Strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti eventually asked CJ Stroud to spend more time in the weight room, and the result was a 220-pound quarterback for the Buckeyes.
Columbus, Ohio – The latest news after preseason practice No. 13 was Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud saying that, heck, yes, Big Ten players should get a piece of that big apple pie. in the sky called the all-new conference broadcast deal with Fox, ABC, NBC, Paramount+ and Peacock.
CBS and NBC alone will shell out $350 million each per season for seven years.
The news media picked up his words and ran with it like they were going for a pick-six on a turnover.
If you haven’t heard of this deal, which kicks off in 2023, all you need to know is that the payout is over $8 billion and that all conferences except the SEC, appear to have negotiated Wal-Mart’s prices.
And, make no mistake, the gap between the Big Ten and SEC deals is huge.
“I’ll probably have to think about it a little more,” Stroud said. “But right next to it, I would say yes (athletes should have their fair share). I am also thinking of the coaches. I mean, I feel like this game is really amazing, especially in a college atmosphere, because it’s always amateurish. I mean, they pay for our school. So, I mean, that’s definitely a plus. But at the same time, I mean, I’m not 100% sure what our tuition is, but I’m sure it’s not worth what we’re actually worth. So, me personally, my mother always taught me to know my worth.
This comes from a player who works in a $200,000 Mercedes-Benz G Wagon. His other option was a $150,000 Bentley.
Stroud, a redshirt sophomore, reportedly won an additional $550,000 in cash for attaching his name to the products.
It is important to remember that he speaks on behalf of his teammates and all other athletes in the country.
So what else is he going to say? No, I’m ready. I have mine.
Money wasn’t the most important nugget of the 15-and-a-half-minute conference.
There’s a lot more meat on Stroud’s frame now that he’s always found his way to strength and conditioning trainer Mickey Marotti’s weight room.
Stroud is notably thicker from the waist down and reports he weighs up to 220 pounds versus 215.
It doesn’t seem like it’s that much, but the man has become, well, a bigger man.
“I always took the weight room seriously once I got to school,” Stroud said. “I didn’t take it seriously in high school. It’s definitely something I had to adapt to. Me and Coach Mick – I wouldn’t say we didn’t get along – but I didn’t like lifting. I saw the progress I made and definitely fell in love with it. I just have my body weight. I think I’m at 220 now. I feel the best I’ve ever felt in my life. I did bench and squat PR. I forget miles per hour, but I did some PR in there and now I’m the fastest I’ve been. I’ve definitely seen the growth.”
Kudos also to team dietitian Kaila Olson for helping Stroud eat better.
In 2020, quarterback Justin Fields said he felt much better eating mostly a vegan diet, and he turned into a freak.
We don’t know what Stroud is eating, but quarterback coach Corey Dennis says the difference in his game is noticeable.
“I think every quarterback has gained over 20 pounds since they got here,” Dennis said. “CJ is healthier.”
The raised eyebrow was Stroud saying he had never been faster.
So, Coach Dennis, who’s your fastest quarterback?
He bailed on this issue.
“Uh, I mean. . . Justin Fields,” he said. “It’s funny, Devin (Brown), CJ and the (other quarterbacks) are always fighting over who’s the fastest. But all kidding aside, he’s moving great, he’s healthy, he’s strong and He is fast.”
The media repeatedly asked head coach Ryan Day if Stroud was running more to give defenses something else to worry about.
Dennis said Stroud may be a downline factor. But, no, don’t look for it to get even five or six runs per game. Day and Dennis are not crazy.
“CJ has always been able to run,” Dennis said. “It’s not like he couldn’t run. His first touchdown (as a college player) was a long rush against Michigan State (for 48 yards in 2020). He’s definitely athletic, he’s definitely talented. He can move around a bit. If the call is for him to run, he can do it.”
Stroud credits Marotti for toughening him up and getting him to think more positively about himself.
“It’s a testament to who we are as a team and how tough Coach Mick trained us to be,” he said. “He’s definitely done that in my life, not just in football outside of football. In terms of character, Coach Mick brings that out. We pushed ourselves in the offseason with responsibility with things and that kind of thing. I really feel like I’m on the cutting edge.”
Getting over what Stroud did in 2021 will be tough. He set 17 team records, 13 of them passing, and was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy and Davey O’Brien Awards.
Some of his games were downright breathtaking, especially the 48-45 Rose Bowl win over Utah in which he completed 37 of 46 passes for 573 yards and six touchdowns.
Even in losses to Oregon and Michigan, Stroud was solid. He went for 35 for 54 for 484 yards and three scores against the first and 34 for 49 for 394 yards and two touchdowns against the second.
What does he do best at camp?
“This year I think I’m managing the game better and taking advantage of what the defense gives me,” Stroud said. “If it’s not there, I just go through my readings and progresses and I go through a check, and, if I need to, I stand up for the check.”
The media asked Stroud what the Buckeyes needed to do better. They struggled to run the ball in short-range situations, were bogged down by penalties at the worst possible time and stumbled far too much in the red zone.
Still, Ohio State was No. 1 nationally in yards per game at 561.5 and scoring at 45.7.
Stroud was No. 2 in passing efficiency at 186.6 and No. 3 in passing offense at 380.9.
For the season, he was 317 for 441 passing for 71.9%. He threw for 4,435 yards and 44 touchdowns. He was only intercepted six times.
It all came from a player following Fields after playing in rake time as an actual freshman.
“I just want us to be us,” Stroud said. “I have nothing to prove to anyone. We have nothing to prove to anyone. At the end of the day, it’s about the State of Ohio and no one else. It’s just this I don’t think any of those games will come back to us – kudos to those teams, they frankly beat us – but I feel like we fought at the same time. Ohio State appears in Ohio State, I really think we’re tough to beat.’
Dennis said Stroud evolved like Fields in that he doesn’t just ask “what” when a piece is selected, but “why.”
“The one thing you appreciate about CJ, no matter what kind of year he had last year, is that he’s always trying to improve,” he said. “He’s always trying to work on his craft, trying to improve it and get better.”
The quarterback should be the leader of the offense in this era of high-volume pitching.
Now Stroud is one of six captains.
“By the grace of God, I always felt like a born leader,” he said. “I was blessed with this ability. I feel like I can relate to a lot of people in different situations, and that’s what I’m going to continue to do. I am myself and understand that my role and responsibility at Ohio State is to be captain. I’ve been talking since I was a kid. I’ve never had a problem talking about my article or holding others accountable, including myself. ”