Chris Stutzriem is taking over a reigning conference champion that made the NAIA playoffs last year. Sounds like he’s living on easy street right? Not so much. Last season Rocky Mountain College rotated quarterbacks for three games before Jacob Bakken took the full reigns. The former Wibaux signal caller has now graduated, however, meaning coach Stutz has to find the new leader in his first year back.
“I think at the end of the day we will have a starting quarterback,” said coach Stutzriem. “Depending on who that is, but both guys bring so much stuff to the offense, and to the team, that we’ve got to be able to use both of them if it comes down to that.”
It’s a decision that likely will set the tone for the Stutzriem era for the next two to three years. Either redshirt sophomore Nate Dick, or junior Drew Korf. As a former Wyoming quarterback himself, he knows exactly what he’s looking for in spring practices.
“Somebody who can run the team very well,” said Stutzriem. “Somebody who takes control. Somebody who makes plays when maybe the plays aren’t there to be made. And somebody who’s just comfortable back there, that can really lead the team by example.”
Meanwhile the skill position players have to, again, try to build chemistry with more than one guy tossing them the rock. That said, it’s not like Dick or Drew are exactly new to campus.
“I don’t think it affects the players too much,” said Battlin’ Bears senior runningback Sam Sparks. “I know they’re competing, but I mean they come here and produce everyday for our players, and our teammates, so I think we’re comfortable with either one of them starting for us. And I know both of them are going to be on the field, because they’re too valuable to keep on the sideline.”
“There’s definitely nicks and nacks with it, trying to have two different quarterbacks going back and forth,” said Battlin’ Bears junior wide receiver Lucas Overton. “They’re both really good. They’re both good in their own ways. But I think we’ll be fine with whoever starts either way.”
Championships aren’t won in March and April, and most quarterback decisions aren’t made then either. But after their most successful season in decades, this feels like a program changing one for Rocky, right or wrong. It’s now up to his players to help make coach Stutzriem’s decision an easy one.
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