I'm not much for New Year's Resolutions in my personal life, however this Notre Dame program has inspired me to offer some New Year's Resolution for my Notre Dame Fighting Irish football experience in 2020. I invite all my fellow Notre Dame fans to join me in these resolutions that I feel will help our fan experience over the coming year.
I Will Not Covet Thy Backup
I will not pine for Drew Pyne, thirst for Brandon Clark, or assuming he does not transfer, yearn for Phil Jurkovec. It's important for Notre Dame fans to appreciate what Ian Book has done so far and what he can accomplish in 2020. In 2020 Book will be a three year starter and have a realistic shot at passing the all-time win mark for Notre Dame quarterbacks. Assuming health Book will end the 2020 season as the career leader in completion percentage and 2nd all time in passing yards, passing touchdowns, and rushing yardage for a quarterback with an outside chance of passing Tony Rice for the top spot in rushing yardage. By any measure that's a tremendous career. Is Book on the level of a Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, or Joe Burrow? No, but he doesn't have to be. He's an upper tier college quarterback and one of the best quarterbacks Notre Dame has had, especially in recent vintage. He has a very real chance to lead the program to another College Football Playoff appearance and possibly close out his career with a national title. The 2020 Fighting Irish are in position to accomplish this and Book is a large reason why. Enjoy him while you can.
I Will Not Take Reesus' Name in Vain
Ever since Chip Long was not retained as the offensive coordinator the top name to replace him as been Tommy Rees. This talk has been met with a lot of consternation among pockets of the fan base. Much of this worry likely stems from Rees' time as the starting quarterback in South Bend and his divisive nature among fans. As fans we need to move beyond this. We need to let the "Tommy No!!" and "Turnover Tommy" mindset go. Rees has turned himself into a name shortening, tobacco dipping, play calling guru. Rees is incredibly well respected in both college and professional coaching circles and seems to have a bright future in coaching ahead of him. Regardless if Rees is made the full-time offensive coordinator or the co-offensive coordinator alongside a big name outside hire, we need to judge Rees based on what he does moving forward, not on what he did as a player. Trust in the Reesus.
I Will Not Take This Program for Granted
The peak of my Notre Dame life to this point occurred on November 13th, 1993. I was 9 years old. Notre Dame defeated Florida State in "The Game of the Century" and I ran around my street cheering. The next week I wept in my garage. Since that point Notre Dame football has been a source of a lot of pain and frustration. That was until recently. In the last decade I have seen two undefeated regular seasons, a national title game appearance and a College Football Playoff appearance. I've now seen four 10 win seasons in the last five years, including three straight and the best two year stretch since halcyon of the Lou Holtz days in 1988 and 1989. Is Notre Dame back to where it was? No. Not quite yet. They are as close as they have been in 30 years though and that counts for a lot. There is still progress to be made. Defeating Wisconsin and Clemson next year would go a long way in fulfilling that. I choose to have perspective though. 33-6 over the last three years matters. Facilities and investment in the program continues to improve, recruiting is thriving, and Notre Dame is legitimately relevant to the national title picture each season. They aren't coming out of nowhere or sneaking up on anyone. They are expected to win almost every week and we should expect that as well. We can all acknowledge where this program has come from, where it is now, and enjoy it while still wanting more. I resolve to be that reasonable. I ask that you do the same.
Happy New Year.