The Purdue Boilermaker defense is looking to turn the page in 2021.
With the departure of defensive coordinator Bob Diaco, defensive linchpin Lorenzo Neal and the arrival of new DC Brad Lambert, the defense hopes to form a new identity. In his first press conference since he was hired, Lambert covered the look he wants to give the Boilermaker defense and what fans can expect from the new arrivals, saying he wanted to form an identity on defense around toughness, grit and energy.
Aggressive attack mode
Last year, Diaco schemed up a conservative defensive strategy, which allowed opposing offenses to develop a rhythm too often. This caused defensive issues, as offenses would routinely drive down the field and be able to connect on passes through soft secondary coverage.
Lambert’s idea of defense is different. He wants to play aggressively, moving players around to send “exotic” blitzes and challenging the offense at the point of attack. He predicts players will be on “attack mode,” always trying to make a play. Opponents and viewers should also expect many looks defensively as the Boilermakers aim to confuse offenses. Eventually, blitz packages will be sent from those as well. Overall, this defense is not going to play timid.
The arrival of Auburn transfer linebacker O.C. Brothers will bring new life and energy to the Boilermaker defense, Lambert said. His name popped up multiple times during interviews Friday. Even though he is new to the team, he sets the tone defensively with unmatched energy, according to personnel. Lambert even compared him to his best player when he coached at Marshall, Tavante Beckett.
As a gifted player, Brothers will likely be coming off the weak side of the defense making big splash plays in the backfield.
The new guy
Joining the formidable junior defensive end George Karlaftis on the field is another Karlaftis. Yanni Karlaftis was another high-valued recruit who Purdue landed this offseason. He stands at 6-foot-3 and has already put on more muscle since high school per the team’s spring roster. If he continues to gain muscle, he could see his position moved from a strong side outside linebacker to the middle of the field. Either way, two Karlaftis siblings on the field will make trouble for other offenses.