Tuesday, November 3, 2009

NCAA Division III Highlight: The Future is Now, The Future is Rouch

A quarterback controversy is brewing in Orange, California; Scratch that.

A quarterback controversy is boiling in Orange, California this week as the struggling Chapman Panthers (3-4) look to defend their home field against Redlands (6-1) in the Panthers home finale of a disappointing 2009 season.

The Panthers entered 2009 with arguably their best offensive roster to date, however, due to foul quarterback play the team has struggled against even the weakest of opponents. In 2008 the Panthers defeated Claremont 21-7 on the road; Last week the Panthers barely held on 13-9, and were a poor play calling decision by Claremont head coach Rick Candaele away from being upset at home. It took a miracle for the Panthers to defeat Pomona-Pitzer back in October, a team the Panthers dominated in 2008.

Throughout Chapman's campus, questions are being asked not only about head coach Bob Owens' ability to make the right decision during a game, but also during the preparation for each weeks game.

Enter the quarterback controversy.

Senior QB, Alex Rouch was recruited heavily by Division I schools during his senior season at Grandview Heights High School, where Rouch passed for over 4,000 yards en route to earning himself a spot on Ohio's All State team; one of the most prestigious All State rosters a recruit can land on. Instead of committing to a big time Division I-AA school, or a smaller FBS school, Rouch opted with the Division III Panthers because they offered the academics, and geographic locale Rouch sought necessary to pursue his dream of entering the entertainment industry.

While at Chapman, Rouch has starred in award-winning short films, wrote television pilots, performed on broadcast television, and interned for the director of the film Friday Night Lights, Peter Berg, who has been a mentor to Rouch.

Some on campus even point to Rouch's relationship with Berg as the indirect reason that Rouch was never given the chance to lead the Panthers. As a true sophomore, Rouch took the season off to focus on academic endeavours. In the Fall of 2007, Alex had possibly his most successful semester in the entertainment industry; he began studying under Berg, riveted audiences with his "tough guy persona" as Heath in the comedy Ridiculously Emo, and performed exceedingly well academically. His lack of participation with the Panthers however, was rumored to have earned Rouch a spot in coach Owens dog house, where unfortunately he still remains.

Rouch returned to the Panthers in 2008, where he sat behind QB Eric Marty, the Panthers starter since Rouch's freshman year; After the 2008 season, Marty gave Rouch his blessing, and all signs pointed to 2009 as being the season which Rouch would finally lead the Panthers. Furthering Marty's support of his ex-roomate Rouch, was that in a similar situation, Marty took a year off from the Panthers as a sophomore.

Things didn't quite work that way, though, Despite a reportedly tremendous showing at off season work outs and training camp, Rouch was buried deep on a Panthers roster that held at one point eight QB's.

Eight QB's wasn't enough to the get Panthers offense moving in 2009. Thus far through seven games the Panthers have picked up just over 1,000 yards passing. The collective completion percentage of the Panthers starting quarterbacks this season is barely 48%, and the touchdown to interception ratio for the season is 7 to 8, with one of those touchdown passes coming from kicker Jimmy Adranly.

Many fans, donors, and alum liken Rouch's benching to the reason that the Panthers 2009 season has been such a bust. Every home game over 1,000 disappointed fans; current students, family, and alumni alike, sit frustrated in Ernie Chapman stadium as the Panthers offense struggles to come close to putting up a respectable twenty points. It's nothing against current Panthers QB Blake Vanderweil; he's certainly athletic, but his performance the past two weeks have given the Chapman fan base little hope of defeating Redlands this week.

On the other hand, Rouch has given the entire Panther community hope. Hope of bringing the 2009 Panthers above .500, where they belong. Rouch is much bigger than Vanderweil, and thus has much better field vision; something Vanderweil struggled mightily with in Saturday's win over Claremont. It's also rumored that Rouch has better chemistry with the Panthers receiving core, which is easily their most athletic in Owens' tenure calling the plays for the Panthers.

So it's up to Bob Owens. He's undoubtedly heard the roars of "we want Rouch" chants from the crowds at Ernie Chapman stadium. He's seen how Rouch has impressed not only his team mates, but Owens' staff in practice. He's seen Rouch's numbers in High School with the Bobcats. The fans have spoken, the players have spoken.

Coach Owens,

The future is now, the future is Rouch.


  1. Blake is a great athlete, just not a great quarterback. He was recruited by D1 schools, but as a fullback, a position he is physically more suited to play.

    This is just another instance of Coach Owens making poor, gut decisions instead of thinking them through. In the past year, so many players (starters, not just scrubs) have quit that you have to take a step back and question the administration instead of just the players. For example, a highly-touted former Division 1AA player with tremendous football and athletic ability was given the option to either play an off-position or quit. So he quit. There are numerous other examples of this under Bob O, who, I should mention, has a career win record under .500.

    Rumor has it that the starting receivers (who the blogger accurately pointed out as the most talented group Chapman has had this decade) have all approached coach asking for Rouch to play, and Owens ignored their requests. Who has a better perspective on who should be playing QB than the receivers?

    The fact is, Chapman is not performing up to its ability. If the athletic program had pride in itself, it would reach to win every game, instead of being content with mediocrity. This season, something isn't working. Einstein said the definition of stupidity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Coach Owens is not a stupid person, but he is not making the best decisions. The state of the team calls for a change. I urge him to make that change.

  2. As someone who knows the program I want to assure you that if Chapman had eight QB’s on the roster Rouch would be nine. His lack of athleticism, leadership, knowledge of the game, and physical strength places him dead last in a race with even the two freshman QB’s on the roster. Putting Alex in the game is a statement that playing time is earned by seniority and not competition. All good football programs are based on competition.

  3. I'm gonna break down how stupid that last comment was real quick:

    The article established how Blake is the superior athlete. But the kid's 5'9. Rouch has MUCH better vision, thats not an athletic trait? Athleticism is more than just who has a faster 40 or who can bench more FYI. And no leadership? The receivers ASKED THE COACH TO START HIM. What else do you think leadership is? Know why they called for Rouch to start? cuz he KNOWS THE OFFENSE BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE. Blake is a cool guy, but his decision-making has been awful, and thats mostly cuz he doesn't know the offense. Plus, and ask ANYONE on the team, Rouch has the best arm of the entire QB lineup. With no due respect, that comment is retarded.

    As for seniority over competition, thats a(nother) stupid assumption. The reason why seniority is ALWAYS a factor in playing time is because older players are more experienced, more seasoned. Rouch is way more calm in the pocket. Sure, he can't scramble as good as some of the other QB's, but if thats enough to keep him out of the game, looks like the coaches don't have much faith in their O-line.

    Fact: Chapman is under-performing, losing games they should win, and barely beating teams they should smash. What does it take for the coaches to see this? And yes, this is only an issue because of the coaches, make no mistake. I really hope the coaches read this with an objective eye. If they don't, all they do is send the message that "Hey this is Chapman, its OK to not take pride in our program. Let's settle for a minus .500 team." If thats the case, fuck it, don't have a football program, dedicate more funds to the water polo and crew teams. At least those coaches strive for success.

  4. Another point: last year, Rouch was selected in an open casting call for the quarterback role on a Sports Science episode featuring the NFL's current top receivers. In addition to throwing precision passes repeatedly and successfully on command to NFL greats Vernon Davis, Larry Fitzgerald, and TJ Houshmandzhade, his "form" was used as the computer model for the QB throw. Another fine example of his lack of athleticism. And another fine example of a student-athlete taking on additional unpaid work to further his knowledge of the television and film industry in which he is majoring.

  5. Your right television is our best resource for credible information… Especially cable network reality show programming

  6. this is a joke. none of this has anything to do with actual football. Reading a lot of columns and watching a lot of Jim Rome doesn't make someone a football guru. ITS A LOSING D3 PROGRAM, if there was anyone better than Blake they would start. The coaches cannot have a bias towards anyone when they have only won 3 games.

  7. LOL. Yes, silly to assume that's what's good enough for top NFL receivers is not good enough for a single throw in a losing D3 program. The bottom line is that the Panthers need to find a way to create a winning program that is a credit to their winning facilities. Doesn't matter if it's Alex or Blake or any of the many who have come through the QB revolving door and left or given up in frustration. One of the nicest D3 structures I've seen should have one of the strongest football programs to inhabit it. And while we're at it - how about a webcast that doesn't embarrass a school that is supposed to be known for its film, television, and radio programs?

  8. A member of the Chapman student body said...

    Let's take a look at this seasons statistics:

    Scoring: CU 98 vs. OPP 149
    Rushing Yards: CU 596 vs. OPP 1384
    Passing Yards: CU 1249 vs. OPP 1427
    Comp-Att-TD-Int: CU 98-204-7-8
    (one of those TD’s game from the kicker)

    These stats 7 games in are ridiculous! Only 1249 passing! Under 50% passing in a spread offense is a joke! Statistically Chapman is on par with a JV highs chool team that runs the wing-T offense. Throughout the season Chapman has been outscored in the second half 90-42! Chapman has the athletes and the facility, but not the coaches. Why would Chapman allocate millions of dollars into the football program and then hire a coach and coaching staff that is mediocre at best? Get a coach that has the desire to win every game and not just the first game, homecoming, and the last game of the season. Why shoot for .333? Is that Chapmans standard? Chapman runs the draw, dive, hitch-corner pass play (the wrong read is made most of the time) and (Chapmans most ran play) the punt. We need a new AD and new coaching staff. A fully dedicated coach staff, not one where more than half the coaches have another full-time job. The poor guys on the team have got to be hurting knowing they have the most talented team the school has seen in 10 years and yet they are under .500 for the season. The coaching staff is a joke (literally, just look at some facebook groups about the team). Doti, professors, and students alike have to be tired of a pathetic football reputation. The talk of the town about the football team has been dreadful since homecoming where Chap was murdered in front of 4,000+ fans and football recruits. You know it’s bad when local high schools have more fans. During the last home game it was so quiet I could hear Joe Schmoe's brain thinking in the library.

    Coach, make some changes, what you're doing isn't working!

    Even your players are pleading for change. Don't let us down again.