Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Cotton Bowl | Book Confident In Irish Offense

December 26, 2018

DALLAS - Ian Book took a variety of questions on Wednesday morning, but the Notre Dame quarterback had a little extra confidence in his voice. 

Maybe it was because the word confidence came out of his mouth multiple times, but it also might be because the Irish feel they are ready to take on Clemson in the Cotton Bowl on Saturday night. 

“The confidence level is high,” stated Book. “We’re all really fortunate to be here. We couldn’t ask for anything more and we’re excited for this challenge on the 29th.” 

The 6-foot, 203-pounder will look to lead the Irish offense against the nation’s No. 1 defense and Book is more than ready for the challenge. 

“Their defense speaks for itself,” said Book. “They’re extremely big and fast. They’ve been in this situation before. Their whole defensive line, in general, is really good. We believe in our offensive line and our offense. We’re really confident for this challenge. Everyone is confident. You can just tell going through practice.” 

Notre Dame practiced with noise levels louder than concerts at AT&T Stadium on Wednesday, but Book took the time to credit the scout team for going the extra mile during the season and playoff prep.

“Our scout team has been doing the same thing as Clemson with moving around,” Book stated. “They are doing exactly what they do by moving the last second to get our offensive line ready.” 

Book has thrown for 2,468 yards and 19 touchdowns this year and he will need those numbers to take a jump to be able to hold off the Tigers. 

But the California native wasn’t giving away any secrets on Wednesday.

“There are some areas we’re going to attack,” explained Book. “I’m not going to talk about it, but I think their defense is sound and one of the best we’ve played all season. There’s a lot we have to do on offense and everyone has to be their part. We have to make the big play and that’s what it’s going to take on the 29th.” 

Notre Dame has used tempo more since Book took over as the starting quarterback and it’s something the Irish could very well dive into on Saturday.

“It’s been part of our game plan this whole season,” stated Book. “It’s something I take pride in and something we do as an offense. We’re just trying to bring tempo to our offense. 

“For me, it’s about getting the ball out quick to our playmakers.” 

While the game is just days away, Book finally took some time to reflect on the season and what the Irish accomplished under his leadership.

“I took a step back a couple days ago and realized how fast this season has gone by,” recalled Book. “We’re all confident and ready for this challenge on the 29th. This whole season has been awesome, but the magnitude of this game is great. 

“We’ve been saying it the whole prep, we have to keep doing what we’ve done the whole season. Don’t change anything and keep preparing the way we have. We have to take care of what we can control.” 

One thing Notre Dame can control is its communication, which will be crucial to the offense’s success.

“We have to communicate a lot,” Book said of his offensive line. “This is a great defensive line we’re going against. We have to trust in all the guys to do their jobs. They have to trust me to call the right protections. 

“We have leaders on the offensive line we trust and it makes the situation great.” 

While some of his teammates downplayed the negative tone by the national media, Book admitted the Irish will enter the Cotton Bowl with a chip on their shoulder.

The noise is impossible to miss and Book is embracing it.

“It’s a chip on our shoulder,” said Book. “Everywhere you look it’s all you see - we shouldn’t be here and all that. It’s a boost of confidence for all of our guys. We know we should be here and we know what we can do.”

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