Who went to the Blue-Gold Game? What are your thoughts on The Shirt? I neither went to the game, nor do I like this year’s edition of The Shirt. I’ll be honest, though, unless The Shirt was green, I wasn’t going to be on board. I am 100% on team “same color” every year. Anyways, let’s get back to the game. The Fighting Irish successfully put a button on spring practice and of course the chatter is about the quarterback position. Specifically, how good Ian Book looked, and how pedestrian Phil Jurkovec appeared.
There are fans who have been calling for Jurkovec, who’s finishing his freshman season, to replace Book as the starter in light of Book’s performance in the Cotton Bowl. That’s even after Book helped lead the Irish to a 12-0 regular season and the program’s first College Football Playoff appearance. I’d like to know who these people are.
It’s likely the same crowd that calls Book a game manager, and get blinded by the near 5-star ranking that Jurkovec touted out of high school. A game manager? Please. That’s a terrible description of Book. Just terrible. Because the connotation isn’t necessarily positive, but let’s spend more time here on Jurkovec. As Irish fans, ya’ll know what you’re going to get with Book, but Jurkovec hasn’t started a game yet in an Irish uniform.
What is the scouting report on Jurkovec? Well, in a previously life I worked at Irish247 and happened to put a few words together when he committed. Here is what I thought; good, bad, and otherwise:
Jurkovec has coveted size for a dual-threat. At 6-5, 190-pounds he trends towards the mold of former Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer. In terms of size, Jurkovec and Kizer ate the black sheep among the Malik Zaire’s, Brandon Wimbush’s, and Ian Book’s.
Much like Kizer, Jurkovec is a pass first signal caller with the added dimension that allows him to extend plays, make throws on the run, and run the zone read. Smart runner, understands the nuances of running the football and covers a lot of ground in short amount of time. He has the ability to make smooth, finesse throws as well as pass with power.
Flashes a mixture of move the pocket, in the pocket, and play action passes. Solid ball carriage in the pocket with limited wasted movement. High school offense runs some similar sets and characteristics to Notre Dame’s offense with dual tight ends used as lead blockers or run action fakes to utilize Jurkovec’s athleticism. As a pass first quarterback, Jurkovec begs teams to load the box to stop the run. If they do, he will hurt them with his arm. And when teams get burnt over the top, Jurkovec has experience running a gun spread offense with read/zone concepts, RPOs, and mid to long vertical attack schemes. Great knowledge of the game should allow for a smooth transition in an Irish uniform.
Does have a tendency to float in the pocket on some of his throws. With his size, he can create and maintain a better base. A better base will allow him to generate more back side drive from proper push angles. Effortless release at times, mainly on higher level throws, but arm throws occasionally, especially on some lower level throws. Muscles the throw. Can become more consistent across the board from throw to throw.
Following the Blue-Gold Game, it's clear his pocket presence isn’t near what Book’s is. He held onto the ball too long getting through his progressions, complete opposite of Book. Some of that is innate and some will be learning. It’s an adjustment early on. The problem is, he doesn’t have a ton of time to get it figured out.
Mechanics are another issue. It’s a red flag because I am not the only one saying it. I’ve been talkin about it since HS. It’s a problem, and I assume, if history is an indicator, we will talk about it until is no longer at Notre Dame.
What do ya’ll think? While he is still young, he’s got his work cut out for him in order to be prepared by this fall. His role this season is uber important being one play away from QB1. In my opinion, he’s the most important player on the Irish offense, and perhaps the team. Better be ready!