COLUMBUS — It remains to be seen who will get the opening snaps at quarterback when Ohio State takes on Akron Saturday in Ohio Stadium, but that quarterback will not be C.J. Stroud.
During his weekly radio show on Thursday, head coach Ryan Day said the decision has been made to use Stroud only in an “emergency capacity” this week as he continues to deal with an ailing right shoulder.
“Going into this game, we’ve asked C.J. to take these last couple of days off and rest that shoulder,” Day said on the show. “Kyle (McCord) and Jack (Miller) have done a good job, and so the plan right now is to probably, we’ll see how today goes, but probably use C.J. in somewhat of an emergency capacity on Saturday and play some of those other guys.”
Stroud has been dealing with the shoulder injury through each of the Buckeyes’ first three games, but it has become increasingly noticeable during his last two performances as he has been seen grabbing at the shoulder often following throws.
During his Tuesday press conference, Day didn’t rule out the possibility of giving Stroud the week off, saying that decision could be something he looks at as the week progresses. On Thursday, when asked about the severity of the injury, Day said he didn’t feel it was serious but that some rest would “go a long way.”
“There was still kind of this feeling that he had that he really couldn’t shake,” Day said of Stroud. “So maybe rest is something that will go a long way for him and allow some of these other guys to practice and move forward here.”
With Stroud sidelined for at least this week, all eyes will be on McCord and Miller, both of whom arrived in Columbus as highly regarded recruits. Day said both McCord and Miller have gotten “a pretty good” split of repetitions with the starting offense in practice this week, and he will let them know today which quarterback will start on Saturday.
Asked how the snaps would be broken down between the two during the game, Day suggested whichever quarterback starts the game will be featured often, with the other’s playing time being dictated by the flow of the game. Regardless of who starts, Day will be dialing up plays for a brand new starter for the second time this season. However, Day said bringing inexperienced players along is part of the job with such a young quarterbacks room.
“It’s the same situation that we had with C.J. in the first game if that’s the case,” Day said. “We have young quarterbacks and that’s going to be how it works. At some point, you gotta get them out there and let them play and learn from their mistakes. We just trust what we see in practice. It’s all about their preparation. They’re going against really good players every day in practice. It’s time to go let some other guys possibly get some action, probably this weekend.”
Day added, “But that’s a good thing. We knew going into the season that we’re gonna need the whole (quarterbacks) room. We talked about that coming in, that this wasn’t gonna just probably be one guy. We’re gonna need everybody. And we certainly know the story on that in 2014. We needed J.T. (Barrett), Cardale (Jones) and Braxton (Miller). And this year may be similar to that. I don’t know, we’ll see. But this is a great opportunity to possibly get these guys some reps, and it looks like maybe the opportunity’s gonna present itself here.”
One quarterback who does not figure to be in the mix for playing time on Saturday is Quinn Ewers. Day said on Tuesday that Ewers, who arrived in the program in August, has not seen enough practice repetitions to be game-ready at this time. Asked again about Ewers on Thursday, Day said the former five-star recruit would be “unavailable” this week.