COLUMBUS — Hearing Ryan Day say that quarterback C.J. Stroud will not rest his sore shoulder or share time early in what is predicted to be an Ohio State blowout of Akron on Saturday night was not a surprise.
It is clear Day trusts Stroud, even a slightly banged up Stroud, more than he does any of the other quarterbacks on OSU’s roster.
Ohio State came into the season with three quarterbacks — Jack Miller, Kyle McCord and Stroud — who had never thrown a pass in a college football game. Miller and McCord still haven’t. And while it’s a safe guess that at least one of the back-ups will put the ball in the air against Akron it’s not guaranteed.
“I think that there’s a lot of great football ahead for C.J. Stroud. You look at the situation he has been put into, some of the throws he has made, you can see he can do it. Now he just has to continue growing on it,” Day said on Tuesday at his weekly press conference.
Asked if he would designate a specific time in a game to let one of the other quarterbacks play when the game was still close, Day said, “I don’t think so. This week we’ll take a look at the circumstances and see if it makes sense for some other guys to take some reps (repetitions).
“We’ll look at C.J., see how he’s feeling, see how practice goes and then we’ll see, based on the game, if opportunities arise to get those guys in there that would be great. A lot of it has a lot to do with preparation. It really is week to week. If the opportunity presents itself we would like to do that this week,” he said.
“That’s a challenge for sure, making sure he gets the reps and gets the timing with the receivers he needs but also rests his shoulder, and making sure he gets the rest he needs. It’s something we’re talking about a lot.”
But there was another possible starting lineup decision that might surprise a lot of people.
Day wouldn’t say that freshman running back Treveyon Henderson would be a starter against Akron after he ran for 277 yards and three touchdowns in a 41-20 win over Tulsa last Saturday.
“I think he certainly is going to have a bigger role. Whether it’s starting or not, we’ll kind of take it from week to week,” Day said.
“He deserves to play a lot because you can see his big play ability. We’ll see. We’ll kind of figure it out as the week goes on. He’s got a lot to grow, he’s got a lot to improve on.”
Day mentioned several times how practicing well leads to playing time.
Talking about the quarterbacks, he said, “The better they practice the more opportunities they are going to have. We see practice and we see what happens. C.J. has practiced very, very well and he has played well at times, too.
“If those guys (Miller and McCord) want to play they have to practice well every day and they have to prepare well. They have to gain the confidence of the guys in the offense. You don’t just walk in and deserve reps. That’s not how it works.”
Five-star freshman quarterback Quinn Ewers, who joined the Buckeyes in late August, is unlikely to be ready to play anytime soon, if at all, this season, Day said.
“I think he would tell you that it’s been hard for him, kind of jumping into this thing during the preseason and then being out for a little bit of a stretch. “So we’re trying to get him as much information as we can, but there’s a lot of catching up to be done there.”
Some other thoughts from Day:
— FIRST QUESTION: The opening question in Day’s press conference was about the changes that were made last week in OSU’s defense on the field and among the defensive coaches.
He said, “I think we’re heading in the right direction in terms of game day operations.”
— TAKING NOTHING FOR GRANTED: “I think one thing that we all have to recognize is that you don’t just walk out with an Ohio State uniform and think you’re just going to go win. It doesn’t work that way. It’s really hard, and we have to continue to prepare at a high level so that we can compete a high level. That’s just the facts,” Day said.
— NOT A PROBLEM: Day said he doesn’t view having several good young quarterbacks as a problem.
“One thing that wouldn’t be good is if we didn’t have any quarterbacks. That’s a problem. Having good young quarterbacks is not a problem,” he said.