The Next Chapter
It was a poorly kept secret in the week leading up to the game in Winston Salem. In their first away game, it would be Ian Book - not Brandon Wimbush - leading the Notre Dame Fighting Irish against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
In turning the page on Brandon Wimbush, the Irish began a new chapter in which Ian was the protagonist - all puns most definitely intended.
Coming into this week, Notre Dame ‘s last 5 wins had an average score of 23-17 - Wimbush leading in 4 of those wins, the lone outlier being the Citrus Bowl win over LSU in which Book was effectively the starter.
At the half, Book had led this team to a 28-13 lead. They scored more points in one half with Ian Book than they had scored in an entire game with Wimbush.
Brian Kelly worded it perfectly during his Sunday Teleconference: “What did he do well? He put points on the board.”
He most certainly did. It was a thing of beauty.
They carved through a weak Wake Forest defense en route to a 56-27 shellacking.
The story of this Notre Dame team all year had been a stout defense, but not this time. It was not Brandon Wimbush’s benching, it was not Phil Jurkovec’s first game action, and it was not Jafar Armstrong’s explosive display.
No, it was time for Book to step into the spotlight.
Needless to say, he delivered. With 325 yards and 2 touchdowns through the air, and another 43 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, Book made a statement against Wake Forest:
It’s my turn.
It was a fantastic day for the new Notre Dame starting quarterback and for Notre Dame fans across the country.
It must be noted, however, that if this is Ian Book’s turn in the story, the Wake Forest game was simply a prologue. An introduction to the main character, if you will.
If this is to be a “storybook” season in which the former backup gives a jolt of life to a formerly dominant program, the tale truly begins next weekend against seventh-ranked Stanford Cardinals.
And fans across the country will be watching - on the edge of their seats - to see how this new chapter continues.
Other Notes from the Teleconference:
- Injury notes: Kraemer rolled his ankle prior to the game so Ruhland started, and Cole Kmet was still recovering from his injury against Ball State. Both should be back against Stanford. Ja’Mion Franklin will receive an MRI for a “quad tendon injury”.
- In regards to Dexter Williams: “I would expect him to do something for us this week.” We here at One Foot Down are desperately trying to contain our excitement.
- Kelly denied having planned this “coming out party” for Book, “ I can’t tell you we are that smart to have a master plan to unleash Ian Book in week four against Wake Forest.”
- “Our team was maturing and things were falling into place,” Kelly stated, describing what led to Book taking over, “... As we got into last week, after talking with the offensive staff, I felt it was time to make a move on Ian Book.”
- On Jafar Armstrong, “I love his competitive spirit... He can take 100 snaps if thats what [is] needed. He’s in such great physical condition... He loves football. He gets you excited to come to work every day.”
- Bryce Love isn’t all that Kelly is concerned about with Stanford: “Stanford is a very good football team. They have a number of good receivers who can get the football. KJ Costello is playing outstanding... We have a lot to overcome. We have to be ready for them.”
- Kelly touched on the recruiting process with Book: “He was efficient in everything he did - captain, high percentage, won games, could run the football... We felt like Ian Book was that guy who could really facilitate and lead.”
- “Brandon knows he’ll contribute,” Kelly assured, in regards to keeping Wimbush engaged, “...We will ensure he is prepared every week, just like Ian was prepared.”
- Kelly praised Trevor Ruhland, “I liked the way he played... He fit very well against Wake Forest. especially when they played a lot of 7-technique. He moves a little better than Tommy does.”
- Some freshman impressed Kelly on Saturday, “The Ademilola twins, really pleased with their suddenness and how hard they play... We always notice the receivers catching the ball, but Kevin Austin blocking and getting after guys on the perimeter was very impressive... TaRiq Bracy on special teams: outstanding.”
- Shutting Greg Dortch down was integral to the defensive gameplan, “We frustrated Dortch. That really limited what they were able to do.”
- On Avery Davis’s play: “Avery hadn’t been given much of an opportunity... He just needs game reps... He still has to understand how to finish runs, so do Jafar and Tony. He can compliment guys really well. There will be a role for him.”