• Ian Book Gives Thanks For Successful Smaller Quarterbacks

    Ian Book is putting together a special senior season, leading Notre Dame to an 8-0 record so far this season. But there was a time when it would have been difficult for a player his size to land an offer from a school like Notre Dame, much less get a chance to excel for the Fighting Irish.

    Talking on Keyshawn, JWill and Zubin, Book said he idolized smaller quarterbacks who were able to find a big degree of success. Listed at 6-foot, Book said football was changing because of smaller players who came before.

    "I think it's great. Yeah it started with Russell Wilson, but even after that with Kyler Murray and all these other guys — the game is changing," Book said. "I think if you can go out there, get it done and lead your team to victory, no matter how you look or how tall you are, so be it. I'm all for it and those are guys I love looking up to and watching. I watch Drew Brees all the time. I love watching Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson and all their games. It's definitely motivating."

    Book has been motivating in his own right. After finding success as a sophomore starter, then throwing for 3,034 yards and 34 touchdowns with just six interceptions as a junior, Book has been terrific the last couple weeks, leading Notre Dame to a big win over Clemson, then earning mention as one of Kirk Herbstreit's top players for keeping the Fighting Irish on the winning track against Boston College.

    On the season, Book has completed 62% of his passes for 1,818 yards and 11 touchdowns with one interception.

    "I think it starts within Ian, first of all," Kelly said. "His presence in the pocket. Look, he's a unique player in that he has got great escape ability, but he's also got a great sense of when to take off. I think there's some great illustrations here tonight where he stays in the pocket and finds a late crossing route to (senior wide receiver) Avery Davis after a good two and a half seconds in the pocket. But in another time, where he takes off when he's getting pressure off the edge and picks up a key first down. Clearly, the receiving core is doing a great job.

    "We're getting play now from all of the receivers, who are pitching in. This is what we needed to elevate the play. He is going to benefit from that, but it starts with his command of the offense now and you can see him just continue to grow each and every week. Look, I think we've talked about this at great length, when your quarterback is playing at a high level, it gives you a great chance to be a championship caliber football team."

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