'That was not our issue:' Ryan Day pleased with Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud's performance
As Ohio State coach Ryan Day dissected the issues that plagued the Buckeyes in their upset loss to Oregon, he made a point of stressing they did not include quarterback C.J. Stroud.
He was impressed by Stroud, who threw for 484 yards, three touchdowns and an interception in only his second career start.
“I thought he was really accurate,” Day said. “I thought he made some throws that I haven't seen a young kid make in a long time. That was not our issue.”
Ohio State football:'We're going to look at everything.' Ryan Day says changes are coming to defense
In a performance that mirrored his starting debut at Minnesota a week earlier, Stroud settled in as the game progressed, showing the poise that coaches and teammates had raved about in preseason training camp.
During a stretch that began late in the second quarter and continued into the third quarter, he completed 12 consecutive passes.
In the fourth quarter, he twice helped the Buckeyes convert on fourth down after they had earlier turned the ball over on downs.
The first instance came when he found Garrett Wilson for a 23-yard completion, positioning them just shy of the end zone at the 2-yard line, where TreVeyon Henderson ran in on the next play to bring Ohio State within a touchdown of the Ducks.
After Oregon went ahead by another score, he led a drive that ended on fourth-and-6 when he hit Jaxon Smith-Njigba over the middle of the field for a 15-yard touchdown.
Moving forward, Day thought Stroud needed more out of his supporting cast.
“We've got to help him more,” Day said. “We've got to run the football better. We've got to play better defense. That’s the bottom line.”
Among the few question marks with Stroud following the loss to the Ducks was his health. He acknowledged dealing with some “nicks and bruises.”
But Day held little concern about the passer’s status.
“That’s part of being a quarterback,” he said. “You’re always going to have bumps and bruises. When you're playing in the spring or in the preseason, you have a black (no-contact) jersey and you're never touched. And you go out there in conference play or this game this past weekend, you're going to get banged around a little bit.”
Latest on Sevyn Banks
Cornerback Sevyn Banks has not appeared in either of the Buckeyes’ first two games despite being left off their unavailable list and being in uniform on the sideline.
When asked to clarify Banks' status, Day suggested that they were being slow to incorporate him into the rotation because of setbacks suffered in the offseason.
“He's not too injured to play,” he said. “He has had some injuries and he was kind of slow in the preseason and everything like that.”
In preseason camp, Day mentioned that Banks had “tweaked” something, and he missed most of spring practice as well.
The nature of the injuries was not disclosed.
Banks was expected to be the Buckeyes’ top cover corner last season after starting all of last season at the outside corner spot opposite Shaun Wade.
His absence has prompted freshman Denzel Burke to fill his spot.
Transfer linebacker Palaie Gaoteote's role with Buckeyes
Day expects linebacker Palaie Gaoteote, who made his debut for the Buckeyes in Saturday’s loss, to carve out a role as a strong side linebacker.
“He's a big body,” Day said. “He's a good matchup in terms of athleticism, speed, size, in bigger sets, especially with two tight ends.”
Gaoteote was on the field for four snaps against Oregon, appearing when the Ducks had moved toward the goal line.
His status with the team had been uncertain entering the game because he had not been ruled eligible to play this season after transferring from USC this past summer.
But the NCAA granted his petition on Friday, clearing the way for him to take the field.
Because of the uncertainty with his eligibility, his first- and second-team reps in practices had been limited.
More from Ryan Day's press conference
Day declined to clarify the status of center Harry Miller, who has been unavailable for the Buckeyes. He reiterated only that he remained unavailable and did not comment on when he might return. Miller was in line to start at center this season. Redshirt freshman Luke Wypler has filled in at the position in his place.