Football: Bobcats look to fix defensive issues and wait on quarterback spot

 

Nathan Rourke looks for an open reciever during Ohio University’s game against Purdue University at Ross-Ade Stadium on September 9, 2017 (Blake Nissen | Photo Editor)

 

Ohio formed a semicircle near the middle of the field Wednesday at Walter Fieldhouse, creating an opening for its brief, fun activity. The Bobcats were going to golf.

Several players, including Dorian Brown, Cleon Aloese and Sam McKnight, attempted chip shots toward the end zone at the south end of the field house. McKnight’s shot stood out.

That was because as he attempted to hit the golf ball, the golf club flew out of his hands and down the field.

After that, the activity was over, and the players dispersed, laughing as they resumed practice. It was time to continue preparing for Kansas.

The Bobcats (1-1) will play the Jayhawks (1-1) on Saturday at Peden Stadium at noon. The game will be televised on ESPNU.

“(Golfing) shows that we’re not robots,” safety Kylan Nelson said. “We can go from being serious, getting work done and then have team bonding.”

The Bobcats can work on facets of the game they need to improve and still have occasional fun in their practices. This week’s preparation for Kansas is especially important.

Ohio lost to Purdue 44-21 last Friday, and for the entire first half, Ohio didn’t perform to its strengths well.

Miscommunication was present throughout the defense, and players who typically perform well did not do so against the Boilermakers.

“We did have a lot of mental busts this previous game, so now making sure that all those things that we thought or overthinking about, solidify these things early on,” Nelson said.

But for the offense, perhaps a bigger problem exists: Which quarterback – Quinton Maxwell or Nathan Rourke – will earn the start against Kansas?

Coach Frank Solich has not said which quarterback will start, but both are going to play against Kansas. The Bobcats have prepared both quarterbacks to play so far this season.

And for quarterbacks, coach Scott Isphording, the concept of having two quarterbacks who play isn’t a problem.

“I know it sounds like a stock answer, but I really believe I got two really, really good ones,” Isphording said.

Isphording said that the thinking behind having both quarterbacks play is to provide game experience. At some point, the second-string quarterback will have to play.

“You’re going to need one of them to come off the bench and convert a 3rd and 5 at a really really crucial time in the air,” Isphording said.

Rourke hasn’t started in the first two games, but in both he has shined. In the first two games, Rourke has tallied three rushing touchdowns, one passing touchdown and 369 total yards.

But with whoever the starter is Saturday, the Bobcats still want to use whoever the second-string quarterback is at some point during the game. Isphording said that point is usually the early part of the second quarter.

That point could come earlier, though, and it has. Rourke entered the game at Purdue during Ohio’s last drive of the first quarter.

“They’re both going to have opportunities to make something happen out on the field against Kansas,” Isphording said. “In some ways I think there’s more of a reason for you to stay engaged throughout the week that knowing that you’re going to play, whether you’re the starter or not.”

 

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