Ian Book was One of Notre Dame’s Best Players
It’s bizarre that you have to explain to a fanbase on why they should want back their QB who has only lost three games as a starter and is coming off a year where he had 3,329 yards and 37 TDs. It’s tough to keep a fanbase sane when they’re writers like Bryan Driskell who exist and fuel the fire for the completely irrational fans, who cannot be pleased under any circumstances. I will fully admit after the Michigan game, I thought we possibly had seen everything Book could show us, but the difference between myself and the irrational fans is that I can admit that Ian Book proved me wrong. Since the Michigan game, Ian Book has tallied up 1,615 yards and 19 TDs. In the last five games, Book was averaging 323 yards and 3.8 TDs a game. I understand that it wasn’t against Georgia and Michigan, but every game counts, not just the games Notre Dame loses.
Ian Book is a Playoff Level QB
College Football fans have lost the grasp of what a playoff level QB is. If the Quarterback of the team isn’t the direct reason for the loss, then you probably have a playoff level quarterback. Now there is a massive difference between a playoff level QB and National Championship level QB. A National Championship QB can lead a team to the playoffs virtually under his talent alone; a playoff level QB will need playoff level talent around him. If Ian Book can lead a team to the playoffs, why would you want to push him out the door to see a new face throwing the ball? It seems crazy that Notre Dame fans would want to get rid of a player who is the best at his position in a decade, but when the Maven Miserables encourage irrational fans, then what can you do.
Why Would You Want More Questions?
Notre Dame will have the benefit of going into the spring with their QB1, and they know what exactly he can do very well and what he doesn’t do very well. Now Ian Book has parts of his game that need to improve for his future, but Notre Dame just scored the most points they’ve ever scored in a season, and they did it without a consistent run game. If Ian Book doesn’t improve at all and the Irish’s run game progresses, then Notre Dame will score the most points they’ve ever scored again in 2020. If Ian Book left, it causes everything offensively to be questioned. Notre Dame wouldn’t know going into the season what they have at QB. They wouldn’t be able to focus heavily on the running game because they would have to focus on the passing game the entire offseason. Why would you want more question marks on a team that will have the potential to be a 2020 playoff team?
Nobody knows anything about Phil Jurkovec besides the coaching staff. If they believed that the answer was Phil, then Ian Book wouldn’t be coming back. Notre Dame fans have created this aurora around Phil that he hasn’t proven or quite frankly even deserved. We’ve seen Jurkovec play well against back-ups, awesome. I was extremely high on Jurkovec coming out of high school and thought that he was going to be the next great Notre Dame QB. For Jurkovec to be the next Notre Dame great, then he would have needed to unseat Ian Book this spring, which with transferring to Boston College, doesn’t seem like it’ll happen. Phil would have been given plenty of reps this spring to showcase his talents; instead, he made the decision best for him and transferred to Boston College.
Book Deserves Credit from the Fanbase
If Ian Book didn’t develop into a good Quarterback, then Notre Dame’s 2020 and 2021 recruiting classes wouldn’t be like they are currently. We saw Wimbush’s best days were still going to result in 10-3 or 9-4 seasons at best, and trying to become an elite program those seasons need to be better. If Notre Dame wasn’t able to flip Ian Book from Washington St, then there’s a chance that Jordan Johnson, Chris Tyree, Xavier Watts, Jordan Botelho, ect., wouldn’t have committed to Notre Dame. Ian Book helped Notre Dame become relevant again by leading the Irish to the playoffs in 2018 and winning 11 games in 2019. 23 wins in 2 years is an elite program, and no offense to Wimbush, but he wasn’t 23 wins in 2 years talented. Ian Book has flaws in his game, and I’m not saying that he should have zero criticism, but if Notre Dame finally gets over the hump in the next five years, remember Ian Book was a part of how they got there even if he isn’t still on the team. Recruiting isn’t solely based on the school’s success, but it plays a significant role with High Schoolers. Ian Book isn’t the greatest QB to ever play at Notre Dame, even though after his fifth season, he’ll be near or at the top of all QB records. Ian Book deserves respect from the fan base, and as the leader of the fan base, he’s going to get it.