BC's promotion of its quarterback, who is following a path Doug Flutie traveled 23 years ago, has been easy. Ryan handles the interviews matter-of-factly, always saying the right thing at the right time to the right person. He also knows that his success will be linked to his team's success.
He also lets other people offer their opinions, such as Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis, who linked Ryan to Tom Brady and Brady Quinn. "High and early" was where Weis expected Ryan to go in the next NFL draft. When told of this prediction, Ryan laughed.
"That's pretty good company," he said. "I will take it. I don't think I'm where those guys are yet. That's pretty flattering to have that said about you."
Ryan's routine this fall is a little bit different than in the past. He is taking three night classes, so his primary duties during the day are football, whether it be practice, meetings, film study, or media requests.
Ryan has also spent hours discussing game situations with offensive coordinator Steve Logan, who has steadily increased the QB's workload. Ryan has studied Notre Dame the way he studied tapes of the Eagles' first six opponents. The results have been solid, and at times spectacular: 62.7 percent completion average (160 completions, 255 attempts), good for 1,857 yards and 15 TDs, with 5 interceptions.
Project those numbers over a full season and Ryan will break Flutie's season school record for TD passes (27) and passing yards (3,454). But again, those numbers are something that Ryan says he will ponder after the fact.
He knows that things have gone almost as smoothly as they possibly could go. He also knows that things can change quickly with one errant pass or fumble. He is careful not to get caught up in the hype, exemplified by the website devoted to his season (ryanforheisman.com).
"You have to be honest with yourself, regardless of the outcome," said Ryan. "What does [Patriots coach Bill] Belichick say? 'Sometimes you have to serve yourself some humble pie.' "