South Bend Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book is in his first offseason as the Irish starting QB. Freshman signal-caller Phil Jurkovec is in his first offseason as a college football player. According to coaches, the distinction is clear.
Some expected Jurkovec to push Book for the starting position this spring, but after 14 practices, it's clear Book is the clear-cut QB1, while the true freshman is firmly entrenched as the backup.
For Book, he has been challenged by offensive coordinator Chip Long to take more risks during these spring practices, hoping to see more out of the junior by pushing him past his comfort zone.
"I expect a lot from Ian," Long said. "I told him, challenge it, really challenge the offense. Test it, test your arm, and I think he's done a really good job of that."
For Jurkovec, he still needs to focus on the basics of being a college quarterback.
"Phil, we have to understand the offense," Long said. "Day-to-day, let's see some type of improvement. You have to be a guy that's able to come in there and win a game."
"Ian's been doing it for three years," Long added. "He knows the offense really well, he's brought really good, steady leadership. He's not a vocal guy, but he walks with great confidence, and you see that with the play with the receivers this spring. One's on advanced calculus, one is still getting past algebra right now."
Both Book and Jurkovec will be on display Saturday at the Blue-Gold game. Kickoff is at 12:30pm at Notre Dame Stadium.