Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Ian Book Focused On Growth & Leadership

March 4, 2019

Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book took over the starting job in week four and led the Irish to the College Football Playoff in 2018. 

The expectations are high for Book and while the senior is focused on improving many areas of his game, it starts with leadership. 

“It’s an area I want to improve at,” stated Book. “It started when we got back and started to do workouts. I’ve really been testing myself to be a vocal leader. I want the guys to know they have someone to lean on. It started before practice.” 

While it might be easier for the El Dorado Hills (Calif.) native to step into a leadership role with last season in his back pocket, Book knows 2018 is over and this is an entirely new team who needs leaders to emerge over the next month.

“Last year was last year and I’m going to be the same me,” said Book. “We were able to have an undefeated season and that was great. We gained confidence from that, but it didn’t end the way we wanted. It’s a whole new year and we flip the page. 

“It’s a little easier to lead as the years go on and you get older. It’s something I push myself to do, especially to the young guys, so they know they have someone to trust and lean on. I want them to know I’m out there having fun and talking.” 

Book completed 68.2 percent of his passes last fall while throwing for 2,628 yards, 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 10 games. Impressive numbers, but Book wants to grow his overall game in addition to leading the team.

“Personally, leadership is something I want to get better at,” Book said. “I also want to take the next step and really test myself with my reads and totally understanding what’s going on with the defense, pre-snap and post-snap. I want to challenge myself that way.” 

Heading into the spring and fall last season, Book maintained he was treating each rep as if he was the starter despite Brandon Wimbush returning. It paid off as Book was able to take the job and have a big season.

Don’t expect Book’s mentality to change as he heads into his first spring as the starting quarterback at Notre Dame. 

“I still treat it the same,” Book stated. “I have to go out and prove myself. Phil (Jurkovec) is a great quarterback and we have great quarterbacks in our room. I’m definitely not taking things lightly.  

“There are a lot of goals and areas in my game I want to improve.” 

While Book’s mentality hasn’t changed, the 6-foot, 208-pounder does plan to be aggressive this spring to see how far he can push his game and the offense. 

Now, don’t expect him to get reckless with the football, but spring ball allows him to test what he can do without millions of people questioning each decision. 

“I want to test myself,” explained Book. “I want to make those even harder throws into smaller windows. That’s what it takes to be an elite offense and an elite quarterback. I’m not going to go too crazy where I create bad habits, but I want to push the offense and the receivers to be able to show them I can make some of those throws.” 

Notre Dame will return a large supporting cast for Book to work with on offense, including four returning starters on the offensive line. 

Sophomore Jarrett Patterson will be the taking snaps with the first-team offense at center this spring and Book has already put in plenty of time to help him expedite his move from tackle. 

“Just getting as many snaps as we can under center or the gun,” Book said of his goals for Patterson. “We’re working on our chemistry. When it comes to protections, I know the guys we have on the line, the older guys, are doing a great job of getting him ready. Jarrett is doing a great job and we have a bunch of other guys who are snapping and doing well.

“Over the last month, we’ve been getting snaps every day and getting reps. We want to create that chemistry and for the snap to be second nature for him.” 

Patterson played in a few games last fall at left tackle and has already gained respect from several in the program because of how he goes about his daily business.  

“He’s really calm and listens well,” Book stated. “He’s having fun out there, but he’s an extremely hard worker. That’s what you want, especially in a center. It’s hard to snap and block. It’s great to see him out there having fun.” 

And for the question on everyone’s mind, is Ian Book healthy after dealing with some injuries last fall which were never fully disclosed? 

“I was fine right after the Cotton Bowl,” laughed Book. “I was good. No injuries after the Cotton Bowl.” 

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