Ian Book Relationship with QB Coach Tommy Rees
When I asked Ian about who has played the biggest role in his development as the season has progressed he quickly responded “Coach Rees,he has improved my game, simplified the offense for me, and it is cool to learn from someone who did it like 7 years ago, I am really fortunate.” Tom Rees won his first 4 games as a 19 year old freshman starter for the Fighting Irish which included a win over rival USC and as a senior he was the team’s MVP becoming 1 of only 3 Notre Dame quarterbacks to pass for at least 3,000 yards. Tommy’s goal was always to come back and coach at his alma mater. He was a Graduate assistant at Northwestern in 2015 and Ian says Rees is more than a Coach he is also a mentor that knows exactly what he is going through on a daily basis so there is a unique level of trust and comfort that he feels with his QB coach. Rees was the 7th and final hire for Brian Kelly during a staff overhaul this off season and according to Ian Book it was a very impactful hire.


Ian Book Random Notes

•      Says although he hated sitting out for a week, watching the game from the sideline helped him see a few things that you miss when you are playing in thegame

•      He tried out football in the 3rd grade and hated it and said he would never go back! Ian was not interested in getting hit. His older brother and dad had to convince him to return to the field and he’s glad they did because clearly the game

•      Ian says his older brother Nolan is the one who loved football first. Nolan is 18 months older and played linebacker at UC Davis until injuries forced him to stop. The brothers played together for 2 seasons in HS.


Drue Tranquill Evolving Leader
Brian Kelly says that although his senior’s status on the team has not changed it seems as though his impact has increased as a leader saying “His growth as a teammate from last year to this year has been amazing”. Kelly pointed to the fact that Drue sets the bar so high as a 4.0 student, great athlete, man of faith, that he can be hard to follow. Drue told me that he changed his leadership style this year and wanted to evolve into a relational leader. So he has spent a lot of time establishing deeper relationships with his teammates and letting them know that he really cares about them, “when you establish you care first, you open a space to speak tough love and encouragement” says Tranquill. Drue says that he has developed these relationships by doing small things like spending an extra 15 minutes at training table and making sure that he never eats alone. He also has teammates over to just watch Monday Night football or spend time together away from football. Since gettin his undergraduate degree Drue does have more time to spend with his teammates. He is only taking 3 classes and one is a directed reading course. Tranquill says during undergrad he would have class from 8am-1:45pm and then do problem sets after practice until11pm.


Random Drue Tranquill Facts

•      He has already graduated with a degree in engineering, his dad is an engineer so growing up he always thought that is what he wanted todo

•     He is now taking 3 graduate school courses

•      He has now developed a passion for teaching not sure he wants to be an engineer, he spendstime working at a local school that has a large population of low-incomestudents

•      One of his courses is a directed reading class which he uses to study one of his passions: The effects of poverty on upward mobility. He discussed some of the stories he has heard from teammates and their struggles at home. Drue wants to discover solutions for the causes of generational poverty.

Cameron Smith on Staying
Cameron Smith says that until halfway through the season last year he knew that he would be entering the NFL draft early. “I was done, over it, I wanted to move on and find myself in a new city”. But he says it was right around the Colorado game when he felt like he needed to humble himself and he took a step back to think about all that he could gain if he came back. Cameron says when he stopped being egotistical it was an easy decision to make and that ultimately “it was the best decision of my life”.

Cameron says that he has matured mentally and learned a lot through out the season despite the fact that it has not gone as planned. Over the offseason he lost 20 pounds by changing his entire lifestyle and now he says that he is moving much better.

JT Daniels Transition to College
JT says that the transition to college ball has had its ups and downs. “The toughest thing is no one is bad, everyone belongs on the field. A wide receiver may win the one on one battle but that doesn’t mean he will be wide open out there so my decision making has to be quicker and more precise”. Daniels says that playing at powerhouse Mater Dei High has helped prepare him. He believes his offensive coordinator Dave Money could be an OC anywhere. JT has worked with Dave since he was in 6th grade. The self proclaimed film geek says he is constantly watching tape. He says he probably gets on graduate assistant-Dane Stevens nerves because he is constantly asking him to watch film with him.

Amon-Ra St. Brown
Being the leading wide receiver during his freshman year of college is something that Amon-Ra has been training for his entire life. He says any success he may have is a culmination of his dad pushing him with specialized workouts, meal plans, and practicing with his brothers. He talks to his dad after every game and gets his feedback. He is also fluent in French and German and hopes to one day be an entrepreneur with an international business.