"It felt real good—getting to throw the ball around with the receivers and getting back in there with the offensive linemen," said Quinn of the first day of spring practice. "It was a real good feeling."
Quinn says he spent quite a bit of time in the film room trying to find the flaws in his game. "During the off-season I watched a lot of film—looking at my technique and different things I was doing wrong as far as reading the offense. Obviously I was trying to come back, work on my footwork, work on getting a quicker release, things like that."
Coach Tyrone Willingham said earlier today that the Irish need to regain their confidence this spring—Quinn definitely agrees with his coach. "We didn't end on a high point like we wanted to last year. I think it's something we really want to try and build this spring ball."
The best feeling for Quinn has to be the ability to learn and not worry about losing in the process—something he wasn't afforded earlier in the season. Quinn says he really feels a lot more at home this spring. "It's really more of a comfort feeling. I feel a lot more relaxed and comfortable—getting in the huddle, being out on the field with the guys and kind of throwing the ball around. It feels a lot more like home now."
Technique, fundamentals and getting back to the basics were the buzzwords of spring 2003. While the Irish will focus on all three this spring, Quinn feels unity is what they need to find more than anything. "We've got to come together as a team—altogether—offense and defense. I think we need to gain confidence. We need to get that swagger back. Just try to fine-tune the system, on offense and defensively."
Quinn's job will be much easier this spring and fall if the offensive line continues their development over the fall last year. Quinn says he's excited about what he's seen from the big uglies so far. "You can see it from day one. I think they're a lot more close-knit off the field also. That's something a lot of people don't get to see. They're a lot closer group than maybe last year. I think this off-season they worked on that. This year I'm expecting big things out of them because they're a very tight-knit group and I think they've got a lot of potential."
The offense should be the strength of the team in 2004. Quinn says the offense is focused on becoming the strength. "I think we expect more of each other. It's the first day of practice and we expect to execute and get our job done because a lot of those guys have been through it. That is just something that kind of comes with experience."
We expect to see Quinn grow leaps and bounds over the spring. We should hear plenty of positives on Quinn throughout the spring. The real test will be in live action next fall, but Quinn should develop more this spring than any time in his career at Notre Dame.