COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud spoke with members of the media following the Buckeyes’ 10th spring practice on Wednesday.
Stroud finished fourth in the Heisman voting last year during his first year as the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback. His redshirt freshman season was one for the record books as he broke the school record for completion percentage (71.9), passer rating (198.6) and yards per game (345.1). He also shattered the Rose Bowl record for passing yards ( 573) and touchdowns (six) in the Buckeyes’ thrilling 48-45 win over Utah.
2021 was a season of firsts for Stroud, but 2022 is shaping up to be even better as he returns with a full year of experience and a better understanding of how to approach the game.
“I was watching this Peyton Manning thing the other day on YouTube and it’s just taking the things that are there when you don’t want to,” Stroud said. “It’s just smart to maybe, on say 3rd and 5, take the four-yard [throw] and make your player make the decision instead of trying to take the shot, so it’s being mature as a player so the team can win.”
Stroud believes he’ll also be better going into his second season because of what he faces on a day-to-day basis going up against Jim Knowles’ defense.
“They have different ways to get to different coverages, which is really good for my eyes to see,” Stroud said. “I definitely appreciate Coach Knowles bringing in that new kind of swagger to the defense and it really helps the offense.”
Another aspect that helps the offense is Stroud’s connection with the offensive line. Three Buckeyes will take over a new role as starters on the unit: Matt Jones (guard), Donovan Jackson (right tackle) and Paris Johnson Jr. (tackle). But all three of those players have been around since Stroud’s first year in 2020.
“We’re building chemistry. Me, Luke, Dawand, Paris, we used to go in the dorms and watch film all the time on what we would do in the game situation,” he said. “We weren’t even in, so I think that’s something we built confidence on.”
Johnson started at guard for OSU last year but returns to his natural position at tackle where he’ll protect the player he once helped recruit to Columbus.
“Paris was honestly one of the reasons I came to Ohio State,” Stroud said. “He was really heavy in my recruiting . . . and then when we got here we were always around each other. He’s always helping me out on the field and off the field.”