The rumor mill was in full force yesterday with news that Ian Book would miss Saturday night against Florida State. Kelly has been anything but up front about his status by keeping to the line “(Book has) been at practice, but he’s been limited,”. So this is based on the assumption that Wimbush will be the starter.
Last season was dynamic for Brandon Wimbush and he looked impressive on the ground for most of the year. He has proven he can win the big game as he did in the USC game last season and against Michigan this year. He has talent, he just doesn’t fit into Chip Long’s system quite like Ian Book.
While the fans of Notre Dame have been speculating how Wimbush will preform, it isn’t totally up to him. Chip Long moved into an RPO and more of a passing attack this season. It has been for the best as Ian Book has taken the role in stride and is thriving. It also calls for some changes when you lose half your offensive line from the previous season that featured a run heavy offense.
So with Ian Book possibly missing this game, Chip Long has to adjust his offense. He can’t stick to the usual play calls because as we witnessed in the first three games and most of last season, Wimbush doesn’t pass like Book. If Chip Long tries to run the same offense and keep it business as usual, you play to Wimbush’s weaknesses.
this doesn’t mean blow the offense up because the RPO and designed QB runs can still be there. But Florida State is ranked sixth in rush yards allowed and Wimbush won’t beat you with his arm.
From the sounds of it, they have had since Tuesday or Wednesday to prepare for Wimbush to set in. He has proven he can succeed but he needs to be put in the right situation. If he struggles, I would look to the play calling to see if they have schemed for this or are the trying to jam a square peg in a round hole.
The biggest reason I could see for them to force Wimbush to play like Book would be the injury potential. But if you try and play safe and act like this is a sub .500 team, it’ll spell disaster for Notre Dame.
Another point to get out of the way is Phil Jurkovec. His game is incredibly similar to Book and is most likely the future of Notre Dame. But if he plays Saturday, it is either a blowout, or it is a full on disaster. Wimbush isn’t as talented as Book but he is a Senior and 16-3 as a starter. Jurkovec is a true Freshman and isn’t ready to be a starter yet.
If Jurkovec is in the game, hopefully it is a route and he is in for mop up duty. Kelly said they could win with Jurkovec in the game, which I don’t doubt, but it would be better to not find out. Wimbush has the talent to win every game for the rest of the regular season. Saturday night will be no different, but if the offense struggles and stalls out, Wimbush might not be the reason why.
Let us know what you think below, are you happy with Wimbush starting or would you prefer Jurkovec?