Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

QB Trainer | Ian Book Not Resting On His Accomplishments

August 23, 2019

After taking over as Notre Dame’s starting quarterback early in the 2018 season and being a main cog in the Irish’s first-ever College Football Playoff berth, it was obvious the work Ian Book put in has paid off.

“I thought he did a really good job implementing some of the changes we made the previous offseason and sustaining those through the season,” says Will Hewlett of QB Collective, who has worked with Book since high school.

“Obviously, the coaching staff did a good job reinforcing good habits as well.”

Hewlett and Book worked to keep the quarterback’s lead arm controlled last summer, but Hewlett says this past offseason wasn’t about implementing any major changes.

“It’s more about, ‘How can we get more out of what you’re currently doing?’” Hewlett describes. “So, we focused on just continuing to give him a greater toolbox of different throws, different arm angles and things that will continue to help him diversify his game.

“Even though Ian’s a very creative player by nature, you want to continue to push the edge on what athletes are capable of inside and outside the pocket.”

Hewlett says increasing velocity and “getting more out of his current throw” is something they’ll always work on.

“Comparatively, the previous offseason to this offseason, there was a pretty substantial difference I think in just his physical presence and overall strength,” says Hewlett. “He just looks like a different kid this offseason, which is really encouraging considering how well he played last season.”

With a hectic summer schedule that included a stop at the Manning Passing Academy as well plenty of time in South Bend, Hewlett and Book’s time this offseason was somewhat limited.

“We got three full days of training, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but with an athlete at this level, you can get a lot out of him,” Hewlett says. “There’s not a lot we’re changing. We’re not trying to teach him how to do new stuff. We were going to try to squeeze one more session in before fall camp, but it just didn’t time up.

“We’ll continue to communicate about his throwing techniques through the offseason. If I see something that’s interesting that pertains to throwing, I’ll send it his way.”

Still, heading into his first spring and summer as Notre Dame’s QB1, Hewlett guesses Book threw more this offseason than ever before, which doesn’t surprise him knowing Book’s personality.

“It’s real easy to rest on your current abilities,” says Hewlett. “There’s certainly a level of confidence in the skills you already have. You want guys to walk on the field and kind of visualize themselves being better than everyone anyway.

“But there’s also a reason players like Tom Brady will spend every offseason trying to perfect their craft. I think Ian has that same mindset like, ‘How can I get 1 percent better every chance I get out there?’”

Rick Kimball/ISD

Hewlett has known Book for more than seven years now expects him to be even more of a leader this fall.

“I’ve been exposed to the type of leadership style he has and what different battles he’s had to overcome in high school and now college,” says Hewlett, who adds that he leaves advice to the culture of the team with the team.

“Ian is coached really, really hard at Notre Dame. Those guys are not going to hold back on anything. The way he responded last year. I’m not necessarily teaching him anything. We’re just going to talk about and discuss his approach and mindset, but I try to leave most of the leadership stuff at this stage to him and his coaches at Notre Dame.”

His leadership may not always come across in a “rah-rah” sort of way, but Hewlett says people will follow Book, who will be Brian Kelly’s first quarterback captain at Notre Dame.

“Number one, all great leaders display the willingness to do what others are not,” says Hewlett. “I think his offseason really displayed that he’s willing to put himself on the line whether it’s in workouts, doing the extra work, encouraging others, helping the younger quarterbacks. From that standpoint, people are just going to follow him because of that.

“Ian has a very level and anchored personality. He doesn’t get rattled very easily. I think he’s probably very calming to a lot of the other players in crazy situations. When things are going to great, he’s going to make sure they’re ready to play the next series well. When things are going poorly, he’s going to encourage them to stay in it. I think you could kind of see that through the ways went this year.”

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