Ohio State isn’t going away from C.J. Stroud as its quarterback, so long as the redshirt freshman’s shoulder is healthy enough to play with. Buckeye head coach Ryan Day wasn’t shy about it, either. When asked if there was a quarterback competition of any sort, or if Stroud is the guy when fully healthy, Day cut right to the chase and said that barring further injury – which Ohio State is monitoring this week – Stroud will be healthy enough to play against Rutgers on Oct. 2, and when healthy, he’s the starter.
“We’ll see how today goes,” Day said. “I thought the week off helped him and it sounds like it’s going in the right direction so we’re hoping for a great day of practice today.”
If Stroud can’t play, though, Day was encouraged by the experience that Ohio State got for backups Kyle McCord and Jack Miller against Akron, and he said that he’s hoping they can build on that moving forward, especially if they’re asked to step up again this season.
“It’s great to have reps under our belts so that we know what we have but I’ve said from the beginning that it’s going to take all three guys to get through the season. It’s week five and all three guys have played,” Day said.
“You look every day at practice and hopefully there’s growth along the way. We have three young guys that are doing this all for the first time, and while that can be a challenge, it’s also good because everything you’re investing, you’re hoping to get back in the future. You always want to plan for the future.”
That doesn’t mean the first showing was flawless for either of Ohio State’s backup quarterbacks and specifically, McCord, who day said wasn’t in consideration to usurp the starting job with the Akron game.
“It’s not complicated right now,” Day said “We’ll continue to build and grow and it was good to get snaps under his belt, same with Jack. I think it was good for both of those guys as we move forward and we’ll just see what comes these next couple weeks. But Kyle, for the most part and same thing with Jack, pretty much played how they practice. They have a little bit more of a reference point now of, ‘OK, this is how it looks and practice and this is the reality’
“He was inconsistent with some of his reads,” Day said of McCord. “I thought that early on he was a little nervous. He did make some nice throws when he saw them and I thought there were some really good plays in there. But there were also some that he kind of got away with. We have to do a great job of recognizing what the pre-snap movement keys are, what the post-snap movement keys are, and just trusting our eyes. When you’re starting for the first time, there’s a lot going on and I think the next time he’s in that moment he’ll be a little more settled.”