Ohio State football: 3 things C.J. Stroud must do against Minnesota

How C.J. Stroud performs could determine the ceiling of this Ohio State football team.Ohio State Football Training Camp
How C.J. Stroud performs could determine the ceiling of this Ohio State football team.Ohio State Football Training Camp /

With C.J. Stroud being named as the Ohio State football team’s starting quarterback, speculation began on what he will bring to the offense. We’ve heard a lot of discussion about what he can do. But, what does he NEED to do? Here are the three most important things I think Stroud needs to do in his first career start against Minnesota on Thursday night.

Take care of the football – Don’t turn the ball over. Young quarterbacks can be turnover machines. Stroud MUST take care of the ball. If he is unsure of what he is seeing when looking to pass, pull the ball down and take off with it, but don’t force a throw into coverage. If the pocket collapses, protect the football and don’t get it stripped away. This has always been a point of emphasis for Ryan Day. I think taking care of the ball is the most important thing Stroud needs to do against the Gophers.

Get the team out of the huddle quickly – This one isn’t all on Stroud. Ryan Day needs to get him the play call in a timely manner so Stroud can get to the line of scrimmage with plenty left on the play clock. You want to give your young quarterback time to make his pre-snap read of the defense because I don’t doubt Minnesota will do all they can to try to confuse him. Even if Day decides to go without a huddle for all or part of the game, he still needs to get the play to Stroud much sooner rather than later.

Make plays when he has to – Stroud doesn’t have to be OSU’s best offensive player every play. He can be a game manager, for the most part. The Buckeyes have won a national championship with a game manager. Craig Krenzel was as good of a game manager-type of quarterback as you’ll find, but he made plays when he had to. Remember Holy Buckeye? Perfect example of making a play when you have to.

Stroud doesn’t have to carry the offense the entire game against the Gophers. He just needs to carry it when they need him. As the season progresses, I want him to develop into a playmaker, but game manager is good enough for me in this opener.

Ohio State Football: 3 concerns against Minnesota. dark. Next

There is a lot of excitement mixed with apprehension about C.J. Stroud’s first start because he is such an unknown. Keep this in mind: He is a Ryan Day-prepared quarterback. I’ll put my money on those guys any day.