Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush has the experience and skill set necessary to win games on the 2018 schedule.
Brandon Wimbush is Notre Dame’s starting quarterback — and this should not be up for debate.
Thanks to a terrific bowl game performance from Ian Book back on New Year’s Day, some have been led to believe that a changing of the guard is set to take place under center. Let’s pump the brakes on that.
Book replaced a struggling Wimbush against LSU on New Year’s Day. The two had been rotating and it became apparent that Book was having more success against the LSU defense. Brian Kelly wisely went with the hot hand and it worked out.
Be that as it may, there is more to that change from a big-picture standpoint than meets the eye.
Book is a prototypical pocket passer with a quick release. He has the ability to run if need be, but he’s not a natural dual-threat quarterback. This was situational, as LSU had likely been planning to shut down Wimbush. When Book came in and started effeciently slinging the ball around the yard, it was too late for LSU to adjust its game plan.
We can argue that point all day, but first I’m going to toss a stat at you. Of the top ten teams in the final AP poll at the end of the 2017 season, seven of them had traditional dual-threat quarterbacks as starters. Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield logged the lowest season rushing total of those seven with 311 yards.
The game of football is evolving again, and having a quarterback who is also a natural runner is important. As edge rushers get faster and blitzes become more and more complicated, you want an athletic signal-caller who can get away from the pressure, escape the pocket and make plays.
Brandon Wimbush has that ability.
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When you look at the teams on Notre Dame’s schedule, the best defenses the Irish will face in 2018 are built to get after the passer quickley. The front-sevens of Michigan, Stanford, Virginia Tech, Florida State and Southenr Cal are flush with elite athletes who specialize at pressuring the quarterback. LSU’s defense — on the other hand — was better built to stop the run than the pass. This was largely because of the offenses they faced in the SEC. Notre Dame’s rushing attack played right into their hands. Luckily, Book had the skill set to counteract that.
We don’t know for sure if Book can be successful on a consistent basis against the teams and schemes on Notre Dame’s 2018 schedule. We do know that Brandon Wimbush can be, and you always want to go with the sure thing until it’s not a sure thing anymore.
By the sounds of it, Wimbush continues to grow both as a passer and a leader. With the loss of so many high-impact players on offense, Wimbush’s playmaking ability combined with his leadership and experience may just be what Notre Dame needs to make a run at the College Football Playoff in 2018.
For now, Ian Book remains the backup and a solid option for the Irish to turn to if things spiral in the wrong direction. There’s nothing wrong with that, and many fan bases around the country would love for their favorite teams to have that sort of “problem.”