Ohio State Buckeyes: Ryan Day optimistic about C.J. Stroud’s return for Rutgers game

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Ohio State football coach Ryan Day on picking a starting QB

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Starting QB missed last game with shoulder issue

COLUMBUS -- Ohio State football returns to Big Ten play this week with a trip to Rutgers.

With several regulars sitting out last week’s blowout of Akron, the health of the Buckeyes was a big topic of conversation as Ryan Day met with reporters for the first time this week.

ExploreIs Ohio State ready for return to Big Ten play?

Here are five things to know from the head coach’s press conference:

1. C.J. Stroud’s availability for Saturday’s game.

The starting quarterback rested a sore shoulder last week and did not practice or play in the 59-7 win over Akron.

He returned to practice Sunday, and early returns left Day optimistic he will be ready to go this weekend.

“The feedback that I’ve got from the trainers and our medical staff and from C.J. is that we’re ready to move forward this week,” Day said.

If he is, Day confirmed Stroud will get the call over Kyle McCord and Jack Miller III.

2. The coach came off lukewarm about the performance of McCord in Stroud’s place last week.

A true freshman from Philadelphia, McCord completed 13 of 19 passes for 319 yards and two touchdowns last week.

“He was inconsistent with some of his reads,” Day said. “I thought that early on he was a little nervous. He did make some nice throws when he saw it, and I thought there were some really good plays in there, but there were also some things that he kind of got away with.

“We’ve just got to do a really great job of recognizing what the pre-snap moement keys, our post-snap movement keys and just trust our eyes, but when you’re starting for the first time there’s a lot going on. And I think the next time he’s in that moment he’ll be a little more settled

He overcame a rough start but did throw an interception before the night was out and ended up being the only starter on offense not to grade as a “champion” in the view of the coaching staff.

3. Day did not have much else to stay about the K’Vaughn Pope situation.

A senior linebacker, Pope appeared to leave the field angrily Saturday night then tweeted a derogatory message about Ohio State that was later deleted.

Sunday, he apologized publicly but not before being dismissed from the team.

“There was an incident there that we addressed, and he’s removed from the team,” Day said. “So our focus right now is on Rutgers, but there has to be consequences for actions. His emotions got a little bit out of hand there, and he’s done a good job of taking accountability and we’ll focus on moving forward.”

4. Harry Miller is back.

A junior from Georgia, Miller was expected to be the team’s starting center this season after starting most of last season at left guard.

However, he has not been available for a game yet this season, and his absence had not been explained until Tuesday.

“He’s been dealing with some health issues, and he’s gonna come back this week and be part of the team,” Day said, “which we’re all excited about and get back to work.”

Redshirt freshman Luke Wypler has been starting in Miller’s place and played well.

Whoever starts, Miller’s presence and Wypler’s play should be good news for depth up front.

The same can be said for Matt Jones, who started last week for an injured Thayer Munford and graded out as a champion.

Munford’s status for this week is uncertain, but Day said previously he should be back at some point this season.

5. Others who missed the Akron game could also return.

The Buckeyes faced the Zips without three regulars from the defensive line rotation — Taron Vincent, Tyreke Smith and Javontae Jean-Baptiste — while cornerback Cam Brown also missed the game.

“Hoping to get some of those guys back for sure, but some of them linger a little bit,” Day said. “There’s not much you can do about that and want to make sure the guys are safe, but at the end of the day that’s that’s not my decision to make. That’s the medical staff, but again I’m optimistic that we’ll get those guys back for this game.”

SATURDAY’S GAME

Ohio State at Rutgers, 3:30 p.m., BTN, 1410