INDIANAPOLIS — None of Northwestern’s representatives have come across as particularly savvy in the weeks since Pat Fitzgerald’s brief suspension and eventual firing.

President Michael Schill is very clearly in over his head. Athletic director Derrick Gragg is following the adage that it’s better to be silent and thought a fool than to speak and remove any doubt.

Enter David Braun.

Northwestern’s accidental coach has no shortage of challenges in front of him in the coming weeks and months. But his first public appearance as the Wildcats’ leader revealed a person who is clearly comfortable with chaos swirling around him.

Which makes sense.

The first thing Braun shared with the media was that his wife is pregnant with their third child, who is due to be born this coming weekend. All in the midst of Braun abruptly getting his first head coaching job at any level of football.

“Never could I have imagined, nor did I desire becoming a head coach under these circumstances,” Braun said.

Chaos is nothing to this man. It’s his daily existence.

“I’ve never been this far outside of my comfort zone before,” he noted.

Yet he’s the type of guy who believes he’s outside of that comfort zone for a reason.

“The circumstances are not dream scenarios, but they have crystalized our family’s purpose,” Braun said. “As a family, our mission, [my wife] and I truly believe that football is the ultimate vehicle to have a positive impact on young men.”

Clearly, football is alleged to have had a negative impact on multiple former Wildcats. Braun isn’t running from that reality.

“This obviously has been a very difficult time for our team, our staff, our current and former players impacted, our alumni, the university, and the broader Northwestern community,” he said.

And that wasn’t all he said.

Braun’s opening statement lasted some 10 minutes — about twice as long as every other coach — before opening the floor to questions.

By the time Braun finished his filibuster, there was only time left for 4 questions. And one of them was wasted by some doofus who asked about how weather impacted last year’s Ohio State game, which Braun had no part in. Braun owes that guy a good-luck poncho. (Braun did later face reporters for a full 30-minute grilling later in the afternoon.)

For a guy who has never been a head coach, or even served as an assistant at the FBS level until January, Braun’s display of media savvy was remarkable.

As a media member, that’s the type of thing we usually find annoying. But in this case, it was hard not to be impressed by the rookie flashing veteran moves. You don’t learn how to do that as Culver-Stockton’s defensive coordinator. It must come from within.

That’s a small nugget, but an illuminating one. Braun is a clever operator. He isn’t going to do anything that will make matters even worse for Northwestern — a trait that neither of his bosses has thus far demonstrated.

When finally asked directly about safeties coach Matt Macpherson, who was named as a witness to hazing by a former player, Braun deferred and pivoted forward.

“I won’t speak to current allegations. I fully trust that our university is going through a process and will make decisions based on the facts,” Braun said. “What I can speak to is how proud I am of the way that our team has come together with all this stuff swirling around our football team. There’s absolute resolve and confidence from our leadership within our team of how we’re going to move forward.”

To many, that’ll come across as a cop-out. But what else do you want him to say?

Braun hasn’t even been through a single training camp at Northwestern. That’s where most of the hazing allegedly occurred. His business is keeping tabs on who does what moving forward, not who did what prior to his arrival. That’s an issue for the administration.

And for the most part, they’ve said very little.

For Northwestern fans and alums desperately looking for leadership, Braun appears capable of filling the void.

“I told our players a couple weeks ago — moving forward it is my ultimate purpose to make sure the 4 people back home are taken care of, and beyond that, I’m here to support and serve them moving forward,” Braun said. “Through 1-on-1 meetings with a majority of our team, I have found a team that has come together, that truly loves one another, and has an incredible resolve to attack the 2023 season and write their own story about overcoming adversity.”

Notably, none of those players were in attendance at Media Days. Nor should they have been. The failure of Gragg to get in front of the issue left them in a vulnerable position.

Fortunately for those players, though, they have Braun to do the talking. And the leading.

“I didn’t think I was going into the fire. I thought I was going to my dream job [as defensive coordinator] in the Big Ten,” Braun said. “I’ve been thrust into the fire.”

Ironically, there are parallels between this situation and Fitzgerald’s own head coaching debut. Fitz took the helm in the middle of summer after Randy Walker died in 2006.

Now Braun finds himself in similar, though thankfully not identical, shoes.

That doesn’t mean Braun will still be here a decade from now. Or even a year from now. The overall situation at Northwestern demands wholesale changes in the coming year.

But for this year, Braun looks like the right man for the critical moment that’s meeting Northwestern. And that’s the first good thing that’s happened to the Wildcats all month.