Right now the popular thing on the internet and among some Notre Dame fans is to trash Ian Book, Brian Kelly, the Leprechaun and anything else associated with Notre Dame football. Saturday night someone suggested the 28-6 record over the past three seasons is “meaningless”, I guess they forgot much of the post Lou Holtz era in South Bend.
If we are going to start hammering the quarterback, program, and Kelly then I’m out. Is this 2019 edition perfect? Of course not! It is a competitive brand of Notre Dame football that may finish 11-2? Well time will tell on that one. I’m not at all surprised by the record of 6-2, in fact I believe this is about where I had the Irish in the pre-season. I am however, surprised by how the Irish have gotten to 6-2 but then again, I probably shouldn’t be.
In 2017, during a 10-3 season Notre Dame averaged roughly 270 yards per game on the ground and a gaudy 6.3 yards per carry. The Irish finished 8th in the nation in rushing. Fast forward to 2018, the Irish dropped to 182 yards per game with a 4.5 yards per carry and finished 48th in the nation. This year they are averaging 162 yards and have dropped to 61st. Those stats are probably inflated due to some early season weaker opponents. The last two weeks, the Notre Dame running game has been virtually non-existent. With injuries to Tony Jones Jr, Robert Hainsey and Tommy Kraemer those numbers are not going to improve any time soon.
So where does that leave Ian Book in the mix? His completion percentage and passer rating are down but he is on pace to exceed his passing yardage totals and touchdown passes. Given the circumstances, I think he has played ok. In my opinion, it is the inability to run the football more than anything else that is hurting his overall performance. How he finishes out the season, is likely dependent upon the ability to find a reliable runner and to correct the offensive line. Many people last year talked about arm strength as probably not his strongest suit. Without an effective running game, you are now relying Book’s arm.
Despite his difficulties, I still believe Ian Book is the best option at quarterback for Notre Dame. In the meantime, I think the brakes need to be pumped on the whole get rid of Ian Book movement. After all some of those people saying it are the same people who were comparing him to Joe Montana last season.