News / Ian Book
This is definitely been the weirdest, most socially distanced offseason of college football ever in my lifetime. Notre Dame QB Ian Book decided to come back for a 5th season in January because he had dreams of winning a National Championship with his teammates. Unfortunately with spring ball cancelled and every student forced to return home because of the pandemic it's been tough for the players to get their daily workouts in.
Book gives us a glimpse into his Monday workouts back in California. And just like myself he starts off with some coffee and eggs...
Nobody really knows when exactly the players will be allowed to return to campus. Head coach Brian Kelly says he wants it to be in early June to prepare for the 2020 season. But at this moment we are all just prisoners to the "who the fuck knows?" department.
This offseason was going to be key for Book and new offensive coordinator Tommy Rees building some rhythm coming off the impressive finish of the 2019 season. Having to replace the three top receiving targets in Chase Claypool, Cole Kmet and Chris Finke, as well as the leading rusher in RB Tony Jones Jr., the spring is imperative for offseason development and chemistry.
Now we are looking at a crash course of developing the offense with new starters like WR Kevin Austin, TE Tommy Tremble and WR Braden Lenzy. Not to mention whomever wins the starting RB with Jahmir Smith, C'Bo Flemister, Jafar Armstrong, Kyren Williams battling it out along with incoming freshman 5-star recruit Chris Tyree. Luckily all have had at least two years experience catching with Book with the exceptions of Williams and Tyree. Also ND has the luck of returning 6 guys with starting experience on the offensive line so protection shouldn't be an issue with Book.
Hopefully we can see Book on campus sooner than later throwing bombs to Austin and Lenzy and get back to somewhat normal life and enjoy Notre Dame football. Fingers crossed.
Brian Kelly's first Notre Dame spring practice press conference, says QB Ian Book "needs to complete a shitload of passes"
Notre Dame held it's first spring football practice this morning and afterwards head coach Brian Kelly was candid with the media in his press conference.
5th year senior and returning captain QB Ian Book and his 20-3 career record "need to complete a shitload of passes" and be himself this spring. Sounds good to me. Book will have to find new targets to throw the ball to as his top 3 of Chase Claypool, Cole Kmet and Chris Finke from last season are all off to the NFL. One of the new targets expected to replace Claypool is redshirt sophomore Kevin Austin.
Here are some highlights of Austin from today's practice...
Austin if he can stay healthy and keep his nose clean should have a huge breakout season in 2020. Team Austin up with WR Braden Lenzy, WR Lawrence Keys and TE Tommy Tremble and you are looking at 4 rising juniors with blazing elite speed all ready to make impacts this season in the receiving game for Book.
QB: Ian Book, Brendon Clark, DrewPyne
RB: Jafar Armstrong, C'Bo Flemsiter, Jahmir Smith, Kyren Williams, Mick Assaf
Note: Avery Davis moved to slot.
W Receiver (Boundary): Kevin Austin, Javon McKinley, Micah Jones
X Receiver (Field): Braden Lenzy, Ben Skowronek, Xaver Watts
Z (Slot): Lawrence Keys, Avery Davis, Kendall Abdur-Rahman
Notes: Joe Wilkins out with strep throat. Jay Brunelle out with clean-up work on shoulder. Also, Isaiah Robertson was not at practice while taking care of some academic work, per Brian Kelly.
Austin and McKinley both were standouts with their playmaking on some jump balls or back-shoulder plays.
TE: Brock Wright & Tommy Tremble, George Takacs
LT: Liam Eichenberg, Andrew Kristofic, Cole Mabrey
LG: Josh Lugg, Hunter Spears, Max Siegel
C: Jarrett Patterson, Zeke Correll, Colin Grunhard
RG: Tommy Kraemer, John Dirksen, John Olmstead
RT: Robert Hainsey, Quinn Carroll, Quinn Murphy
Notes: LG Aaron Banks is out this spring while recovering from foot fracture.
Later in more live work with no contact, Hainsey and Kraemer were both kept out while recovering from their fall injuries. Same with Quinn Carroll, who had ACL surgery last August.
In that situation, the No. 1 line had from right to left Lugg, Dirksen, Patterson, Grunhard and Eichenberg.
It appears those rumors of a running back being injured and another one possibly transferring are false at the moment. All 4 RB practiced today while we wait for incoming freshman Chris Tyree to enroll this summer and add some much needed speed to the RB position.
If you look at the overall depth of the offense it would be hard to find one better in Brian Kelly's tenure. Even with starting guard Aaron Banks out with a fractured foot the offensive line has all 5 guys who have at least started multiple games ready to plug and play. Hunter Spears has made the position switch from DT to left guard which as far as I can see is the only position change this spring. The 2nd and 3rd stringers on the offensive line are all highly recruited sophomores now who have had a full season of strength coach Matt Balis program. I can't remember a more deep and talented offensive line at Notre Dame. In fact according to PFF they return 4 of the top 30 offensive linemen in the country. That's insane and they should dominate every team up front not named Clemson in 2020.
Here are some more highlights from today's opening spring practice.
Pretty much standard stuff here from Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly. Coming out of Day 2 in fall camp at Culver Academies as long as there are no significant injury reports and everyone seems to be moving along as needed I'm happy.
One of the more pressing questions going into year 2 of Ian Book at QB is whether or not he could hit the more intermediate to deep routes to his wide receivers in stride. As good as Book was last year the Notre Dame offense left a lot of points on the field because of misses with the deep throws. This slow motion clip of Book hitting sophomore WR Lawrence Keys in stride shows progress as Keys blows past freshman safety Kyle Hamilton.