At #11 we have ... University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Ian Book! Ian, come on down and let us say a few words about you!
First, yes, Ian is a scholarship player, an athletic scholarship player, Book skills notwithstanding. In fact the redshirt freshman quarterback was offered a scholarship by ex QB coach Mike Sanford, who presumably thought his #1 QB potential at Boise State (Sanford’s previous stop) translated to great #2 potential at Notre Dame. Since arriving in 2016, Book has been successfully providing the “insurance” necessary to ensure that another VanGorder doesn’t decide the fate of football games at Notre Dame.
Coming into Spring ball this year no one outside the coaching staff knew what we had in Book, and there was widespread fear that Notre Dame’s hopes to win even a few games in the case of a Wimbush injury depend on Book’s abilities to play close to his (supposedly) low ceiling. But, hold the presses! After watching the 2017 Blue Gold game, the narrative changed!
Three Book Comparisons to Consider:
- Book vs Canceling the Season: Should we call off 2017 if Wimbush get injured? (I mean, remember 2015 when Zaire went down...) Or would Book be a “serviceable” interim head quarterback? The reviews during and post Spring ball are universally positive. Book can “make all the throws”; he “understands the offense” etc. In fact, many publications thought his positive performance in the Blue Gold game deserved top billing in their summary articles.
- Book vs Rees: When Book was recruited in 2015, it was immediately understood by all that he was not being recruited to be “the guy”. He didn’t have off-the-chart arm strength, size, or speed, and he’s white, so therefor he is the second coming of Tommy Rees! More astute observers of the two have questioned this from the beginning, stating during his recruitment that he has better physical tools, and would easily have won a hypothetical position battle. (Now of course “Tom” is his position coach.)
- Book vs Wimbush: So if he’s so good, why was there “no quarterback competition” going into this Spring? The answers are obvious: Wimbush has an incredible ceiling thanks to his athletic abilities, and why play up a fake competition this year when it worked so poorly last year? But, really though, how much better is Wimbush than Book? It’s an interesting question. When I watch Book’s highlights and his Blue Gold performance (game, not just him), he seems to execute very well, like to the level you would hope for from a first-time starter. But could he put us on his back and out-perform an elite defense in an evenly matched game where individual efforts make the difference? We’d all take Wimbush there.
He’s not the biggest guy in the world (6’0, 205) but he can make the longer throws, as you can see from the highlights in his signing day video below.
I, Bert, Dub Thee…
Veep. It’s all about the President - the VP has few official powers that aren’t triggered by the succession plan. But when when your Secret Service allowed 28 sacks last year, and you’re known to take play action trysts into the opposing secondary, thoughts naturally turn to the Veep. ND Nation will stand watch all 2017: Will we need the Veep? Or will he only be called on to cast the deciding vote when Long and Kelly can’t decide what to call the ‘17 offense - Tight End Raid, Our Best Defense (is a …), Puke for Points? … Feel free to vote yourselves in the comments.
If Wimbush stays healthy all year I’m going to imagine that means a couple of opponents getting blown out. This means a grand total of 3 quarters of play, in which he is surprisingly effective, the surprise being only the faked surprise of sports broadcasters who can pretend this comes from nowhere. He is allowed to throw the ball a little bit in garbage time, and ends the year 7-10 for a hundred yards or so.
If Wimbush is seriously injured, I imagine Book being as effective as Kaiser in 2015, leading to the potential of a QB controversy in 2018. As Book so eloquently put it, “A lot of stuff can obviously happen.”
**Bonus Fun with Names:
Supercomputers have discovered the most interesting Notre Dame player names permutation is.... Equanimeous St Book. Check out the GPA on that one...