Pro Football Focus: Notre Dame Football Quarterback Jack Coan Should Be ‘About The Same Kind Of Passer’ As Ian Book
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PFF: Jack Coan Should Be ‘About The Same Kind Of Passer’ As Ian Book

Notre Dame has the option of starting a fifth-year senior at quarterback for the second straight year.

If that’s the route the Irish go by tabbing Wisconsin graduate transfer Jack Coan the starter, they should expect a similar level of play from him in 2021 to Ian Book’s efforts in 2020, according to Pro Football Focus.

Book led efficient but not overly explosive Notre Dame offenses from 2018-20 and did enough to be considered a possible-if-not-likely NFL Draft pick. Coan spent his Wisconsin career in the same role: piloting a consistent passing attack that wasn’t designed to rack up 300-yard games, but could move the chains and complemented a run-heavy approach.

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish graduate transfer quarterback Jack Coan during hsi time at Wisconsin
Coan enters spring practice as the early favorite to be Notre Dame’s starter. (Dan Sanger)

Coan is a potential stopgap at quarterback between Book, a three-year starter, and a younger player with limited time in the program and even less time spent on the field. Giving him the job would be a move designed to keep the floor high. Both players also have the same limitations, writes PFF’s Anthony Treash, that might cap the ceiling.

“Coan's deep ball, however, was far too errant,” Treash wrote. “There were several instances of him getting overconfident and forcing deep shots that weren’t there. Exactly 20% of his 20-plus yard throws were deemed turnover-worthy that year, the worst rate in the Power Five.

“Downfield passing was a concern throughout Book’s 2020 campaign, and the same is likely true with Coan leading the way. All indications point to him being about the same kind of passer as Book.”

Not all his downfield numbers were poor. Coan was one of nine Football Bowl Subdivision quarterbacks in 2019 to complete at least 50 percent of his throws on passes that traveled at least 20 yards downfield (min 30 attempts). He completed 16 of 32 deep throws with eight touchdowns and two interceptions.

Coan’s 59.4 adjusted completion rate on deep passes was fourth among 113 qualified players. His “big-time throw” percentage on those throws was eighth. His 9.4 percent deep throw rate, though, was fifth-lowest.

Book, meanwhile, was 33-of-63 (52.4 percent) passing on 20-plus yard throws in 2019 and 16-of-41 (39 percent) last season. He attempted them on 15.7 percent of his passes in 2019 and 11.5 percent in 2020, with the latter figure third-lowest among 70 qualified quarterbacks. He had five touchdowns and two interceptions on deep passes in 2020.

All told, Coan is an 18-game starter who led the Badgers to a 10-4 record in 2019, a Rose Bowl appearance and a Big Ten West Division title. It’s enough of a résumé to land at No. 19 in PFF’s ranking of the top 30 transfers for the 2021 season.

“Despite playing in a difficult-to-execute offense at Wisconsin in 2019, Coan played fairly well,” PFF’s Anthony Treash wrote. “He produced a 77.0 grade for the season, and the Badgers put together the third-most efficient passing attack in the Big Ten. Coan displayed great underneath accuracy, something head coach Paul Chryst needed in his offense (7.5 average depth of target was the lowest in the conference).”

Coan is one of five quarterbacks listed in PFF’s top 30 transfers. He’s behind McKenzie Milton (No. 6, UCF to Florida State), Grant Gunnell (No. 7, Arizona to Memphis) and Hendon Hooker (No. 18, Virginia Tech to Tennessee). Jack Abraham (Southern Miss to Mississippi State) also made the list, at No. 27. Gunnel is the only one of the five who is not a grad transfer.

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