Big Ten Media Days: CJ Stroud, Cade McNamara have a chip on their shoulder

To Laken Littmann
FOX Sports College Football Writer

Indianapolis — a year ago, CJ Stroud I didn’t even throw a college pass Ohiostarting quarterback.

He then became a Heisman Trophy finalist, led Ohio State to the Rose Bowl, and was responsible for the nation’s best offense as a freshman. The Buckeyes ranked first in total offense (561.5 yards per game) and points scored (45.7 PPG) last year, while Stroud passed for 4,435 yards, 44 touchdowns and six interceptions. He finished second nationally in traffic efficiency (186.6) and broke 17 program records.

Still, with fall camp set to begin next week, Stroud said he doesn’t really think he’s had a successful last year.

‘I don’t think I did much,’ he said this week big ten media day. “I feel like I barely touched my potential. I feel like I could do more… there is always room for improvement. Tom brady and his way of thinking. He comes back every year with something to prove that he has to do better.

“And I respect that because it’s a battle. Every day is a challenge. It’s not easy to do it. It’s not easy to stand up. Everyone pats you on the back.” —I appreciate it, but I don’t need it.I don’t pat myself on the back.I consider myself my biggest critic.

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Having just turned 20, Stroud was incredibly comfortable and relaxed in his first media years.he talked to reporters for an hour and joked NCAA football We talked about his appreciation of video games and his passion for cooking. His mother taught him how to cook when he was young. He enjoys cooking soul food dinners for his teammates at least once a week. His favorite menu items are mac and cheese, fried chicken and waffles.

Stroud’s declaration that he didn’t accomplish much last year sparked a number of follow-up questions, but “What’s in your mac and cheese recipe?” He said he was not surprised by such comments.

“That’s how he does it,” Day said. “He’s very driven. He really wants that. He’s very competitive, but he’s a very good leader. I think you know what you need. [to win], and it comes with maturity. And he did a great job of it.

“But to say he didn’t achieve anything last year is not accurate. But I think that’s his approach and that’s what makes him great. And I think that’s about him. I respect him, he did a lot of great things last year but I will give him the best, football is ahead of him.”

Stroud later clarified that he didn’t have to prove anything. But he wants to show more of what he can do, like running the ball. This is largely due to his home friend struggling to rush minus 20 yards last season. He also mentioned improving his game management skills.

Still, Day said Stroud has “really had the upper hand” this offseason and has become a team leader.

“He always had a voice,” Day said. “When you go out on the field and show confidence that you can do it, your gait changes a little bit and everyone sees you through a different lens. I think that’s true.

“I think when you’re young and you’re coming into the season and you’re not playing, you’re just trying to figure out how to complete your first pass and get your first win. Your job, and maybe about crime.”

Michigan QB situation

Jim Harbaugh wants you to play his quarterback’s Battle Minds game and question what you think you know about who starts. Michigan in the first week Colorado..

last year, Cade McNamara He led Michigan to victory over Ohio to win the Big Ten Title and the College Football Playoffs. But he comes into his senior season with the added pressure of proving why he should keep his job. because I’m a sophomore JJ McCarthyA former 5-star prospect recovering from a shoulder injury.

While he may be frustrated by the constant questions and the fact that he hasn’t officially secured a seat for himself yet, McNamara answered questions on the topic maturely at Media Day.

“I think that complacency leaves you vulnerable in any position,” he said. “This whole situation really helped me in the sense that I wasn’t happy with what my situation was or where I was on the depth chart. Comfortable in the quarterback room.”

Harbaugh, on the other hand, made things more confusing.

“Cade McNamara would be really hard to beat for the starting quarterback job. JJ McCarthy would be really hard to beat for the starting quarterback job.”

This raised further questions about how McNamara responded to attending fall camp without being informed he was a starter.

“Who said he wasn’t in as a starter going into fall camp?” Harbaugh said. “I’m not saying he’s not a starter.”

is he?

“Yeah, Cade is the starting quarterback,” Harbaugh said. “When we line up, in the first practice, he will be with the first team. Now, finally in training camp, JJ will get the same opportunities as Cade. It’s time for them to have that competition and decide who the starting quarterback for the first game will be.”

Harbaugh wanted the quarterback fight to be “competitive rather than combative” and offered criteria to determine who would win. This includes which quarterback can lead the team into the end his zone. Harbaugh noted several times that McNamara did this for over 50% of his drives last season.

He also looks at taking care of football, limiting turnovers, playmaking ability, and who performs best in the passing game.

“If you throw the ball on August 3, they’ll get it,” Harbaugh said.

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How should the college football playoffs be played?

Perhaps the story of the expansion of college football never ends.

This theme, which relates to the reorganization of the conference and the college football playoffs, has played a central role in all Conference Media Day celebrations this month. This includes Pac-12 When ACC Last year, after months of debate, we voted against the 12-team model. USC When UCLA Coming in 2024, Commissioner Kevin Warren is more bullish.

“I am 100 percent in favor of expanding the college football playoffs,” Warren said. ”

The current four-team format will end when the CFP contract expires at the end of the 2025-26 season, so there will be plenty of time for the commissioner to come up with new plans. I was.

Of course, the latter offers more access, more games, and more money. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey told ESPN at last week’s Conference Media Days, “We’ve heard more and more talk about 16 teams being a point of contention.”

however, Northwest Coach Pat Fitzgerald pointed out that without knowing what the conference will look like, it’s difficult to discuss an actual playoff expansion.

“If you have power 5 you can do that, but if you have power 4, power 3 or power 2 things change,” he said. “Until I understand the landscape we’re talking about, I’m not going to give an opinion.

“I am happy that we can participate in this conference.”

The last part was a sentiment shared by most of the Big Ten coaches this week.

Warren wants the Big Ten to lead the way in all aspects of change in college athletics. He hopes his conference will “transform and transform.” And he wants to make a decision that, 30 years from now, people will say that the Big Ten Conference was ahead of its time in making these decisions.

As an early example, with USC and UCLA as members, Big Ten will have a presence in the three largest domestic markets: New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Fitzgerald joked, “I would wake up to Big Ten football and go to bed watching Big Ten football.”

Warren vowed to be bold and aggressive on the many issues facing college sports, including restructuring and expansion. Could the Big Ten add more schools? The move and future decisions will be “made at the right time for the right reasons.”

“It is important for all of us in business to recognize that we are in an era of change,” added Warren. “I think there are two kinds of people in the world: those who see change as a problem and those who see change as an opportunity. I am one of those individuals who gets excited when change happens. It’s an opportunity to do a lot of things that you may have considered but were a little reluctant to do.

“So I’m open to change.”

Laken Litman covers college football, college basketball and soccer for FOX Sports. She has previously covered college football, college basketball, her US women’s national soccer team, and the Olympics for Sports Illustrated, USA Today, and The Indianapolis Star. Her first book, co-written with Rizzoli and Sports Illustrated, is titled Strong Like a Woman and will be published in Spring 2022 by her on the occasion of her 50th anniversary of the title Her IX.

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Big Ten Media Days: CJ Stroud, Cade McNamara have a chip on their shoulder

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