Pete DiPrimio, sports columnist and college beat writer for The News-Sentinel of Fort Wayne, Ind., takes his best shots on the world of Notre Dame football.

Friday, September 29

Quinn Has Come a Long Way

It’s not true that quarterback Brady Quinn was one of the original Four Horseman, although he’s started so long for the Irish it can seem that way.

Quinn became a starter four years ago against Purdue and never gave up the position. He wasn’t an instant superstar (he threw three interceptions), but he did throw 59 times for 297 yards, not bad for a guy who didn’t know he was starting until just before kickoff. Coach Ty Willingham, you see, was just as secretive with his players as he was with the media.

That didn’t mean Quinn didn’t have a clue that it could happen. In practice during the week leading up to the game, Quinn got the most reps with the No. 1 unit. Still, no one said anything to him.

“No one said, Hey, this is the direction we want to go, you're going to be starting this game, you're our guy, we're going to stay with you,” Quinn said.

“It was kind of weird going through the whole week of practice, being like, wow, this is basically ‑‑ I'm going to be starting. This isn't just like practice. This is actually going to happen.”

Still, he wasn’t sure, although he did call his parents about his prospects.

“I was like, Wow, I guess I'm starting. You guys should probably come to this game if you can.”

Quinn’s parents did and while Purdue won the game, Quinn won Willingham’s confidence. Now he has Charlie Weis’ confidence.

Confidence alone won’t produce a second straight victory over the Boilermakers. Quinn’s timing with receivers Jeff Samardzija and Rhema McKnight has been off, so they worked on specific routs in practice. Expect to see the payoff on Saturday.

The bottom line -– Purdue won’t stop the Irish receivers, which means they won’t stop the Irish. For more on this, check out my column.


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