Who Will Be No. 2?

With the season rapidly approaching, we thought we'd take the time to take a look at the Irish heading into fall camp. We'll take a position-by-position look at the Notre Dame football team and which questions remain to be answered heading into fall camp.

There won't be many questions heading in fall camp about Notre Dame's starter at quarterback this season. In fact, the only question I think most Irish fans would have regarding Brady Quinn is how good will he be in 2006?

As Omaha Domer mentioned earlier on Irish Eyes, it's quite amazing how extremely efficient Quinn was at quarterback in 2005.

To complete over 60 percent of your passes in third-and-long situations is quite remarkable. It says a great deal about Quinn's ability to read defenses, his timing and chemistry with his receivers, and the pass protection he was awarded.

But it all starts with Quinn. If I could point to any one thing about Quinn's rise to elite status, I'd say it would be these stats. Quinn completed over 60 percent of his passes in third-and-seven to nine-yard situations, and over 60 percent in third-and-10 plus-yard situations. Quinn also threw more touchdowns on third down (12) than any other down. Quinn also completed over 69 percent of his passes while his team was behind, and only threw one interception during the entire season when his team was behind, while also throwing 10 of his 32 touchdowns. These numbers are quite impressive

I'm quite sure Irish head coach Charlie Weis would agree that this has been the reason Quinn has risen to the elite of college football….the kid is clutch!

After Quinn, we have a very interesting race for the No. 2 position…..or maybe not.

It didn't take long for sophomore Evan Sharpley to unseat David Wolke as the clear No. 2 and prompting Wolke's departure from Notre Dame. Wolke is a nice guy, but we've heard it really wasn't a close race between the two, and we wish David all the success in the world.

I think many Irish fans assume that either freshmen Zach Frazer or Demetrius Jones will do the same and unset Sharpley from the No. 2 spot this season. Not so fast my friend….

While I think Sharpley has a long way to go to be in Quinn's category of quarterback, I do think Sharpley has established himself as the clear No. 2 at this point and likely a capable backup to Quinn.

Like last season, we expect Weis to use the same strategy in regards to the No. 2 quarterback—find one and stick with that guy through the rest of the season. We think that guy will be Sharpley.

That doesn't mean that spring of 2007 won't be exciting. And we do hope we'll hear a lot of positive things about both Jones and Frazer this season, but we just don't see either unseating Sharpley for the backup role in 2006.

Jones certainly has some tools that are appealing. His feet and ability to make plays while on the move could be a real asset for Weis in his offense, but Jones will have to learn a completely different system and learn to be a pocket passer as much as a guy who makes plays on the run.

Frazer is more of the prototypical "pocket passer," but he also will have to learn a new system. Frazer hasn't spent much time at all under center after working most of his high school career from the shotgun formation. Just getting your steps, timing, and agility down to perform these tasks at a Weis level takes considerable time. He'll also have the same learning curve Jones has in learning the new offense. Frazer clearly has the size and the arm, but will he have the feet?

We don't think you'll see many fireworks at the quarterback position this fall as far as competition goes. We're hoping we hear "steady progress" from Weis after all is said and done in fall camp. We haven't heard a whole lot of positive come from Weis yet when it comes to the backup position. Hopefully we'll hear a much more jovial Weis when it comes to his No. 2 at the conclusion of fall camp.

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