C.J. Stroud played 26 games in his college career. While he threw for 8,123 yards and 85 touchdowns, the Ohio State quarterback ran only 80 times for 136 yards and one touchdown.
Stroud didn’t hear much criticism during his two years as the Buckeyes’ starter, but Stroud’s penchant for hanging in the pocket and not using his legs was a constant debate among fans and media alike.
“I’ll be honest, I told [NFL teams] like I’ll tell y’all: I didn’t do it a lot in college, and I feel like I should have,” Stroud said Friday. “It’s something I do regret. I feel like I could have done it a lot more. But I think when you turn on the film and you really watch what I do, and you really look at film game to game, I have used my athleticism not only just in the Georgia game where I did it a lot. I’ve done it in every other game. I’ve had tough third-down runs. I’ve had tough fourth-down runs.
“But there were times I didn’t run the ball when maybe I should have. I feel like that’s something that I learned and that’s what football is about. It’s about stepping back up to the plate and going back and working hard and fixing those problems. That’s something I plan to fix, and I’ll show them my athleticism. I’ve done it before on film, but since people don’t think I can do it, I’m going to do it again.”
Stroud’s first career carry as a freshman went for a 48-yard touchdown against Michigan State. In his final game, Stroud ran for 34 yards on 12 carries in a loss to Georgia in a College Football Playoff semifinal.
Stroud said he felt “really, really healthy” against Georgia after dealing with some hamstring issues, which weren’t previously disclosed.
On a windy day against Northwestern on Nov. 5 when he threw for only 76 yards, Stroud ran for 79 yards on six carries.
So, yeah, just because he didn’t run much in college doesn’t mean he can’t run.
“If you watch my film, I think I can show the balance,” Stroud said. “But when dudes are open, you feed your guys the ball or they look at you like you’re crazy when you walk back to the sidelines. If you’re open, you’re going to get the ball.
“Sometimes I think I get so invested in the read because you spend eight hours on one play. I guarantee you you’re not going to just go 1-2-run, you’re going to go 1-2-3-4 and really try to figure out who’s open. You want to feed your guys the rock, man. Everybody you know at Ohio State I played with from year one to year two are extremely hard workers, and I want to feed them. I want them to eat just like I am. So that’s something that I pride myself on, but when it’s time to dip my shoulder and go get that first down or something like that, I’m willing to do that, too.”