The second Ian Book and the Fighting Irish offense get stagnant – the “Phil” fans come out of the woodwork calling for a quarterback change.
While I personally do not understanding the hatred for Book, and I had to remind myself just who the hell Phil Jurkovec was to better understand why fans want him under center so badly.
Four Star / Dual-Threat QB – Class of 2018
Jurkovec attended Pine Richland High School, in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania. About 30 minutes north of Pittsburgh.
He currently stands at nearly 6’5”and 227 lbs according to the UND website. The ideal stature of a quarterback
As a Pine-Richland Ram, Jurkovec put up some big time numbers. According to MaxPreps, His senior season alone he accounted for a staggering 63 total touchdowns and 5,180 yards en route the 2017 state championship.
In any event, Jurkovec’s resume is extremely impressive. But we’re not in not high school any more. And while the future looks bright, it’s also important to ease him in.
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
Who knows how it shakes out, Jurkovec could end up being the best quarterback recruited in the Brian Kelly era but it does not appear that narrative is going to begin in 2019 or even 2020.
Jurkovec, red-shirted in 2018. Now for 2019, he has assumed the back-up role at Notre Dame – but it was not a gimme.
He did get a few snaps in 2018 but did not do anything with it. The biggest sample to base him off has been the Blue & Gold scrimmage in spring 2019. Book came out looking sharp with the first team offense and was able to solidify his starting job.
Jurkovec, though, was a complete train wreck of sorts taking 12 non-contact sacks. He completed 15/26 passes for only 135 yards. Surely this stat-line is not going to win over Irish nation on Saturday’s.
Expectations were very high for Jurkovec, and it seems like he does not yet have that internal clock going off, or ability to sense defensive pressure.
Even coming off the big loss at Michigan, Kelly still did not feel that Jurkovec is ready to be under center full-time. Not even against Duke – which tells us all we need to know about his development.
The Good News
The good news is, Jurkovec is getting playing time much earlier than Book did. Even if it comes in garbage time, these looks will make a difference in the development of the young QB.
Jurkovec is technically a sophomore, but he will be eligible for his fifth year when the time comes. This is exciting as it allows the young signal caller to continue to develop without all of the pressure of being the starting quarterback at Notre Dame.
So far in the limited game action he has seen this season, Jurkovec has played well.
In five clean-up appearances, he has completed 12/15 of his passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns. He has also added 130 yards on the ground.
Book is the best option today, and perhaps even next year. However, having a guy with Jurkovec’s accolades competing for the job is going to be an interesting conversation come spring time.
Especially if Book decides to return for his final year of eligibility. Book’s potential return is still a question mark for the Irish.