Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Spring Preview: Quarterback

February 10, 2017

Blake Barnett decommitted from Notre Dame just over three years ago. We didn't know it then, but that set the wheels in motion for Brandon Wimbush to end up at Notre Dame.

At first it didn't look like the Irish were going to take a quarterback. It looked like they would pass in 2015 recruiting and try to go all in for a big fish in 2016. Wimbush wasn't even available when Barnett bolted. By the time the Elite 11 came around and Barnett was winning MVP, Wimbush was rifling passes at the same camp as a Penn State commit.

Then things happened quickly in the fall. An official visit led to commitment shortly after. Suddenly Wimbush went from not on the radar, to the quarterback of the future.

The future is now.

DeShone Kizer and Malik Zaire are both gone. The starting job is there for Wimbush on a silver platter despite him not playing more than garbage time in two seasons, including a redshirt last fall. In most circumstances this would be cause for concern, but with Wimbush it's produced more excitement than fear. Ever since he signed with Notre Dame, fans have been waiting to see him unleashed. Now there won't be anything holding him back. He is likely to get what should equal to triple the reps compared to last spring.

What do we expect to see from him? Certainly some wow throws and some tremendous athleticism. Maybe we'll get to see a run or two like this as well.

What do I hope to see from him? I hope to see him grow. I don't know where he will be from the start of spring, but I know where he needs to be by the end of it. He needs to have a command of the new wrinkles that Chip Long is bringing into the scheme. He is going to make mistakes, but hopefully only once. He needs to correct what goes wrong and get better at it.

From what we've seen from him in practice before, there has never been a question about his physical talents. It's always been things like decision making where we've had unanswered questions. He needs to get through his progressions faster and not force the football into windows that even his arm can't break through. There needs to be some evidence that he has a full command of the offense and the full attention of his teammates.

If we see all of the right things this spring, then feel free to get really excited about the offense this season. With a ton of experience coming back around him, Wimbush doesn't have to drive the bus all the time next season. But if he shows he is capable of taking the wheel now and again, then the sky is the limit for how good the group can be.

A big spring for Book

I wrote about Book earlier this week and said he is one of the redshirts to watch. It's an understatement to say this is big for him because he is going to get a ton of reps as the only other scholarship quarterback on campus. Everyone is handing the starting job over to Wimbush, but Book can't approach the practices that way. He needs to do everything he can to show he can be the guy.

The reason he has to do that is because he needs it to be as close as it can be with Wimbush heading out of the spring. This is his time to establish that he will at least be the backup this fall and that Avery Davis will come in and be the third option. Book has to create separation before Davis even gets on campus or else he could be in danger of getting passed by this summer.

We barely saw any of Book last fall in camp. He was the fourth man in and reps were scarce. As a prospect back in high school, we saw someone who was calm under pressure. We saw a good athlete with an above average arm. I thought he was probably a couple of inches away from being a 4 star prospect.

Not many believe he is going to be more than a backup during his time in South Bend. This is his chance to prove them wrong and show he is at the very least a capable next man in if Wimbush goes down.
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