Ohio State football: C.J. Stroud currently a mixed bag

The Ohio State Football team needs Stroud to keep developing. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
The Ohio State Football team needs Stroud to keep developing. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports /

At any level of football, young quarterbacks have growing pains. On one play they’ll look amazing. On the next, they’ll leave you shaking your head and wondering, “What on earth is he doing?” Young quarterbacks are a mixed bag and Ohio State football team starter C.J. Stroud is no exception right now.

After struggling in the first half against Minnesota in the opening game, Stroud rebounded to throw for nearly 300 yards and four touchdowns. Against Oregon, he threw for 484 yards (second-most in OSU history) and did everything he could to keep the Buckeyes in the game. But a critical late-game mistake was the biggest reminder he’s still a young quarterback. And what are young quarterbacks? All together now…a mixed bag.

In the second half against Minnesota, Stroud showed the mental toughness to put a slow start behind him and make throws with confidence. While he made some nice throws to open receivers and his stats were mostly a matter of those receivers making something happen after the catch, give Stroud credit for getting the ball to them accurately enough for his playmakers to make something happen.

The progression I saw against Oregon was him beginning to show the confidence and ability to put the ball into a tight window. With that happening, the Ohio State passing game becomes that much more dangerous.

What other things can Stroud do to make the passing game more dangerous? One of those things is to improve his accuracy on deep throws. He missed multiple times against Oregon when his receivers had beaten Ducks’ corners.

This isn’t a situation where he is being wildly inaccurate. He’s not missing by much and needs to just get a little more air under the ball. Another thing Stroud can improve on is missing high with passes. Now, this is a common problem among young quarterbacks. Justin Fields struggled with this in his first year as a starter as well. Stroud has missed some wide-open receivers and needs to work on bringing down his release point.

There has been a lot of discussion about Stroud being hesitant to run when the opportunity presents itself. When asked this week, Ryan Day said he did not think he was tentative at all about running. This observation by Day reaffirms what he teaches his quarterbacks.

The Ohio State football head coach wants them to extend the play, keep their eyes up the field, and find a receiver. This isn’t surprising considering Day’s NFL background. But, I’d like to see Stroud take advantage of opportunities because he is a good runner.

He’s deceptively fast and chews up yardage in a hurry without looking like he’s doing so. Taking off every now and then is going to put even more pressure on a defense who already has to worry about dealing with the best receiving group in the country.

If there is one thing I really like about C.J. Stroud it is his understanding of the offense. That’s the biggest part of the battle, folks. It doesn’t matter how accurate you are or how well you run, if you don’t understand the offense, you’re going to be hesitant and make constant mistakes. Stroud seems very comfortable with the overall scheme.

Next. Kerry Coombs might not call defensive plays. dark

Upcoming opponents should be very concerned. The redshirt freshman from California has completed just over 63% of his passes for almost 800 yards, but there is a lot of room for improvement. Great news for Ohio State football fans. Very bad news for the rest of those on Ohio State’s schedule.