Ohio State Buckeyes: New QB could be in the lineup Saturday night

Ohio State coach Ryan Day, left, talks with quarterback Kyle McCord during an NCAA college football practice in Columbus, Ohio, Monday, April 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)
Ohio State coach Ryan Day, left, talks with quarterback Kyle McCord during an NCAA college football practice in Columbus, Ohio, Monday, April 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)

Credit: Paul Vernon

Credit: Paul Vernon

Stroud will play only in an emergency

Ohio State football is likely to have a different starting quarterback Saturday night against Akron.

Ryan Day let that slip Thursday during his weekly radio show when he said C.J. Stroud did not practice Tuesday or Wednesday to rest his sore right (throwing) shoulder.

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“We wanted him to have some rest going into this week and then try to allow him the opportunity to get stronger,” Day said on a video conference after the show. “So I think we’re taking it day by day, but I think the mindset right now would be to use him in an emergency role only on Saturday, but we’ll see how he feels today.”

Stroud threw four touchdown passes in his starting debut against Minnesota then went for nearly 500 yards and three more touchdowns in a Week 2 loss to Oregon. He was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week after both of those games but took a backseat to classmate TreVeyon Henderson last week as the running game carried Ohio State to a 41-20 win over Tulsa.

Stroud has acknowledged more than once feeling pain in his shoulder but expressed no desire to sit.

Day was asked on Tuesday if he might consider doing just that, but the coach essentially dismissed the idea despite acknowledging the value of getting some game experience for backups Kyle McCord and Jack Miller III.

“I have faith in both of those guys,” Day said Thursday. “I don’t think C.J.’s situation is serious, but we did feel like some rest would go a long way.”

Since a wild 2014 season in which the Buckeyes had two starters go down with season-ending injuries but still won the national championship, Ohio State has had relatively good fortune when it comes to quarterback health.

J.T. Barrett was knocked out of the Michigan game in 2017 but returned a week later for the Big Ten Championship game.

Dwayne Haskins Jr. — who led the Buckeyes to a come-from-behind win at Michigan after Barrett went down — did not miss a start in 2018, nor did Justin Fields the past two seasons despite being knocked out of two games briefly.

Nonetheless, Day has repeatedly stressed more than one signal-caller could be needed before the end of the season, and he referenced the ‘14 campaign again Thursday.

As far as talent, the trio all have good recruiting pedigrees.

Stroud and Miller were four-star recruits in the 247Sports Composite rankings of 2020 while McCord was a five-star this past year.

Stroud finished last season as Fields’ backup, so he was perceived as the leader entering spring practice. He was named the starter for the opener in August, but Day did not say at that time the designation was for the whole year.

“We knew going into the season that we’re going to need the whole room,” Day said. “We talked about that coming in, that this wasn’t just going to probably be one guy, that we’re gonna need everybody. We certainly know the story on that in 2014 with J.T., Cardale (Jones) and Braxton (Miller), and this year maybe is similar to that way. I don’t know. We’ll see, but this is a great opportunity to possibly get these guys some some reps, and it looks like maybe the opportunity is going to present itself here.”

Thursday Dayton would not reveal if McCord or Miller were more likely to get the nod Saturday night assuming Stroud is not ready.

“They both got reps with the ones,” Day said. “We split them pretty good across the board during the week, and they both picked up the game plan. They both I think feel pretty good going into Thursday practice. We’ve still got a lot more preparation to go here as we get to Saturday night, but we’ll see how today goes and we’ll just keep looking at it.

“The good thing is that we have some guys who are excited about getting some reps under their belt, and I think that’s exciting for our entire team to see those guys play.”

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