Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 8, 2018*

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

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52 OCT. 8, 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY LOU SOMOGYI Q uarterback changes in the first half of a football season gener- ally occur for three reasons. One is because the team, spe- cifically the offense, is floundering, and it needs a shot of new blood to see if recovery is possible. Two, an injury to the starter thrusts the backup into the lineup. The third is the most unusual and seldom seen. The team overall is doing well, is maybe even undefeated … but the staff believes an even higher level can be achieved with a change. Reigning national champion Ala- bama did that by replacing Jalen Hurts, 26-2 as a starter with already one national title, with Tua Tagovailoa. Clemson, the 2016 national cham- pion and a playoff team last year, fol- lowed suit by replacing incumbent Kelly Bryant, 16-2 as a starter, with elite five-star freshman Trevor Lawrence. This September, despite a 3-0 start and No. 8 ranking, senior Brandon Wimbush, who received the game ball for his play in a crucial season-opening win versus Michigan, was supplanted from the starting role by junior Ian Book in the Wake Forest game. Book directed a 56-point outburst in the win after the Irish had tallied only 70 the first three games. An early surge, or long-term an- swer? Only time will tell, but Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said this course of action was not premeditated. He has stayed with his preseason theme that both Wimbush and Book would be needed in 2018. "I can't tell you that we are that smart that we had a master plan to all of a sudden unleash Ian Book in week four against Wake Forest," he said. "We were focused on beating Michi- gan in the preseason, we were focused on the continued development of Ian Book, and we felt that both of them had the ability to help us win during the year. But it would be disingenuous of me to say that we were planning on this being the coming out party for Ian Book. "… It's never one static moment. It's a fluid situation that you're observing with the growth of our team. … After spending time with the offensive staff, I felt like this was the time to make the move." Most of the time when a quarterback is thrust into a role at Notre Dame dur- ing the season when least expected, a surge follows. Over the past 50-plus years, these were the top moments of change and impact during the season. Where might 2018 eventually rank? 1. Joe Montana (1977) The mother of all rising-from-the- ashes quarterback stories. Preseason favorites to win the na- tional title with all 11 starters back on defense and almost everyone but quar- terback Rick Slager on offense, Notre Dame featured future five-year NFL player Rusty Lisch on the first team and Parade All-American recruit Gary Forystek on the second. Montana was with the third team after sitting out 1976 with a separated shoulder. The Surge: After losing at Ole Miss in game two and trailing Purdue 24-14 at the start of the fourth quarter, with Lisch struggling and Forystek injured CHANGING OF THE GUARD Ian Book is the latest Irish quarterback to emerge after biding his time In the third game of the 1977 season, third-string Joe Montana was inserted at quarterback with Notre Dame trailing Purdue 24-14 at the start of the fourth quarter. He rallied the Irish to a 31-24 win, took over as the starter, and led the Irish to nine straight victories and the national title. PHOTO COURTESY FIGHTING IRISH DIGITAL MEDIA

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