A sim­ple plan

Brady Quinn on Notre Dame’s QB rev­e­la­tion: ‘Some­times we over­com­pli­cate the po­si­tion’

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - - AROUND THE NATION - By Teddy Green­stein

Ian Book com­mit­ted to Notre Dame on Aug. 4, 2015.

A date that will live in in­famy? Per­haps. But at the time, it was hardly the stuff of text alerts.

Book was a three-star quar­ter­back re­cruit, ranked out­side the na­tional top 500, via 247sports.com.

The Sacra­mento-area na­tive had planned to at­tend Wash­ing­ton State af­ter also re­ceiv­ing of­fers from Boise State, Idaho and UN L V. Notre Dame grew in­ter­ested af­ter get­ting turned down by five-star studs Ja­cob Ea­son and Shea Pat­ter­son. The 6-foot Book threw a mod­est 18 touch­down passes in 10 games as a ju­nior.

“He has de­cent height and de­cent arm strength. He’s noth­ing spec­tac­u­lar, but he’s a good, ef­fi­cient quar­ter­back.”

That’s how CBS Sports Net­work re­cruit­ing an­a­lyst Tom Lem­ming de­scribed Book to NDIn­sider.com. And that scout­ing re­port has proved pre­scient.

“There’s a per­cep­tion of what you have to be or how you have to look as a quar­ter­back,” Brady Quinn said. “Peo­ple want this cookie cut­ter, but it doesn’t have to be.”

Quinn looked and played the part for Notre Dame, set­ting 36 team records as the school’s dash­ing quar­ter­back, listed at 6-4, 227 pounds.

Af­ter Book com­mit­ted, Quinn checked out his high­light tape on Hudl.

“I re­mem­ber think­ing: Man, this kid has re­ally good feet,” said Quinn, now an an­a­lyst for Fox Sports and CBS Sports HQ. “He seems rel­a­tively ac­cu­rate and he moves well. Ev­ery time I was up at Notre Dame, I’d ask about Ian.”

The DeShone Kizer/Ma­lik Zaire drama dom­i­nated 2016. Bran­don Wim­bush seized the job in 2017 and locked it up dur­ing fall camp. Ev­ery time Quinn asked about Book, he was told some­thing along the lines of: “He doesn’t do any­thing ex­cep­tion­ally well.”

Head­ing into Notre Dame’s 2018 sea­son, Quinn said, “We knew the de­fense would be good with­so­manyup­per­cla ss­men, which is rare now in col­lege foot­ball. We knew the quar­ter­back would have big guys to throw to and that they’d run well, even though they had to re­place a cou­ple of studs on the of­fen­sive line. The only ques­tion was quar­ter­back. And the one on the bench turned out to be bet­ter than the starter.”

Wim­bush pro­duced nar­row vic­to­ries over Michi­gan (24-17), Ball State (24-16) and Van­der­bilt (22-17) with a passer rat­ing of 114.2. He com pleted 55.3 per­cent off his passes with one touch­down pass and four in­ter­cep­tions.

Book is 3-0 af­ter romps over Wake For­est (56-27), Stan­ford (38-17) and Vir­ginia Tech (45-23), pro­duc­ing a rat­ing of 170.7 that’s 13th in the na­tion. His stats (73.3 per­cent, 9 TDs, 1 INT) jump off the page in a way that his size and tal­ent do not.

“Some­times we over­com­pli­cate the quar­ter­back po­si­tion,” Quinn said. “This is go­ing to sound like a shot at Joe Mon­tana, but he was not the most ath­letic, phys­i­cally gifted or im­pos­ing and didn’t have the strong­est arm.

“With Ian you see a kid who can play the game. He doesn’t look like he’s try­ing to process or think out there, he just plays. He moves around back there and knows where he should be go­ing with the foot ball. It’s like some­one play­ing bas­ket­ball in a con­stant fluid mo­tion.”

Said coach Brian Kelly: “A lot of the things with the quar­ter­back po­si­tion re­quire sense and feel for the game. He sees things very well.”

Take this cru­cial play from Satur­day’s vic­tory at Vir­ginia Tech (at the 1:31 mark in the video). Notre Dame led 24-16 and faced a third-and-8 from the Vir­ginia Tech 40. Book took a shot­gun snap and within two sec­onds, his pocket broke down. Book scram­bled left, draw­ing the pur­suit of two Hok­ies play­ers who aban­doned cov­er­age.

Book flipped across his body to an all-alone Miles Boykin, who mo­tored in for the score.

ESPN/ABC play-by-play man Chris Fowler hailed Book’s “im­pro­vi­sa­tional skills.”

The throw left Quinn to won­der if Book has a base­ball back­ground or is dili­gent in prac­tic­ing what he called “funny-arm” throws.

“He didn’t even have to get his shoul­ders square,” Quinn said. “He just flicked it.”

Book will make his fourth straight start Satur­day for the Ir­ish, who play Pitt. So­cial me­dia was ablaze Mon­day about a ru­mor that Book would be sus­pended be­cause of an aca­demic is­sue. Kelly shot that down.

ESPN’s Play­off Pre­dic­tor gives Notre Dame a 62 per­cent chance to make col­lege foot­ball’s Fi­nal Four. Only Ohio State (74 per­cent), Clem­son (73) and Alabama (72) are given higher hopes.

The Ir­ish are no longer just scrap­ing by. They are pro­duc­ing dom­i­nant vic­to­ries be­hind Book.

That’s a de­vel­op­ment few saw com­ing.

[PHO­TOS BY STEVE HELBER/THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS]

Notre Dame quar­ter­back Ian Book (12) makes a throw dur­ing the sec­ond half against Vir­ginia Tech on Satur­day in Blacks­burg, Va. The Ir­ish won 45-23.

NotreDame quar­ter­back Bran­don Wim­bush,left, talks with team­mate Ian Book dur­ing the sec­ond half against Vir­ginia Tech on Satur­day.

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