Brian Kelly has no ideas of a quarterback controversy. The Irish head coach explained as much instantly after Notre Dame’s 45-14 wreck at Michigan on Saturday, and he explained it again Monday. Sophomore Phil Jurkovec isn’t going to step in for senior Ian Book, regardless of the latter’s 8-of-25 departure for 73 yards and one touchdown against the Wolverines.
“I really don’t know that there’s any appetite — there isn’t from [me] — there is not any quarterback controversy,” Kelly said. “There isn’t any kind of conversation about creating a change. Ian Book is our starter, will be our starter, and Phil (Jurkovec) will continue to be prepared if he is called upon.” By no signifies is Kelly arguing Novel has performed well of late.
“Whenever that the quarterback does not play as much as a standard he has, others have for himhe’s likely to be in the spotlight,” Kelly stated. “It comes with the position. …
“Is it reasonable? Sure. I believe it is fair criticism of everybody, including me.”
That gripe traces back farther than just Book’s last two games. It may be summed up both by raw numbers and by broader concepts. The numbers: (this doesn’t include the Clemson game, because the Tigers were such an outlier in comparison to some other defense Publication has confronted.)
Book as a rookie in seven games in 2019: 59.18 percent completion rate, 7.61 yards a week, 15 touchdowns, 2 interceptions.
Those rates encapsulate the broader concepts. Book’s struggles working through his progressions, rather dashing into bloated trenches to get little-to-no gain, appear in his conclusion proportions.
So why no quarterback change? Because Kelly’s cost is to win matches, simply enough, and also to win them today, to not follow Houston’s lead and drop a few additional games in 2019 in the sake of winning a couple of additional in 2020.
“I’m only interested in how I can help our football team win,” Kelly said. “This isn’t about an ego or we have to play one man or two men. I only need to win football matches by playing with the best players that will help us win.
“If I thought for a second that Phil Jurkovec will be on the field to assist us winning in some manner, he’d be on the area. That’s as honest as I could be with you.”
Jurkovec arrived at Notre Dame a touted four-star prior to the spring’s practices showed just how far from ready he was. Kelly said Jurkovec has improved since then, along with his mop-up duties support that. In three appearances, Jurkovec has finished 9-of-13 passes for 191 yards and 2 touchdowns.
But that’s a far cry from being ready to lead the Irish offense.
“He hasn’t played lots of real football,” Kelly stated. “It’s been a lot of practice football. It is an incredible game, right? You clinic, clinic, practice, clinic, and you play only 12 games. He’s practiced a great deal and has not played a whole lot in school.
“He’s really missing that college — it’s quicker. That’s all he’s missing at this time. In practice, he looks pretty good, but it is getting to this point where he really plays some of those games and making those rapid decisions, changing protections, these are the things that he is going to have to continue to work .”
Working on them today might serve Jurkovec at 2020 or 2021, but Kelly is still concentrated on 2019, when Book is his better choice, and while this hasn’t yet changed, it is not as inherently put in stone as all this may make it out to be. After all, Kelly was just as adamant about beginning Brandon Wimbush last year right up until he wasn’t.
“What we are interested in is the two of those guys continuing to develop,” he said. “We place them in aggressive scenarios each week. It’s continuing. They are still in aggressive scenarios during the practice .
“Phil has gotten better and will continue to get better. He’s hard Ian daily even if you guys do not see it”
That said, if Kelly’s goal to win matches this year turns into five more victories prior to December, this question may go away not because of Jurkovec’s development or lack thereof, but due to Book’s play. In his three losses — from Clemson, at Georgia and at Michigan — well, nothing has been worthy of a compliment.
3 losses: 50.94 percent completion rate, 4.79 yards per attempt, 3 touchdowns, 3 interceptions.
“They will not be defined by a single game. They have got a excellent opportunity at the month of November. They may be remembered by winning the entire month of November.