Ohio University football coach Frank Solich enters the field with the Ohio football team before the game versus Miami on Wednesday, November 6, 2019, at Peden Stadium. (FILE)

Ohio University football coach Frank Solich enters the field with the Ohio football team before the game versus Miami on Wednesday, November 6, 2019, at Peden Stadium. (FILE)

Football's Future

May 27, 2021

Football: Ohio’s quarterback question

By Jack Gleckler | Sports Editor

T he Bobcats are still without a leader under center. Well, at least a single leader. Ohio has plenty of firepower in quarterbacks Kurtis Rourke and Armani Rogers, but it couldn’t make up its mind on who would lead the offense.

Rourke is a phenomenal passer for Ohio. His 68.2 completion percentage and 128.7 yards per game in 2020 pushed the Bobcats downfield in record time, and that was only over the course of three games. Had he been given more time, there’s no telling how Rourke could have progressed as a quarterback.

Rogers, on the other hand, rushes as well as Rourke passes. Rogers averaged six yards per carry for 114 total yards and two touchdowns last season. The UNLV transfer has talent, but he didn’t have the time to showcase it — thanks to the pandemic.

Last season, Ohio opted instead to take a two-pronged approach to the quarterback question. Instead of choosing Rourke over Rogers or vice versa, the two shared time on the field to give Ohio more offensive options. The duo have opposing playstyles, so the deal worked on paper.

It wasn’t the first time coach Frank Solich has implemented the two-quarterback system. When Rourke’s older brother Nathan played for Ohio, he shared playtime with Quinton Maxwell for a season, the difference being that Rourke ultimately won out as Ohio’s sole starter the next season.

But that might not fly this year.

It barely worked last season. It seemed that by the time whoever started had gotten hot in each game, they were subbed out in favor of the other. The constant change doesn’t help the offense and it doesn't help Rourke or Rogers either.

In Ohio’s season opener against Central Michigan, there was confusion at points as to which quarterback was supposed to be on the field. In the end, the Bobcats lost by a field goal to the Chippewas and were nowhere close to picking one quarterback over the other.

If the two quarterback system struggled in a three-game season, what will happen when Ohio returns to a full schedule? The constant shifting between Rourke and Rogers will only be a detriment when the Bobcats face teams like Louisiana and Northwestern in late September.

Not to mention Ohio’s opponents in the Mid-American Conference. The Bobcats played a conference-only schedule last season, so the entire MAC got a good look at how both of Ohio’s quarterbacks perform. That look will be worth a million dollars once conference play rolls around.

Ohio doesn’t need a solution right this second. Fall camp isn’t until August and anything can happen between then and the present. Both Rourke and Rogers are talented quarterbacks with plenty to offer Ohio.

But the Bobcats need to stop overloading their plate. They need to pick a man and stick with him. The offense —as well as Rourke and Rogers— will be better off for it. If there’s one quarterback at the helm for much of the season, the Bobcats will find a rhythm by rallying around him.

AUTHOR: Jack Gleckler
EDITOR: Eli Feazell
COPY EDITOR: Ashley Beach
PHOTO: Anthony Warner