COLUMBUS — Ohio State’s freshman class was one of the highest ranked in the history of recruiting rankings. The Buckeyes came into this season with inexperience at many in the freshman class are stepping up into larger roles over some players that have spent more time at Ohio State.
The Buckeyes roster is filled with true and redshirt freshman and quarterback C.J. Stroud has been one of the most visible freshmen. As Ohio State prepares to play Rutgers and one of the biggest questions will be if Stroud is back at quarterback after sitting out the Akron to rest his shoulder and try to get back to full strength.
If Stroud is healthy Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said that the redshirt freshman will return to be the team’s starting quarterback.
“We’ll see how today goes,” Day said. “I thought the week helped him and it sounds like it’s going in the right direction. We’re hoping for a great day of practice today.”
Replacing a significant amount of NFL talent was going to be a big question for Ohio State coming into the season. Day said while he might not have expected this many younger players to emerge in the roles he knew the players in significant roles would lack experience.
“Think back to the conversations we had had in the spring and the preseason going into this year feeling like there was a little bit of a gap of playing time coming off of last year, trying to figure out what that was going to be like this year because we had so many unknowns of guys who either are in the program 2 and 3 years who didn’t have experience or the young guys coming in,” Day said. “There’s a lot of competition going on across the board and that’s the good thing and I think you’re seeing guys start to settle into roles.”
After Ohio State lost to Oregon Day said what he’s looking for over the next stretch of games – the 5 games between Oregon and Penn State – is for the team to make progress and get better.
While fans have not been accustom to see the Buckeyes struggle offensively and defensively like OSU has over the first few games Day said this is a team that will look a lot different as the season goes on.
“I think sometimes you go into a season with certain expectations of what’s going to come. Whether it happens or not that’s unique to each individual. Working and putting in days of work every day is what’s critical and just grinding though all of that. So here we are back in conference play and I think we’re better than we were four weeks ago.”
Ohio State travels to Piscataway, N.J. Saturday to play Rutgers at 3:40 p.m. at SHI Stadium. The kickoff time could slide to 3:45 p.m. but the 11th ranked Buckeyes remain a more than two touchdown favorite against the Scarlet Knights. Ohio State is 7-0 all-time against Rutgers including 3-0 away in Piscataway.
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