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Notre Dame Football: Comparing Ian Book To His Predecessors at Quarterback for the Irish

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Book’s career statistics are most similar to a recent Irish quarterback, DeShone Kizer.

Notre Dame v Virginia Tech Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images

Echoes of greatness?

Ian Book has now run 426 plays under center for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The quarterback has overseen 247 run plays and 179 pass plays.

Everett Golson’s first 426 plays as Notre Dame quarterback during the Irish’s perfect 2012 regular season? Two hundred and forty seven run plays and 179 pass plays.

I’ve been comparing the Irish quarterbacks to their predecessors by the number of plays they’ve run as opposed to games played because I think it makes for more interesting comparisons. (My previous installments are here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.)

Here’s another fun one.

Notre Dame, whether with Book or Brandon Wimbush under center, has run 446 plays so far this year (not including plays negated by penalties). They’ve had 263 running plays and 183 passing plays.

Through the first 446 plays of the 2012 season — with Golson and Tommy Rees under center — the Irish had 265 run plays and 181 pass plays.

LOOKING BACKWARD

Now let’s look at Book’s performance to date versus those of his predecessors:

Ian Book vs. His Predecessors

Quarterback LOVECCHIO HOLIDAY QUINN CLAUSEN CRIST REES GOLSON KIZER WIMBUSH BOOK
Quarterback LOVECCHIO HOLIDAY QUINN CLAUSEN CRIST REES GOLSON KIZER WIMBUSH BOOK
Run 316 324 198 218 193 206 247 231 265 247
Pass 110 102 228 208 233 220 179 195 161 179
Yds gained from run 1505 1321 824 336 724 908 1195 1248 2056 1397
Yds gained from pass 826 612 1162 1036 1617 1568 1256 1763 948 1331
Total 2331 1933 1986 1372 2341 2476 2451 3011 3004 2728
First downs 100 101 87 74 119 116 123 128 114 129
First downs by pass 29 35 51 44 76 72 60 66 42 62
First downs by QB run 15 27 8 5 6 2 13 21 27 16
% of 1Ds accounted for 44.0% 61.4% 67.8% 66.2% 68.9% 63.8% 59.3% 68.0% 60.5% 60.5%
% of 1D runs accounted for by QB 21.1% 40.9% 22.2% 16.7% 14.0% 4.5% 20.6% 33.9% 37.5% 23.9%
Touchdowns 27 13 9 7 16 21 17 29 32 32
Touchdowns thrown 11 2 5 6 11 15 4 12 9 13
Touchdowns thrown % of all TDs 40.7% 15.4% 55.6% 85.7% 68.8% 71.4% 23.5% 41.4% 28.1% 40.6%
Touchdowns run 16 11 4 1 5 6 13 17 23 19
Touchdowns run by QB 0 2 0 1 3 0 3 5 10 3
% of total TDs that were run by QB 0.0% 15.4% 0.0% 14.3% 18.8% 0.0% 17.6% 17.2% 31.3% 9.4%
TDs by QB (arm or legs) 11 4 5 7 14 15 7 17 19 16
TDs by QB as % of total TDs 40.7% 30.8% 55.6% 100.0% 87.5% 71.4% 41.2% 58.6% 59.4% 50.0%
Interceptions 1 6 11 5 5 12 3 6 2 5
Interceptions per attempt 0.9% 5.9% 4.8% 2.4% 2.1% 5.5% 1.7% 3.1% 1.2% 2.8%
Fumbles 6 14 7 12 11 6 10 8 5 5
Fumbles lost 4 7 1 6 7 1 4 4 4 1
Fumbles by QB 1 8 4 4 4 3 7 3 5 1
Fumbles lost by QB 1 3 1 2 3 1 4 0 4 0
QB carries (including sacks) 61 114 29 53 39 15 58 74 91 69
Fumbles lost per QB carry 1.6% 2.6% 3.4% 3.8% 7.7% 6.7% 6.9% 0.0% 4.4% 0.0%
Sacks 12 16 7 29 13 4 12 13 11 9
Sacked per pass attempt 10.9% 15.7% 3.1% 13.9% 5.6% 1.8% 6.7% 6.7% 6.8% 5.0%
Completions 63 59 102 117 136 137 104 128 84 122
Completion % 57.3% 57.8% 44.7% 56.3% 58.4% 62.3% 58.1% 65.6% 52.2% 68.2%
Yards per comp 13.1 10.4 11.4 8.9 11.9 11.4 12.1 13.8 11.3 10.9
Yards per attempt 7.5 6.0 5.1 5.0 6.9 7.1 7.0 9.0 5.9 7.4
Negative yardage plays 50 53 44 61 38 35 38 46 41 33
Negative yardage plays by QB 20 31 11 32 16 7 16 21 20 12
Explosive pass plays (20+ yards) 12 4 12 10 18 27 18 26 18 16
Explosive run plays (12+ yards) 32 24 23 8 19 24 23 32 45 30
Explosive plays total 44 28 35 18 37 51 41 58 63 46
Explosive plays by QB run 11 14 3 0 3 1 5 8 17 4
Explosive plays by QB arms/legs 23 18 15 10 21 28 23 34 35 20
Explosive % generated by QB 52.3% 64.3% 42.9% 55.6% 56.8% 54.9% 56.1% 58.6% 55.6% 43.5%
First down success rate 45.4% 40.6%
Second down success rate 40.7% 53.2%
Third down success rate 42.5% 46.3%
Fourth down success rate 80.0% 63.6%
Overall success rate 43.7% 46.5%
@andrewwinn

OFFENSIVE PROWESS

Notre Dame is putting up 441.7 yards per game, which is 45th nationally so far. That’s pretty similar to where the Irish ended up last year and in 2014, when they averaged 448.2 and 444.9 yards per game, respectively.

Notre Dame Offensive Rankings

Year Quarterback(s) Rushing Offense Rank Passing Offense Rank Total Offense Rank Offensive S&P+ Rank
Year Quarterback(s) Rushing Offense Rank Passing Offense Rank Total Offense Rank Offensive S&P+ Rank
2000 Battle, Godsey, Lovecchio 213.55 15 132.18 109 345.73 76 n/a n/a
2001 LoVecchio, Holiday 188.18 30 101.55 114 289.73 110 n/a n/a
2002 Holiday, Dillingham 139.38 68 174.15 91 313.54 108 n/a n/a
2003 Quinn, Holiday 157.25 56 179.08 92 336.33 90 n/a n/a
2004 Quinn, Dillingham 127.42 85 218.08 54 345.5 81 n/a n/a
2007 Clausen, Sharpley, Jones 75.25 115 167 110 242.25 119 15.8 117
2008 Clausen, Sharpley 109.69 100 245.38 34 355.08 65 23.2 83
2010 Crist, Rees, Montana 126.62 92 253.08 34 379.69 61 35.6 16
2011 Rees, Hendrix, Crist 160.38 54 252.62 40 413 35 36.3 14
2012 Golson, Rees 189.38 38 222.77 71 412.15 54 35.2 21
2014 Golson, Zaire 159.5 68 285.5 18 444.9 32 36.8 21
2015 Zaire, Kizer, Wimbush 207.6 28 258.8 35 466.4 27 41.2 11
2016 Kizer, Zaire 163.3 80 254.3 48 417.6 62 34.4 36
2017 Wimbush, Book 269.3 7 178.9 102 448.2 27 33.6 24
2018 Wimbush, Book 194.8 47 246 59 441.7 45 34.8 32

BOOK MOST SIMILAR TO KIZER

DeShone Kizer’s first season is the gold standard for Irish quarterbacks in the 21st century, so it’s encouraging that Book’s hot start is most similar to Kizer’s through 426 plays.

The 2015 offense was more potent to this point through the air, with Kizer averaging nine yards per attempt and 13.8 yards per completion. The Kizer-led offense was also more boom-or-bust, eclipsing the Book-helmed offense in explosive runs and passes, but also in plays where ball carriers got stopped behind the line of scrimmage. (Kizer also took more sacks than Book has to this point in their respective careers.)

WHERE EACH QUARTERBACK WAS IN THEIR CAREER

At play #426:

  • Matt LoVecchio was a true freshman at the tail end of a 2000 game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. He was about to win his sixth straight start.
  • Carlyle Holiday was a redshirt freshman who was 3-3 as a starter entering a 2001 game against the Navy Midshipmen.
  • Brady Quinn was a true freshman, 1-4 as a starter and just beginning a 2003 game against the Navy Midshipmen.
  • Jimmy Clausen was a true freshman about to get replaced at quarterback by Tom Zibkowski in a lopsided Senior Day win over the Duke Blue Devils in 2007. He was 1-6 as a starter at this point, but soon to be 2-6!
  • Dayne Crist was a sophomore in his first season as the starting quarterback under new coach Brian Kelly. It was the third quarter of the sixth game against the 2010 Pittsburgh Panthers, a game the Irish would win to push Crist’s record as starter to 3-3.
  • Rees was a true sophomore who had played extensively the year prior after Crist was felled by injury. His 426th play was the first play after halftime of the 2011 game against the Michigan Wolverines. The Irish were leading, 17-7, and Rees was 4-0 as a starter.
  • Golson was a redshirt freshman, returning to the game after being temporarily benched against Pitt. The 2012 Irish, then 8-0, were down 20-6 to the Panthers with the fourth quarter about to begin.
  • Kizer was a redshirt freshman, 5-1 as a starter and also playing the Panthers (this time the 2015 version). The Irish were already leading 7-3 at the beginning of the second quarter.