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Notre Dame Day Interview: Irish Quarterback Ian Book

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The rising senior talks about his favorite on-field memory, and what pressure he’s feeling to score a ton.

Notre Dame Studios

Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Ian Book talked to Joe Theismann during Notre Dame Day 2019, and here’s the two signal callers’ conversation.

Theismann: “Then you caught me off guard simply because it’s Ian Book and the starting quarterback of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team, who had an unbelievable season last year leading us with 12-0 regular season, and of course, the game against the Clemson Tigers, which we don’t even need to mention anymore, and we won’t.”

Book: “Sounds good.”

Theismann: “Thanks Ian, thanks for taking some time to join us.”

Book: “Thank you for having me.”

Theismann: “First thing I was curious about, and you and I have had a chance to talk a lot over the last little bit of time, why Notre Dame?”

Book: “So, never thought I would leave the West Coast. I grew up there and thought I was going to play in the PAC-12. It was always my dream, and when I had the opportunity to come out here and take a visit and eventually get offered by Notre Dame, it’s just the best fit. I really loved the tradition, the really high level of academics, as well as a great football program. So when you can get all of that in one, it was an easy pick for me.”

Theismann: “I also read somewhere where you said, “You know what, I wanted to be able to play... I wanted to be a starting... I didn’t play,” I love this, though, about you. “I didn’t want to just play some place, I wanted to be a starter at a Division I school.”

Book: “Yes, it’s always been my dream. I’ve been playing football since I was eight. I didn’t just want to go to a university and be a back-up. I wanted to come here and start and play. It’s what I’ve always dreamed of doing. I’m glad I got my shot. I feel very fortunate.”

Theismann: “And you have to have lofty dreams.”

Book: “Yes sir.”

Theismann: “It’s just like, we want to win a National Championship. We want you, as alumni here at the University, to win a National Championship. No pressure, just throwing it out there for you.”

Book: “None taken.”

Theismann: “Last year was an incredible year as a football team. What I was impressed with was your growth from the first start of the first game until the championship, the champions series came up. How do you feel like you grew during that period of time?”

Book: “Just with all the repetition. You start working with these guys, you start working on chemistry, and then you start knowing exactly where they’re going to be at what time, recognizing defenses. And I give a huge shout out and a lot of credit to Coach Rees for really getting me ready and helping me a lot in the classroom on working on a lot of things. Just as you work on that day in and day out, it starts to become a little bit easier and that’s what’s going to take us to the championship again.”

Theismann: “Tell me your favorite moment. As you look back through last year, do you have a moment that’s one that you sort of lay in bed saying –”

Book: “Just one?”

Theismann: “All right, give me a couple.”

Book: “My first start against Wake Forest I’ll always remember. That was obviously a great opportunity for me to be able to step in there and go in there and win the game. And then my first home start against Stanford. Those two really stick out, but really the whole entire season. It flew by. It went by so fast, but really the whole entire year, there’s so many ups that I enjoyed and so many great times that I’ll always remember.”

Theismann: “There’s so many wonderful Notre Dame alumni out there listening and watching now. Not a lot of them had the opportunity, as you and I have, to run out into that stadium and listen to them cheer. What’s it like?”

Book: “It’s really hard to explain. It’s an amazing feeling just being able to run out there and see everybody. I remember my first snap. I remember my first time running out there. It’s so loud and it’s what I dreamed of. Just to be able to do it, it’s really hard to explain, but it’s an experience I’ll never forget.”

Theismann: “Do you feel like because so many defensive guys have graduated and gone on, quite a few of them, to the NFL for us, do you feel like the pressure is a little bit on the offense to pick up the slack a little bit as we’ve transitioned in some younger, newer players on the defensive side?”

Book: “Yeah, I don’t think we would try to make a huge pressure on ourselves, but obviously we want to do what we can to make the defensive guys’ lives easier as much as possible. We know we can do it as an offense this year. We want to put up a lot of points and just like last year, the defense gave us a bunch of opportunities and always gave us the ball back. So we hope to help them out as much as we can.”

Theismann: “All right, so football season, not too far away for us. The evaluation process always goes on. The Blue and Gold game was about a week or so ago. How did you think things went through the Blue and Gold game?”

Book: “I thought it went awesome. Just from the offensive standpoint, just being able to see a bunch of guys step up. That’s always a big game where a lot of guys get to step up. We have a lot of work to do. There’s a lot of time left, but I was really happy with the way we played, the way we ran the ball and the way we threw the ball as well.”

Theismann: “Thank you.”

Book: “Thank you.”

Theismann: “I’ll tell you, it’s really great to see you. You look terrific. You look like you’re fit and ready to go.”

Book: “I appreciate that.”

Theismann: “Do you wish the season was going to start tomorrow?”

Book: “I do, yes. Especially watching the draft and everything. Everyone’s ready to go, but we’ve got to wait. We’ve still got work to do.”

Theismann: “Thanks, Ian, appreciate it.”

Book: “Thank you.”