of testing, and we feel really, really confident in the approach and what is getting done. We also feel confident on a day-to-day basis on how we are trying to be safe. But, nevertheless, this just indicates how uncertain this circumstance is for all of us. The fact that the virus finds itself to where it finds itself in ways you can’t predict and sometimes can’t always protect against is where we sit.”

Brohm said he was unsure how he contracted the virus but did say a family member had also tested positive.

“We’ve still got to take precautions, and we are in our building right now,” Brohm said. “There have been things pop up here and there in the last month or two that we’ve had to be very cautious about. We are going to continue to do that. So while we still do have the daily rapid testing, we still have to do some precautions in our building to make sure ...”

In a football-related matter, Brohm said Purdue defensive back D.J. Johnson had his appeal to the NCAA to be allowed to play immediately OK’d, and Johnson will be available for Saturday’s game. The sophomore corner transferred from Iowa in the offseason.

As potential fallout from Sunday’s news that eight former players are threatening a lawsuit aginst Iowa and demanding the dismissals of head coach Kirk Ferentz, assistant Brian Ferentz and athletics director Gary Barta due to race discrimination, recruit Jordan Oladokun said Monday on Twitter he is decommitting from Iowa.

Olakodun is a three-star defensive back from Florida

“This is one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make in my 18 years of living,” Oladokun tweeted. “Right now we’re going through one of the hardest things in this world and that’s racism. I feel like I wouldn’t be doing my part if (I) stood around and stayed pretending these issues are not occuring. I will be decommitting from Iowa and opening my recruitment to ALL schools. I can’t thank Iowa enough for taking a chance on me! #BlackLivesMatter”

Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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