“A BISON ARRIVED FROM CANADA”

INTERVIEW WITH KURTIS ROURKE

QUARTERBACK – OHIO BOBCATS

An Ojibwa legend, an Indian tribe native to southern Canada – the home of the protagonist of this interview – tells that one of the most symbolic animals in all of North America, the bison, did not always have the current appearance that we all know.

In the dawn of time, the egregious bison galloped across the grasslands, offering the world unparalleled might and majesty. Nothing and no one could stop the egregious buffalo, who had no regard for everything that arose around him, only concerned with speed and the enjoyment of his races. The bison was always accompanied by some foxes, who warned the rest of the animals of the presence of their chief.

One day, the majestic bison decided to gallop through a territory forbidden by Nanabozho – god of all animals – because, on that ground, numerous birds nested. The concerned birds warned both the buffalo and the foxes that they were heading to a place where their young were, but neither bison nor foxes heeded these claims. The colossal bison ran and trampled the birds’ nests with its heavy feet, ignoring the cries of these birds and their young.

When Nanabozho learned of this misdeed, he sought out the evil buffalo to give him an exemplary punishment. He hit him very hard, on the shoulders, with his cane, something that made the bovid hide his head, fearing a new blow from Nanabozho’s scepter. However, the god of animals only sentenced: “From today on, you will always wear a hump on your shoulders, to remember this bad deed. And you will keep your head down before the shame of these acts ”.

The foxes, frightened, ran to flee from Nanabozho. They could not find a place to escape from the deity, so they tried to dig holes in the interior of the earth that would be unknown to Nanabozho. But the god of animals knew every inch of the Earth and did not take long to find the cowardly foxes. He spoke again and I told them: «Because you are cruel to birds, you will always live on the cold ground.» Since then, foxes have made their burrows in the ground and the great bison have their present appearance.

The majestic American bison – elconfidencial.com

Serve this beautiful and curious fable as a tribute to those incredible Native Americans who have bequeathed us thousands of stories of singular beauty. In addition, this story highlights one of the best known legends of the immense and great homeland of our protagonist, Kurtis Rourke. Kurtis, with a strength -in his game- similar to that of a colossal bison, has managed to adapt perfectly to a football program as historic as that of Ohio, has managed to capture the essence of work and preparation of Athens, has followed in the wake of his brother Nathan and has managed to become one of the quarterbacks with the most projection in the Mid-American Conference. 2021 was a turning point for Kurtis and, from @CoollegeNation and @OhioFootballESP, we have no doubt that 2022 will be the year of his total consecration. Today we are fortunate to speak with Kurtis Rourke, quarterback for the Ohio Bobcats.

Kurtis Rourke – ohiobobcats.com

First of all, Kurtis, we want to thank you very much, from Ohio Football España (@OhioFootballESP) & Coollege Nation (www.coollegenation.com),  for your full  accessibility to grant us this interview. We want to continue bringing College Football  closer to the Spanish public and having one of the quarterbacks with more potential in the entire  nation is – for us – an honor. Thanks, Kurtis.

1. In these moments of world crisis with this pandemic that has devastated the entire globe and has called into question our known order and way of life, how have you and your family lived it?

These last couple years have been very unexpected, and it has certainly called into question what life was like before the pandemic hit.  My family and I have lived these couple years taking one day at time. Like we all know, anything can change tomorrow and the day after so taking one day at a time is an approach I’ve focused on. My family and I have a lot concentrated on taking the proper health precautions and putting ourselves in the best position during this pandemic. This included staying clean and safe and being vaccinated.  This is what my family and I think is the best for our family and thankfully have not been hit by the virus.

2. Tim Albin´s first season at Ohio do you think the team is ready to  aspire to compete for the MAC title?

I do think our team is ready to compete for the MAC title. This past season even though most games did not go the way we wanted it to, I saw the competitiveness and fight in many of my teammate’s eyes. There were many players who did extra work before and after practice as well in the weight room and so the team is motivated to win. Coach Albin has been able to bring the culture and core values that this program has had for decades.  I think we have the pieces to make a big run in the near future. 

3. Do you think that sometimes the FBS Competition Committee looks down on the  “Group of Five” conferences and gives much less importance to the results of the  programs that compete in these conferences? What’s your opinion coming from P5 conference and playing right now at G5.

I think the FBS Competition Committee does favor the “Group of Five” conference a little bit, but I think it is also for a good reason. There usually is much better competition for the “Power 5” conferences when it comes to their scheduling and so it is harder to get recognition as a “Group of 5” team unless we take down a “Power 5” school.  I think the committee does a good job in giving the respect to a group of 5 team when they do beat a P5 school or when they are successful for a few years in a row. Like the University of Cincinnati is being put on display this year being a G5 in the college football playoff. 

Knowing how to read the Kent State defense – ohiobobcats.com

4. We would like to know how were your beginnings in the world of football. Where does your love for this sport come from? What made you decide to dedicate yourself exclusively to the sport of the ball? How much did your dad influence the road to football?

My love of football is the way the game is played and the competitiveness that football brings. I really enjoy the team aspect of football and the fact that there isn’t one player that can win a game as it must be team based. I originally got into football through my brother when I was 4. Growing up I also did whatever my brother did and so when he started playing football at the age of 6, I wanted too as well. Then, as I grew up and continued to play football, I fell in love for the game myself and played it because I wanted to and not because of my brother anymore. My parents never had a big influence on me playing football growing up. They have always said that they will support me in whatever I do as long as I work hard and am happy doing it. 

5. You played at Holy Trinity High School playing as the leader of that productive offense (4250 passing yards, 63 touchdowns, 705 rushing yards and 6 rushing touchdowns). How can you describe this stage?

High school was probably my most favorite stage in my life and football was a big part of it. Especially my final year (which were the statistics you stated), it was quite exciting to suit up with my fellow classmates that I have grown up with and go out and dominate the opposing team. We never got a lot of fans out to the games just because Canada isn’t as big a football country as the United States is, but we still enjoyed going out and playing for each other. I also had some great coaches in high school that I still talk to many years later. This stage really shaped me into who I am today both on and off the field. 

The beginnings of Kurtis – canadafootballchat.com

6. What made you decide to go for the Ohio Bobcats offer?

What drew me to Ohio was the culture and history of winning that was there through the coaching staff as well as the program in general. I also loved Coach Solich and everything he was about as a coach and knew that he would help me become a better player even if I wasn’t going to play right away. Finally, I thought I had a good opportunity to compete for the starting job in the coming years and it was much better than the other schools that I was looking at in my opinion. 

7. Your brother Nathan played quarterback in Ohio, what has it meant for you to continue in your brother’s wake in such a decisive position?

It meant a lot to have Nathan being there for a couple years before me. It was nice for his senior year to be my freshman year as he was able to show me the ropes and how college really was both on and off the field. I think it was a great transition with that one year on the same team and then now being on the team by myself. It is also cool to be able to strive to break his records that he set at Ohio. 

The Rourke legacy in Athens – hustlebelt.com

8. You started all three games in the 2020 season. What memories do you have of such a different season due to the pandemic?

The best way to describe the experience and memories that I had was chaos. We were getting tested multiple times a week, and everything was surrounding the pandemic and being safe. There wasn’t really opportunity to life a normal college life as there were strict rules (rightly so) in place so that we didn’t catch the virus or get in trouble. It was my first college experience and being able to play in my first college football games so there were a ton of memories. I will always remember those games because they were my first touchdown passes as well as first bad games that I have had. That year will stay with me for a while for sure. 

9. What has this 2021 season, which is now ending, meant for you?

It has meant a lot. I have grown a ton this season as a player and even though it didn’t go the way we had hoped, there were many positive learning moments. This past season was the most games that I have ever played in my career, so it was something to get used to. Took a lot of good hits which is always fun haha but made a lot of great plays with my teammates. It meant a lot to be able to go out and compete a team, players, and coaches so many times I left the field smiling even though it was not a win for the Bobcats. I think that shows the confidence I have with the team that we will do well soon. 

Nathan & Kurtis – cfl.ca

10. From Ohio Football España, we are fully in love with Isiah Cox´s style. It feels like chemistry between both of you. Do you think is one of the receivers with the highest potential in the nation?

Yeah, I think Isiah is a great player and has incredible talent and I’m glad I’ve been able to play with him the last couple years. I think he does have potential to be one of the best in the nation and I hope he is able to find a place that will continue to develop him as he has entered the transfer portal this offseason. 

11. What do you think is the most important at the QB position? How do you define yourself as a player?

I think the most important characteristic for a QB to have the ability to be coachable and learn in the playbook. There are many great QBs that have a ton of skills and natural abilities, but I think the ones that truly succeed and get to the next level are those who study the plays and have the mental part of football down. To win, you must know the system and the plays the best. And when you do make a mistake, you need to be able to be coachable and listen to what the coach says and work on improving whatever you made a mistake on. As a player I would define myself as a dual threat QB. I think that I have a pass first mindset but when I need to I can pull the ball down and use my legs. 

12. How do you live the traditional rivalry game Battle of the Bricks”? Could you  describe to us what it means to win Miami (Ohio)?

I love the battle of the bricks rivalry game as it brings out so much excitement and extra motivation for both teams. The week preparing for Miami (OH) is something special as everyone is locked in like usually but want to find to beat Miami and will do anything and everything to help the team succeed. I never knew when I got to Ohio why it was so important but now I do and like everyone else, I am bought in. 

13. What’s it like being the standard bearer for the Bobcats in a state where the Buckeyes dominate? Do you think the media focus is too fixed on Ohio State, forgetting the rest of Ohio’s programs?

It doesn’t really bother me too much to be honest in being in the shadow of Ohio State. I mean they are in the P5 and so they get more attention deservedly. I think people should remember though that the last time we played Ohio State, the Bobcats came out on top. But, in all seriousness I don’t find it wrong that the media covers Ohio State more as they are a bigger school and have accomplished a lot. I do take it personally when people do not know who or what Ohio University is in general. I think that is a problem and should be addressed. 

Kurtis Rourke waiting for his chance – cfl.ca

14. The atmosphere that exists in the Peden Stadium is spectacular, how could you  explain what is experienced there?

It is amazing truly. Being able to walk out into a stadium of 20,000 all cheering for the Bobcats is something special. There were plenty of games this year where it wasn’t a big team we were playing or the weather conditions were not ideal, but there were still a ton of people in the stands cheering for us. The support in Athens is something that cannot be described, and I love playing there. I love the hill at one of the endzones where people can watch and cheer because it truly embarks and describes as a whole what Athens is. 

15. What does it mean to compete in the MAC (few kilometers between programs and a lot of equality)?

I think it is a great conference. Especially the past few years, the MAC has gotten competitive and there isn’t a clear winner each game. It creates more excited for each game especially for fans.

16. How is the life of the university athlete (diet, training, relationships, family, schedule …)? 

It can be tough for sure. Time management and planning is very crucial to being able to be sane while living the student-athlete life, but I signed up for it and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There isn’t much free time available especially during as we are going from classes, to practice to then study hall. But, it has been helped for me to get into a routine so I can stay organized. 

Galloping Kurtis – ohiobobcats.com

17. What is your favorite NFL team? And what about other sports? Do you watch and follow other teams and sports (NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS…)?

I am a fan of all the Canadian teams (Toronto Raptors, Toronto Blue Jays, all the Canadian NHL teams).  For the NFl, I am a fan of the Jacksonville Jaguars who have had better seasons I know. I started liking the Jaguars back when Maurice Jones Drew played for them and I loved hsi story and the way he played. I mainly watch football and basketball. 

18. What do you know about Spain?  Would you like to visit Spain?

I honestly do not know much about Spain which is why it is one of the places that I would like to visit. Whenever I can, it would be a spot when I would watch to check out and learn about!

Kurtis and Tuggle, a dynamic duo – 3downnation.com

19. What degree are you studying? If not football, what would you like to do in the  future? 

I am a Communication Studies major with a minor in Sports Management and then a minor in Coaching as well. After football, I would like to work within sports in whatever that may be such as a advertising, marketing, announcing, scouting or coaching. 

20. We know that you are a reference in the community and that you love  participating in social services and works, can you tell us about that important  relationship, in the United States, between sports and the community?

I think sports mean so much to the United States as a country. Sports are an icon for the United States and many people rely on sports as their life and their passion even as fans. Sports offer a great chance for role models to be found. I looked up to a lot of Quarterback in the NFL such as Peyton Manning and Drew Brees not only for their play style but also as their character off the field. As well, looking at all the different youth sports league and the growth that it has had over the years just goes to show the impact of sports on the community. I feel like I can speak for a lot of people and say that without sports, I am not sure where my life would be.

A leader on and off the field – ohiobobcats.com

#OUohyeah 😾🟢⚪️

@CoollegeNation – @EduVall82 – @OhioFootballESP