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Quarterback Nathan Rourke looks for a pass during Ohio’s game against Virginia on September 15, 2018. (FILE)

Football: Three position battles to watch with two weeks left of spring practice

Correction appended.

With two weeks remaining of spring practice, Ohio’s depth chart is beginning to form headed into fall camp. With injuries, players have been able to step up. Others have shown development and progression.

Ohio has plenty of returning talent and experience, and some jobs can already be safely assumed to be filled. But which important spots are still up for grabs? Here are three to focus on with five practices remaining:

Backup quarterback

For the first time in a while, it’s clear who Frank Solich will start at quarterback next season, and that’s Nathan Rourke. Rourke has started the past two seasons and made Ohio a contender for the Mid-American Conference Championship each year. 

With Drew Keszei switching to wide receiver, Joe Mischler and Kurtis Rourke are the two in the mix to back up Nathan. Kurtis is Nathan’s brother, and Mischler’s in his second season in the system. Both have a strong hold of the plays, and Kurtis’ natural talent of throwing the ball has shined. Mischler’s ability to go through progressions in the pocket has been impressive, though. 

While not the most important position battle, it could be important come next season. 

Running back

With Maleek Irons and A.J. Ouellette gone, Julian Ross sitting out the spring and two recruits not coming until fall camp, all eyes have shifted to O’Shaan Allison. The redshirt freshman played last season but not enough to burn his redshirt season. He has the potential to start for the Bobcats, but Jake Neatherton can be an every down back for Ohio, too.

Offensive coordinator Tim Albin has spoken openly that not having the two recruits and an injured Ross has put the starting running back job off until fall camp, but Neatherton and Allison’s development will surely help them. 


There’s no question Marlin Brooks, Tariq Drake and Jamal Hudson have the most experience. Brooks will probably start on one side at cornerback. Meanwhile, Drake and Hudson have been exchanging snaps on the other side cornerback over the spring. 

The experience that was so valuable last season with Jalen Fox won’t be the same. The Motley twins will see plenty of playing time but neither have the amount of experience as the three others. 


Correction: A previous version of this report incorrectly stated Kurtis Rourke’s relationship to Nathan. The article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information. 

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