Chip Long wants to play Ian Book this fall. That doesn’t mean Notre Dame’s offensive coordinator opened spring practice confident that he could.
The red-shirt freshman was stuck on the scout team last season, an afterthought in that quarterback competition between DeShone Kizer and Malik Zaire, with Brandon Wimbush barely able to get a practice rep. Since that roster clear out Book has risen to backup simply by being the only true scholarship quarterback on the roster beyond Wimbush.
Now Long believes Book can function as a true No. 2 as well.
“I thought Ian had probably one of the best springs on our offense,” Long said. “Last two weeks he has been tremendous. The way he’s executing the offense as a red-shirt freshman, I’ve been around very few who have been able to raise their game like that in a matter of weeks.”
When spring practice opened it was difficult to separate Book from former walk-on Montgomery VanGorder in the competition to backup Wimbush. That has since changed for the better, at least as far as Book is concerned.
There’s no doubt Notre Dame will need Book, likely meaning a red-shirt for incoming freshman Avery Davis. Whether it’s to finish off a blowout or relieve Wimbush due to injury, Long didn’t want to enter training camp holding his breath about his starter being able to log every snap this season.
“He’s a lot more confident, very accurate thrower, throws a very catchable ball, makes things happen,” Long said. “That gives me great peace going into the summer that we have a very good quarterback there that we get to keep growing and keep pushing Brandon and both of them go out there and play winning football for us.”