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Best We've Ever Had? How Hartman Stacks Up to Recent Irish Quarterbacks

By Liam Farrell|Senior Staff Writer|Twitter @LiamFarrell_IT


Via Matt Cashore, USA TODAY Sports


In his first two games for the Fighting Irish, Sam Hartman has been other-worldly. Hartman has led the Irish to two blowout victories, and has capitalized on 11/12 drives in touchdowns, with the only other possession being a missed field goal. While watching these games, the whole vibe has completely changed around the quarterback play for Notre Dame. Last year, I felt myself on the edge of my seat, hoping Drew Pyne wouldn't get sacked, or be able to throw a pass without it getting deflected at the line of scrimmage. I've had no worries with Hartman, at all. Even on 3rd and long, just watching Hartman have a little grimace and laughing just instills how cool, calm, and collected he really is; and if he has me reassured, 2,150 miles away, I can't help but think everyone in that huddle is as relaxed as their captain is. With it only being two games, it is hard for fans not to overreact, but let's take a quick dip through recent Notre Dame quarterbacks, and how Hartman is similar, yet differs from them all.


2022 Season: Drew Pyne and Tyler Buchner

Via NBC Sports


In a similar manner to the 2016 season, many fans wish to forget some moments from the 2022 season. Don't get me wrong, I really liked Drew Pyne and Tyler Buchner, but they were nowhere near championship caliber quarterbacks. Before Buchner's injury, he showed his ability to spread the offense with his legs, which were the best facet of his game. However, Buchner simply didn't have the arm strength. The pick-six against Marshall was the perfect example of this. The same thing goes for Pyne who was just not physically built enough. It seemed every game that Pyne would have a ball deflected at the line of scrimmage, and every time he reared back to throw, I just assumed it was going to Michael Mayer. I was in attendance for the USC season finale last year, and just seeing the difference in quarterback play had me in awe.


2021 Season: Jack Coan

Via ESPN


Oddly enough, I believe Jack Coan's game translates the most to Sam Hartman's. Coan was a stone-cold statue pocket passer, but the dude had a cannon and was extremely accurate. Coan threw for 3,150 yards in his sole year with the Irish and led them to a 1 loss regular season campaign. Coan was a warrior who willed the Irish to a lot of victories, most notably against Toledo and Virginia Tech. The only knock on Coan was his lack of athleticism in the pocket. I remember watching games and just yelling at my TV for the guy to move in the pocket. It also didn't make sense as we saw Coan get sacked 32 times, but every single game the announcers mentioned Coan was originally a lacrosse commit for Notre Dame, which one would think would make him quite nimble.


2018-2020 Seasons: Ian Book

Via ESPN


The golden child. Ian Book is a very polarizing figure in the eyes of Notre Dame fans. Some people love him. Some people hate him. I always thought Ian Book was simply a winner. The dude got it done when he had to, but wasn't skilled enough to elevate his team to win the big games (besides the regular season Clemson 2020 game). Ian was a dual threat quarterback, who relied on his one read and if it wasn't there, he would tuck it and run. Book knew the offense inside and out, thanks to his extremely close relationship with then offensive coordinator Tommy Rees.


Hartman is much like Book in the fact that he is a winner; however, he differs from Ian because he makes everyone around him better. Book would melt in big moments, like when he had a two-minute drill to beat Georgia in 2019, or when we were mounting a comeback against Alabama in 2020, which halted with an under-thrown Book interception. While we haven't seen Hartman in a big game yet for the Irish, I believe he possesses much more confidence than Book had on the field, which proves the most vital in those big game atmospheres.


Wrap-Up


It's only been two games, but it is evident that Notre Dame has had their first championship caliber quarterback in recent memory. Hartman is so poised in the pocket, and can extend plays when he has to. He elevates the Irish's playoff chances more than any other player in past years. Notre Dame finally has their difference maker at quarterback and man is it exciting to watch. Let's hope Hartman can continue his dominance against a familiar foe in NC State, and see how special this season can truly be.

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