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Notre Dame Football

Ian Book Shining Bright as Irish Head Into Home Stretch

November 14, 2020
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Brian Kelly challenged his team to elevate its play following the 12-7 win over Louisville. 

Quarterback Ian Book took it to heart and it's exactly what you want to see from a two-time captain at Notre Dame. 

The fifth-year senior has turned in back-to-back games of elite football. 

"I think it starts with Ian," stated Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly. "His presence in the pocket - he's a unique player in that he has great escapability, but he has 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 Avery Davis after a good 2.5 seconds in the pocket. On another time, he takes off when he has pressure off the edge and picks up a key first down." 

Book completed 20-of-27 passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns while adding 85 yards and a score on the ground in Saturday's 45-31 win over Boston College. 

The California native wasn't taking all the credit following the game as he gave credit to his receiving corps for allowing him to make plays. 

"I feel good as an offense as a whole and we're starting to gel right now," Book explained. "That's just awesome. It's chemistry and understanding where people are going to be at the right time and what defense they are going to bring to certain plays. 

"They did an unbelievable job every time I scrambled. They're starting to understand the play can go on longer for a few seconds than it normally would. They're doing a good job of coming back to me, making plays and shaking off the DB. The play is never dead until that whistle blows. We were able to make some huge plays tonight after I extended it outside the pocket.

"Ben (Skowronek), Javon (McKinley), Joe (Wilkins Jr.), all those guys kept fighting while the play is still going on. I feel the chemistry between the receivers and myself is really getting there and it feels great." 

Elevating his play in November is also a trend as Book did the same a year ago. 

This year, Book can't point to one aspect of his game where he's seen a jump, but credits his ascension to mastering the small details. 

"I wouldn't say anything crazy changed," said Book. "I'm who I am every day. I knew there was more for me. I knew I could take another step in watching film and everything a little bit extra. It's the small details. I'm meeting with Coach Rees and I want to know why certain things are happening. It's starting to add up and I'm trying to take it to the next level. 

"I wouldn't pinpoint one thing. I think I'm just elevating at the right time. It's a whole bunch of things. It's chemistry. It's the offense. It's everything. It's just happening at the right time right now and I feel confident. I couldn't do any of it without everybody on the offense, so it's definitely them too." 

Notre Dame's receivers have also elevated their game. Since the Louisville game, the Irish receivers have caught 45 passes for 759 yards and seven touchdowns. 

Avery Davis is one of those receivers who has started to emerge and showed up in Boston. 

The Texas native caught two passes for 70 yards and also rushed for 29 yards. 

It's clear Davis has the respect of Book, but more importantly, he has the trust of his quarterback. 

"I'm just so happy for that kid watching his hard work pay off," Book explained. "He came in as the quarterback in the class under me. He's played four positions and it's unbelievable. 

"So many other kids would have given up and transferred already. This kid stuck with it and I just trust him a ton on the field. I showed that last weekend and this week. I'm just happy for him. He's doing an unbelievable job. He's looked really good. His routes are unbelievable. He's smart and really good at finding the green grass and moving around. He's somebody I trust." 

Notre Dame will now head into a much-needed bye week as the Irish need to recharge physically and mentally as this fall has been taxing for many reasons. 

"I think this bye week is going to be helpful. It's a great time to rest up and get our bodies back to where they need to be. 

"The young guys have done a great job of understanding that too. I don't think there will be a big fall off. These guys are in it to win a National Championship just like a fifth-year senior would be. That's how it's gotta be. 

"Coach Kelly will do a great job of setting the message going in this bye week and how we need to act during this bye week. I think it's good timing. We could use a break and it's how you use the break in what you do and take from it is how you play against UNC the following week." 

 
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