ScoopNotes: CJ Stroud Out In Front Of Talented Ohio State Quarterback Derby

Before fall camp began, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said that he would like to know who his starting quarterback would be after about two weeks of practice. On Monday, two days after the second week of camp was capped with a scrimmage, Day didn’t name a starter, but he did name a leader.

“Yeah, I would say right now, we’re not going to name a starter today, but I do think there has been a little bit of separation,” Day began. “I think that CJ’s separated a little bit here over the last couple of weeks. We’ll see what this week brings, certainly not making decisions right now. But we have seen a little separation, yes.”

What has Stroud done to gain a little bit of distance on Jack Miller and Kyle McCord?

“I don’t think it’s one thing,” Day said. “I think it’s just over time, we’ve had, I guess 26 practices now when you include the spring, and I think it’s 11 now here in the preseason. And it’s just a body of work over time.”

Stroud was the first backup in the games down the stretch last season, which led most to believe he was the leader in the clubhouse for this job last year. The type of play that put Stroud ahead of Miller late last year has likely also contributed to him staying in front during spring and fall practices.

“I will say that every day he’s been competing,” Day said of Stroud. “He’s been taking care of the football, making good decisions. He’s been a leader. Those are all some of the traits that we’re looking for. And certainly moving the team down the field to score touchdowns is something that we look for.”

There has been a standard created at Ohio State for Buckeye quarterbacks since Ryan Day arrived and even though this year’s starter will be green, he’ll still be representing the Scarlet and Gray, which means that expectations don’t get lowered.

And Then There Were Four

Ryan Day likes having four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster whenever possible. This may fall into the “be careful what you wish for” file, however, as freshman quarterback Quinn Ewers arrived over the weekend and took part in his first practice on Monday.

He didn’t do much, but did get a couple of throws in. The larger focus right now for Ewers is just making sure he doesn’t get lost on his way home.

“We’re gonna show him the locker room and show him around the facility and get him going,” Day said on Monday. “He’s obviously just gotten here and we’re kind of in the middle of camp. So we have a good plan in place to try to get him kind of going here in camp. He’s had a great attitude? And happy he’s here.”

Day answered simply “I don’t know,” when asked if Ewers would play this year, but added that it’s a long season and anything can happen between now and January.

So What About a Depth Chart?

Logic would follow that if Ryan Day’s not ready to name a starter yet that he would also not yet be ready to name a backup. That job is still completely up in the air.

With Stroud out in front, redshirt freshman Jack Miller and true freshman Kyle McCord are vying to back him up. Both have had their moments in spring and fall camp.

The competition has made everybody better. It will eventually do the same for Quinn Ewers, who will be finding his footing for a while yet.

“I think, overall, the quarterback room has made some good progress this year,” Day said. “I think when you look at all the guys, I think Jack and Kyle have both grown. And so we’ll kind of see how things shake out. But we got another week of camp and once we break on Saturday, then it’s all Minnesota. I think that’s where we start looking at depth charts and where guys are. But we’re a long way away from that when it comes to Quinn.”

Reaction to the News

Since he took over the program a couple of years ago, Ryan Day has said the best way to handle players is to be honest with them. Now with the transfer portal, that approach is even more necessary.

Day has had some open conversations with all of his quarterbacks, including the fact that CJ Stroud is now leading the race to start. It may be seen as handing out bad news, but the discussions also include ways to get better and grow as a player.

How have those talks gone with McCord and Miller?

“They’ve been great. They’ve been great,” Day said. “They understand no decisions have been made yet. But that’s where it’s at. And that’s part of the process is communicating. And I think we do a really good job of that. Understanding, ‘okay, here’s where you’re at, here’s what you’re doing well, but these are the areas that we need to improve in.’ And that’s for everybody across the board.

“It’s a long season. That’s what I think all those guys understand and will continue to understand is that we’re talking about going all the way to January. My experience is we’re going to need everybody. One thing’s for sure, there’s going to be one starter in terms of that first play against Minnesota and then at that point we see where it goes.”