Alright, I’m not going to lie — when the news broke that CJ Stroud wasn’t going to start against Akron, I was intrigued. I know that I previously advocated for Stroud to remain the starter on last week’s Play Like a Girl podcast, but it’s not like he was benched. He was injured! Therefore, they had to turn to Kyle McCord and Jack Miller. Both did really well, but if Stroud remains out next week, I’m going to have to give the QB1 job to Miller.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Right now you’re probably in total disagreement. However, hear me out! The fact that McCord did that well as a true freshman is very impressive. We cannot ignore that fact, though, that he is a true freshman. This showed at times, especially the very first drive of the game. Two (ugly) incompletions and a backwards pass/fumble? McCord definitely had some jitters early on, which was to be expected.
The inexperience showed again in the opening drive of the third quarter when he overthrew his receiver and was intercepted. There’s no doubt that McCord is extremely talented — he had a great game, after all! There were just a few moments where I wish I could’ve told him to R-E-L-A-X. Miller, on the other hand, didn’t seem to have the same butterflies.
Miller entered in the last third of the third quarter, and immediately completed a 25-yard pass to Cade Stover. He followed that up with another completion to Gee Scott Jr. Another thing to notice is the receiver’s names. He wasn’t passing to Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson. He was throwing to the backups and still doing really well.
Was Miller not feeling the nerves as much because it was the second half of a blowout? Because it was Akron? Combination of both? Maybe. But something to keep in mind is that these were Miller’s first ever collegiate passes. That probably struck some jitters in him, yet he seemed cool as a cucumber the whole time.
Obviously something that has to be kept in mind for both QBs is that the opponent was Akron. The Bucks had 622 total yards of offense, with the majority coming from the running backs and, admittedly, McCord. I want to make it clear that I am very impressed by him and have a lot of faith in him! But, we saw what he can do as a starter with the rest of the starters. I am very curious to see how Miller would do with the rest of the first-stringers too.
If Stroud is still out next week, I would want Miller to start because it is AT Rutgers. He seems to be able to control his nerves better, and if McCord is that shaky at home, I think that starting on the road might be even worse. It is Rutgers, but they only lost by a TD to Michigan, so don’t count them out just yet!
Now, I could be totally wrong about all of this. Maybe Miller would be even more nervous than McCord if he was the starter. You know, he didn’t look great in the Spring Game, which was filled with thousands of screaming fans. That’s why I think he’s come a long way since then if he looked a bit more polished last night. I want to see more. I mean, why not give him a shot? Then, after seeing both QBs start a game, Day can make a decision moving forward.
Or, maybe Stroud will start against Rutgers and all of this speculation will be for nothing. It’s always fun to think about it, though, so let me know who you think should start in the poll!
Who do you think should start (excluding Stroud)?
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