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Notre Dame Football

WR Ben Skowronek Growing in Notre Dame Offense

November 26, 2020

Notre Dame desperately needed its receiving corps to step up heading into October's trip to Pitt. 

The Pitt defense was going to pressure the quarterback and stop the run, so the Irish offense needed to hit deep balls. 

Graduate student Ben Skowronek answered the call with two catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns.

The Irish haven't looked back and Skowronek credits his rise in the offense to simply getting adjusted to Notre Dame's scheme along with being healthy. 

"Personally, I'm getting more comfortable in the offense," stated Skowronek. "I know what to expect week-to-week as far as practice. I'm coming in every single day and working on my craft and building that relationship with Ian (Book) and the rest of the offense.

"I'm getting a lot more comfortable in the offense. Not having spring ball, missing a chunk of camp and the beginning of the season with a hamstring - I'm finally getting comfortable in the offense and I really feel I can play loose now."

Battling a hamstring injury and getting reps to gain experience at a new school isn't easy. Skowronek didn't let his frustrations get the best of him and he went to work. 

"I actually picked up on it kind of fast, but there are so many new words from the offense I played in for four years that have different meanings in this offense and signals," explained Skowronek. "You can only have so many hand signals and some of them look the same, but have completely different meanings. I think I was doing a lot of thinking in the beginning of the season and camp.

"I'm comfortable now. It's just coming to me very easy. There's so many differences between these two offenses. Learning it has been a lot of fun and spending the extra time learning it. Those signals were hard at first. Coach (Tommy) Rees was yelling at me quite a bit for confusing the signals. It's all good now."

Another area where the Irish receivers have excelled in recent weeks is when Book scrambles. 

Book has been able to find open receivers for big plays instead of running it himself and it's made all the difference. 

"Scramble drills are hardly ever the same," said Skowronek. "It's not like it's a play in the playbook. Ian, with his mobility, there are going to be a lot of scramble opportunities. It's just getting open and being in the right spot.

"We have our scramble rules, but just getting open and Ian trusts in us as well."

Skowronek has been impressed with his quarterback on the field and it's allowed them to build a natural rapport.

The Fort Wayne native has also been blown away by what Book goes through on a daily basis and how he handles himself. 

"Being the quarterback of Notre Dame is awesome for Ian," Skowronek said. "I didn't realize everything that comes with it until I started spending time with him.

"We got out to eat and there are fans, people and everyone has something to say to him. I think he does an unbelievable job of keeping his head on his shoulder and keeping a level head and not letting that stuff get to him, whether it's good or bad. He comes every single day to The Gug to get better and that's something I really admire about him.

"Everyone has something to say. Everyone is DMing him, tweeting at him and doing all this, but he's the same Ian Book and he's going to come to work every single day."

As for Friday's game at No. 19 North Carolina, Skowronek wasn't giving away too much, but admitted the Irish have to control the football. 

"Taking care of the football, converting on third-down and having high efficiency in the red zone," said Skowronek. "Coach Rees and the staff have been doing a great job. With the bye week, we've had a little bit more time. We have to control the ball and be really be smart in the red zone.”

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