Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 10, 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 10 of 55 SEPT. 10, 2018 11 UNDER THE DOME Holy Cross Village is a continuing care retirement community, sponsored by the Brothers of Holy Cross, with a tradition of caring, compassion and trust. Holy Cross Village welcomes people of all faiths. 54515 State Rd., 933 North, Notre Dame, IN 46556 ... AND ENJOY THE GAME OF LIFE AT HOLY CROSS VILLAGE I magine making new friends and developing new talents, where everything you need to enjoy the game of life is right outside your front door. Nestled among three institutions of higher learning, Holy Cross Village at Notre Dame is a senior living community unlike anything else around. Our warm and inviting community offers: Independent Living Homes and Apartments Assisted Living Apartments Skilled Nursing Memory Care Rehabilitation Services Call (574) 251-2235 today for more information and to schedule a tour. In head coach Brian Kelly's eight seasons at Notre Dame, second-year quarterbacks coach Tommy Rees is the lone Fighting Irish signal-caller to complete his full playing eligibil- ity (2010-13) at the school. Four others used their fifth season of eligibility elsewhere — Dayne Crist (Kansas), Andrew Hendrix (Miami [Ohio]), Everett Golson (Florida State) and Malik Zaire (Florida). A fifth, DeShone Kizer, turned pro after the 4-8 campaign in 2016 with two years still left on the table. Will current senior starter Brandon Wimbush be back in 2019 for his fifth season of eligibility? The results from 2018 will play a huge factor in that decision. When Wimbush was on a roll as he was for the majority of the first nine games in 2017, the Fighting Irish offense flourished and routinely steamrolled foes. Few were better in the country as a dual threat. However, when doubt began to infiltrate, especially later in the year, Wimbush tended to get rattled, resulting in him getting yanked twice and faltering over the final four contests. Four days prior to this year's Michigan opener, Kelly spoke about the need to play to Wimbush's strengths, meaning not force-feeding him too much of the passing game to the point that it compromises his skills as a running threat, where his 803 rushing yards were the second most in one season by an Irish quarterback and his 14 rushing touchdowns set a new standard at the position. When the Irish head coach expressed his confidence that junior backup Ian Book, who helped rally the Irish to victory in the Citrus Bowl versus LSU, could be used "if needed," some saw it as a potential eagerness to pull the hook, as he did with Crist in the 2011 opener, Golson on a couple of occa- sions during the 12-1 season in 2012, and Golson again at the end of 2014. However, the Notre Dame head coach was adamant that a quarterback can't be constantly concerned about making mistakes to the point that it interferes with him becoming a playmaker, which Wimbush is. "We can't have a fear of failure at that position," Kelly said of the quarterback spot. "We're going to make mistakes. We have to understand the difference between letting our guys make plays and be who they are versus being paralyzed with fear of failure — and Brandon falls under that category. "At times he got himself in a place where he didn't want to fail. The quarterback position can't be that. You have to be a guy that is out there making plays." Kelly emphasized that preferably the playmaking is not a freelance, haphazard effort in desperation, but one "within the scope of the offense." "… He's a smart kid, he cares, but it can't be that we're hand- cuffing him that he can't go out there and make plays," he said. Essential to that is tailoring the offense to his skills. Navy doesn't ask the quarterback to throw more than 10-15 times per game, and Washington State head coach Mike Leach is not going to have his signal-callers run the option 20-25 times per contest. Finding that happy medium with Wimbush is the tricky aspect. In an effort to improve Wimbush's read progressions with the pass, the Irish coaches blew plays dead if he bailed from the pocket too soon during the spring. That's still important, but not to the point of restricting Wimbush's ad-lib abilities. "Let him be who he is and not try to conform him to who we want him to be," Kelly summarized. "This is much more about calling the offense for who Brandon Wimbush is than who we want him to be." — Lou Somogyi BRIAN KELLY: 'FEAR OF FAILURE' NOT AN OPTION AT QUARTERBACK Kelly noted that the Fighting Irish will tailor their offense to senior quarterback Brandon Wimbush's strengths in order to maximize his playmaking ability this fall. PHOTO BY ANGELA DRISKELL

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