New Orleans Saints quarterback Ian Book
Friday, Dec. 24, 2021
What did this week look like for you from Wednesday up until today?
"Yeah, it's been a wild week, there's no doubt. You know, I went to the first day of practice. Trevor (Siemian) didn't feel well, and he went in (to get Covid tested) immediately. He got tested and after practice he was positive, so boom, that was one (quarterback). I am losing track of days, but yesterday, Taysom (Hill) called me and told me he had tested positive. It was just boom, boom, two positive tests (for the quarterbacks). I can count, so I knew I was the last one (available)."
How much more prepared do you feel now than you did earlier in the week to start on Monday night?
"Last time we (met with media) talked was in training camp, getting ready to play the second half of the Baltimore game. I feel a ton better. That feels so long ago. Every time there was a rep, I got to take it mentally. Add up all of those reps, I got to do them mentally. I never got to do it with the ones obviously, but every time they were practicing and watching film, I had to envision it was me out there. I was cueing those reads over and over until it was really engrained in my mind. I do feel a lot better. The coaches have been getting with me and getting me all set up. It's time to go out there and do it."
Has it set in yet that barring something unforeseen, this will be your first NFL start?
"Every day I'm just taking it day by day. We're obviously getting closer to Monday night, but I'm not going to play with my mind and say, maybe (Taysom Hill and Trevor Siemian) come back and start. At this point, I'm planning on playing. That's what I have had to do this entire week to get ready. You can't just flip that switch on Monday morning trying to get ready. It doesn't work like that, especially at the quarterback position. That's what I've learned and that's what I've learned talking with other quarterbacks this year. I talked to Trevor (Siemian) about it when he was playing, you know, you have to take the whole week seriously because you never know when you have to play. I was the fourth quarterback on the list. I didn't expect things to happen like this, but with COVID you never know. So, I'm just taking it day by day. Trying to get into a routine is tough because you can't get into the building, but every day I am studying and learning as much as I can definitely on pen and paper. It felt really good to get out here today to just walk through it. I needed these reps, and I told the coaches I needed to have these walk-through reps. It was awesome. I needed to see it and picture it and it's coming together. It is going to be a good week. I'm excited. It really is an unbelievable opportunity (to start)."
How excited are you for the big stage on Monday night football?
"I'm going to be pretty buzzed, yeah. I don't know what it's going to feel like. I've played in big games (at Notre Dame), but this is the biggest one. We are professionals now and this is Monday night football. I grew up watching primetime football ever since I was a little kid. It was a dream of mine (to play prime time football), and I just keep telling myself what a great opportunity this is. There's a million excuses out there, is what I'd say, but we're going to use none of them. We're just going to go out there and play. We're all professionals, and when your name is called, you have to go out there and performed. I'm just excited. I want to go out there and the main thing for me is to have fun, move on to the next play, and play with speed. Do not go out there thinking all the time, that'll just slow my process down. I just have to out there and play, have fun. It's football."
Has Drew Brees or any other big quarterbacks reached out to you about how to handle this big stage in primetime?
"No, Drew has not. I think I have 200 texts on my phone. I think I'm going to have to get to those a little bit later, I'm trying to focus. I have a good support group. I've had people texting me that I didn't think would text me. It's pretty cool to those people tuned in and that they're watching. It is a big stage My family will be in town. My brother, who's in the boot camp in the military, was coming down (to New Orleans) this weekend regardless, now gets to see me starting. It's kind of timing out pretty good."
What branch of service is your brother in?
"He's in the Army. He was doing boot camp in Fort Benning, Ga. He just finished boot camp and he timed out awesome. So, he's here and he's pumped to see his first game and watch me run out there."
Have you talked to Brian Kelly about making your first NFL start?
"Yes, he shot me a text this morning. He'll be there Monday night in the box watching the game. He wished me luck, and I told him the same for him. I am excited for him getting the new job (at LSU). He told me he wanted me to come to Baton Rouge whenever I could get some free time to talk with the quarterbacks there a little bit and see what is going on down there. I'm excited for him. He'll be there in the box on Monday night."
Would you expect to do some of the things Taysom Hill normally does with designed quarterback runs?
"I would love to be as good of a runner as Taysom and hurdle people. But no, I have a little bit of that (running ability) in my game. There's no doubt. I have watched Taysom this whole year run around. He's someone I look up to with the way he handles his process other than just running and attacking the game. I'm trying to do that this week. Obviously, there's a lot of things in the way with COVID, but I try to be like Taysom. I think scrambling around a little bit when I need to is going to be huge. I don't know about any quarterback powers. I guess we'll have to see on Monday night."
Has Taysom said anything to you to give you advice on how to handle Monday night?
"Yeah, actually every quarterback has. Jameis (Winston) also reached out and send me a nice note. Trevor (Siemian) and Taysom (Hill) both called me, so it's been pretty cool. They all told me just to go out there, play football and have fun. We always say stay ready. I've been joking with Trevor all year to stay ready every time we see each other, and now we're at this point. They are all excited for me and wish me well. I wished them well and hope they get better soon. But they have sent me good notes and good points on what I need to do to focus and get locked in. They've each given me a few keys to get ready for this game and what to focus on."
Did you find out you were starting from Taysom Hill once he called you about his positive Covid test?
"Yeah. The coaches called me right after, but once Taysom called me and asked if I had heard the news, I already knew what that meant. He tested positive and like I said, I did the math there pretty quickly."
Do you have to have a different level of preparation on Monday night not having a veteran quarterback in this system with you to help walk you through?
"Yeah, it might feel like that a little bit, but just coming out here today and just having this whole team behind me, I feel how they have my back. Hearing how excited all of the guys are for me to have this opportunity is pretty cool. I feel like I've been with the Saints longer than I actually have. I'm getting close with these guys. I see what you're saying, but I haven't thought about that. When I get to the sideline I'll be getting with RC (Ronald Curry), Pete (Carmichael), and Blake (Bortles) now. Shoot, Blake's played for a long time. He's got a lot of starts under his belt and I want to hear from him as well. But at the end of the day, I know what I have to do. It is obviously the NFL and I haven't started or played yet, but I know what I have to do as a quarterback to win this game."