Wichita Force

Wichita Wild QB measures his team

Alex Rouse wasn't down with the metric system.

The method of measurement, along with unfriendly locals and restroom fees, were "culture shock" for the Tennessee native last summer while he was playing quarterback for the Seinajoki Crocodiles in the Finnish Maple League.

Fortunately for Rouse, he found comfort on the NFL-sized field — marked off in yards, not meters — and fashioned an impressive season, tossing 26 touchdown passes to just four interceptions while leading the Crocs to their first league championship appearance in 20 years.

So impressed was Wichita Wild coach Ken Matous that he decided to turn over a team with championship potential to the 25-year-old indoor rookie.

"No. 1, he's a tremendous athlete," Matous said on the team's first day of training camp. "He can run the football, and he can throw it too. He's a winner and he's a competitor."

After six practices, Matous remained impressed, saying before Tuesday's workout that Rouse was learning how to make the proper reads on the smaller field used in the Indoor Football League.

"He's done well, a little off-target at times, maybe, but you can tell he's adapting," Matous said. "He's got a strong arm, there's no doubt about that."

The 6-foot-3 Rouse, an all-conference player at NCAA Division II Carson Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenn., said the fast-paced indoor game fits his style because he is a reactive, instinctive quarterback.

"You definitely have to speed things up in your head in this game," he said.

While inexperienced, Rouse will benefit from being surrounded by some of the top offensive talent in the IFL. Receiver Clinton Solomon is a star, and fellow wideout Edgar Givens is expected to have a breakout season. Running back Darius Fudge might be the league's best back.

"I can turn around and toss the ball to Fudge, who can take it 45 yards at any moment," Rouse said. "Or I can throw it deep to Edgar and Solo. They've got such big frames that they give you a little bit more room for error.

I've got the playmakers. I just have to get the ball to them."

IFL training camps are short — just two weeks, meaning that on Monday we'll see how Rouse himself measures up when the team begins its season at the Nebraska Danger.