Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 14, 2020

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

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40 NOV. 14, 2020 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY LOU SOMOGYI PARTING SHOTS Far and away the overlying theme in this game centers on Boston Col‑ lege quarterback Phil Jurkovec, a top‑100 recruit in 2018 who commit‑ ted to Notre Dame during his sopho‑ more year when the Irish were expe‑ riencing a 4‑8 nightmare. A lethal dual‑threat, the 6‑5, 226‑pound Jurkovec was viewed as the rock of the class and the foun‑ dation around whom Fighting Irish fortunes would be restored. Indeed, over the next four years Notre Dame has prospered into a consistent top‑10 operation — but it was achieved with mostly Ian Book and Brandon Wimbush at quarter‑ back, not Jurkovec. After redshirting as a freshman in 2018 and seeing limited action as a 2019 sophomore, the Western Penn‑ sylvania product opted last January to transfer to Boston College to play under new head coach Jeff Hafley. "Near the end at Notre Dame, I was really not liking football. I lost my love for it," Jurkovec told Pitts- burgh Post-Gazette columnist Mike White right before Boston College's season opener against Duke Sept. 19. "I brought up to my family about switching positions and not even playing quarterback. I wanted to make it work. I didn't want to be one of those guys when things get hard, they transfer and run away from it. "But talking with my family, I had to leave. And after I decided to leave, it was very hard. You under‑ stand that you're leaving your dream school, the team you always watched growing up. But I didn't really know what Notre Dame was like. I commit‑ ted to the dream of Notre Dame and not everything else." At the forefront of his decision was his belief that he was not developing as a quarterback. "I was going to eventually play at Notre Dame. I wasn't going to go my whole career and not play," Jurkovec told White. "But really, the main rea‑ son why I left was the frustration of not progressing. I knew coming out of high school, I needed to go somewhere and develop. I thought Notre Dame was the place. I think I developed in a lot of ways. But in quarterback play, I think I regressed in certain areas over time. "It was incredibly frustrating. … At times, it got to the point where I could not even throw the ball at all. My footwork was all jacked up." When Book announced he would return for a fifth season shortly after Notre Dame's win over Iowa State in the Camping World Bowl last year, Jurkovec's fate was sealed, although it's uncertain he would have remained even if Book chose to try the pros. "I'm glad he stayed because it gave me an opportunity to leave," Jurk‑ ovec told White. In years past, a transfer from one Division I school to another would have to sit out a year before becom‑ ing eligible to play. As is more and more the custom today, though, Jurk‑ ovec received an NCAA waiver this August that made him eligible to play immediately. He has become truly a franchise quarterback with the Eagles, with his 1,875 yards passing ranking fifth nationally during their 4‑3 start (also 49th in overall passing efficiency). He accounted for 78 percent of the total offense for the Eagles during that time, including a team‑high 94 rushing yards in a 48‑27 victory ver‑ sus Georgia Tech. "It was not a good situation for me at Notre Dame," Jurkovec concluded. "The second time around, I didn't go for the brand. I went for nothing other than the people. … They're for the players here, and not just in a football sense." 180-DEGREE REVERSAL The presence of quarterback Phil Jurkovec and a new staff has resulted in a complete about‑face in how the offense is run, almost comparable to Georgia Tech going from a triple‑ option scheme under Paul Johnson from 2008‑18 to pro‑style/spread GAME PREVIEW: BOSTON COLLEGE Top STorylineS First-year head coach Jeff Hafley has overseen a change in offensive philosophy at Boston College, switching from a power running scheme to a more passing-oriented attack. PHOTO COURTESY BOSTON COLLEGE ATHLETICS

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