Why Lions QB Nathan Rourke is the ‘complete package deal’

Why Lions QB Nathan Rourke is the ‘complete package deal’

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The B.C. Lions have been raving concerning the work ethic of first-year beginning quarterback Nathan Rourke all season.

However what precisely does Rourke do to earn that reward? 

Let his outdated school quarterbacks coach at Ohio College inform you. 

“That first summer season he was on the depth chart because the No. 2 (in 2017), it’s the center of summer season Friday night time, a pal of mine got here into Athens, (Ohio) for the weekend and I stated ‘hey, I’ll take you and present you across the services,’” Scott Isphording, now the offensive co-ordinator and QB coach for the Ohio Bobcats, stated over the telephone this week.  

“As I’m carried out displaying my buddy round, we’re leaving and Nathan has a bag of balls and goes onto the sphere with out one other participant and goes to throw into one of many nets we stored on the sphere at 7:30, 8 o’clock on a Friday night time. That’s simply who he was and who he’s. It wasn’t a present. There’s no method he knew I used to be there. In actual fact, I believe he was upset I noticed it.  

“He was a terrific younger man to teach as a result of I’ll inform you what, he held me to the hearth. I needed to know what I used to be doing as a result of he undoubtedly knew what he was doing.” 

The Cincinnati native had a front-row seat to look at the event of a man who is definitely the story of the yr within the CFL. 

A uncommon Canadian quarterback to get an actual shot at a No. 1 job, Rourke has exceeded all expectations. Born in Victoria and raised in Oakville, Ont., the 24-year-old cemented his standing as the highest candidate for the league’s Most Excellent Participant award final week when he accomplished 34 of 37 passes (for a CFL document 91.2-per-cent completion fee) for 477 yards and 5 touchdowns because the Lions improved to 6-1 with a 46-14 demolition of the Edmonton Elks. Rourke additionally rushed for a serious, breaking Russ Jackson’s document for touchdowns in a sport by a Canadian QB.

The final participant to be named the CFL’s MOP and prime Canadian in the identical season — Calgary Stampeders operating again Jon Cornish in 2013 — gained the Canadian athlete of the yr award that December.

“I’ve been capable of see a great chunk (of his video games this season). … There’s sure mannerisms which might be Nathan Rourke and it’s nice to see on TV,” Isphording stated.  

“Him enjoying in addition to he’s, it’s been quite a lot of enjoyable for the entire household. Nate was round my children a ton and was nice to them and so they all love watching him. … I can’t take any credit score for what he has carried out and what he’s persevering with to do as a result of he’s about as self-motivated as anyone I’ve been round.” 

That was clear from the second Isphording first met Rourke. 

The Bobcats had acquired phrase there was a promising QB at Fort Scott Group Faculty in Kansas, the place Rourke performed in 2016 — some guys named Aaron Rodgers and Josh Allen additionally began their post-secondary careers in relative obscurity at junior faculties. Just like the Inexperienced Bay Packers star (Butte Group Faculty in California earlier than enjoying for NCAA California) and the person giving Buffalo Payments followers professional Tremendous Bowl ideas for the primary time in a long time (Reedley Faculty in California earlier than going to NCAA Wyoming), Rourke went off the overwhelmed path to Fort Scott after ending his high-school profession with one yr in Alabama. 

“I flew out to see him. More often than not, just about on a regular basis, while you go to fulfill a recruit, he exhibits up shakes your hand, perhaps he’s glad to see you relying on the varsity, perhaps not,” Isphording stated. “Nate exhibits up with a pocket book and a pen and is writing down all the things I say. I went ‘you understand, that is my sort of man.’ 

“Happily, recruiting is wonderful, he had one different provide. He got here right here for the spring, our quarterbacks weren’t stay that spring, so we actually didn’t actually know what we had from the make-people-miss standpoint within the operating sport. The quarterback that began the yr earlier than and Nate cut up time the primary two video games and it grew to become fairly apparent, fairly quick that Nathan was going to be the higher of the 2 and Nathan by no means appeared again.” 

Together with his arm and toes as weapons, Rourke guided Ohio to 3 NCAA Bowl wins in as a few years earlier than the Lions took him 15th total within the 2020 CFL Draft. 

Isphording stated Rourke had accidents that restricted his low season program his first two years at Ohio – stopping him from engaged on his arm power. However now that he’s totally wholesome, the coach sees vital enchancment. 

“He’s getting the ball in a few of the tight home windows which might be clearly going to be tighter the upper ranges you go,” stated Isphording, who now coaches Rourke’s youthful brother, Kurtis – additionally a quarterback at Ohio. 

On Saturday, Nathan Rourke will face one in every of his more durable skilled assessments thus far when he goes into Calgary to face the 5-2 Stampeders.  

Isphording is aware of Rourke will likely be ready for the problem – and he’ll accomplish that whereas not forgetting these round him. 

“He’s very severe. He’s very pushed. However to not the purpose of being a jerk,” Isphording stated. “Some very pushed individuals are not the nicest folks on the earth. If something, Nathan is as good an individual as you’d ever need to meet and that’s a tribute to his mother (Robyn) and pop (Larry) and what they’ve carried out.  

“He’s a really pushed man. It took to his senior yr for us to have the ability to sit down and discuss stuff apart from soccer. Undoubtedly was the primary to get an image with the children after the sport. I’ve a son (Gunnar) and a daughter (Erika) and he’d give them each excessive fives after the sport.  

“You’ve acquired the full package deal up there with him and typically, it’s a bit of too good to be true with guys and superstars and all that. Definitely not the case with Nathan. You see what you get. He’s a terrific younger man and has labored his butt off to get the place he goes. I don’t understand how you don’t love a man like that.” 

What we favored in Week 9

• The unbelievable Winnipeg Blue Bombers. On a brief week (they’d simply 4 days off between highway video games), Mike O’Shea’s Blue Bombers improved to 9-0 with a 35-20 win over the Montreal Alouettes. 

• The rebound by the Toronto Argonauts. Coming off a debacle in all aspects of the sport in a loss to the Ottawa Redblacks, the Argos responded by beating the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 34-20 to take management of the weak East Division. 

• The persevering with robust play of Calgary Stampeders rookie defensive again Titus Wall, who returned an interception 46 yards for a landing in a 17-3 win over Ottawa. 

What we didn’t like in Week 9 

• The Redblacks’ poor efficiency in Ottawa after lastly profitable of their first of the season in Toronto. Ottawa is now a pathetic 2-16 at residence the previous three years. 

• Persevering with self-discipline issues for the Alouettes, which was purported to be one of many massive causes GM Danny Maciocia put in himself as head coach and fired Khari Jones earlier this yr. There have been seven penalties for 77 yards within the loss to Winnipeg. 

• The intense damage suffered by Ticats star receiver Bralon Addison in Toronto. He tweeted he has a torn Achilles this week, dangerous information for a banged-up Ticats staff. 

Week 10 picks 

Montreal Alouettes at Winnipeg Blue Bombers (-9), Thursday, 8:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. PT 

Second half of a home-and-home sequence. Alouettes QB Trevor Harris will play after being restricted with a again damage this week. PICK: Montreal 

Toronto Argonauts at Hamilton Tiger-Cats (-1), Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET / 4:30 p.m. PT 

As soon as once more, the latter half of a home-and-home. The Ticats’ pattern of late meltdowns continued final week in Toronto as they gave up an interception return and blocked punt for touchdowns. PICK: Toronto 

B.C. Lions (-2.5) at Calgary Stampeders, Saturday, 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT 

The sport of the week as the highest contenders for second place within the CFL West sq. off. All three of the groups’ mixed losses are in opposition to Winnipeg this yr. PICK: B.C. 

Saskatchewan Roughriders (-5.5) at Edmonton Elks, Saturday, 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT 

Coming off the bye week, the Roughriders are in determined want of a win after shedding three in a row. PICK: Saskatchewan 

2022 document: 20-15 

(Odds from FanDuel as of Thursday morning) 

Energy rankings 

1. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (9-0, final week: 1): Seeking to change into the seventh staff in CFL historical past to begin 10-0, matching the franchise document set in 1960. 

2. B.C. Lions (6-1, final week: 2): Rourke faces Calgary’s Bo Levi Mitchell in a marquee quarterbacking matchup on Saturday. 

3. Calgary Stampeders (5-2, final week: 3): Defence carried the Stamps to a win in Ottawa. They’ll want extra from the offence in opposition to the Lions. 

4. Toronto Argonauts (4-3, final week: 6): Taking part in second of 4 video games in 5 weeks in opposition to the Ticats on Friday.

5. Saskatchewan Roughriders (4-4, final week: 5): Coming back from bye in opposition to the Elks provides the Roughriders an opportunity to get again on monitor. 

6. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2-6, final week: 4): Large dropoff after No. 5 within the energy rankings — however a sixth staff will qualify for the playoffs. One way or the other, the Ticats are presently second within the CFL East — and would make the post-season if it began right this moment. 

7. Ottawa Redblacks (1-7, final week: 7): On the bye after getting booed at residence in a dreary loss to the Stampeders. 

8. Montreal Alouettes (2-6, final week: 9): Solely transfer up one due to the efficiency of the staff under them final week. 

9. Edmonton Elks (2-6, final week: 8): Edmonton has now been outscored 105-29 in two video games in opposition to the Lions.

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