C.J. Stroud Revealed 1 Main Difference Between NFL & College Football

Getty Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud

The Houston Texans are in good hands with C.J. Stroud at quarterback. He needed one season to prove he belonged in the NFL.

But while it looked as though he quickly adjusted to the pro game, he mentioned a significant difference between college football and the NFL during his April 2 interview with comedian Kevin Hart in the LOL Network’s “Cold as Balls.”

“Man, the play calls are super long. So, like, in college, you can just signal, so like, ‘double right and we’ll go here,’ and we’ll throw a bomb or something. In the NFL, all the players in the league know the words can get really lengthy, and they’re telling you in a microphone, kind of like we’re talking to this. You mess up the play; you can’t execute.”

Stroud didn’t just adapt to the NFL’s play-calling style. He excelled after being crowned Offensive Rookie of the Year, amassing 4,108 yards, 23 touchdowns and a mere 5 interceptions in the 2023 regular season. The former Ohio State standout led the league in passing yards per game (273.9) last season.

His impressive display earned him an 82.8 overall grade from Pro Football Focus. Stroud earned high marks for his performances against playoff-bound teams, starting with his 79.7 mark for their Week 4 game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers and 91.1 in Week 9 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Likewise, Stroud etched his name in the NFL record books as the youngest starting quarterback to win a playoff game (22 years, 3 months, 10 days), leading the Texans to victory over the Cleveland Browns in the AFC wild-card round.

NFL Insider Speculates League Executives Appreciate the Texans’ Quick Transformation

GettyHouston Texans Head Coach DeMeco Ryans

Houston’s playoff victory highlighted the remarkable transformation the team underwent with Stroud and head coach DeMeco Ryans. Before their arrival, the Texans finished the 2022 season at 3-13-1, marking their third consecutive losing season.

The Texans had no direction until they selected Stroud and Will Anderson Jr. with back-to-back picks. That quick change in the team’s fortunes led NBC Sports’ NFL analyst Mike Florio to share that Houston’s turnaround is good for the league.

“And the powers that be in the National Football League have to love this because it shows that any team can go from being the most dysfunctional in all of the league, which the Texans were not that long ago under the Jack Easterby reign in Houston,” Florio said on the April 16 episode of “Pro Football Talk.” “He’s gone, DeMeco Ryans is in, C.J. Stroud ends up being great. And here they are in a position to compete for a potential Super Bowl victory.”

The 2023 Texans matched the franchise’s win total from 2020 to 2022. That period of struggle saw the team go through four head coaches. Romeo Crennel replaced Bill O’Brien on an interim basis four games into the 2020 season. David Cullen (2021) and Lovie Smith (2022) were one-and-done.

But as they become legitimate playoff contenders, their road to a possible playoff return will be challenging. In addition to their AFC South rivals (Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans), the Texans will face AFC East (Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets) and NFC North (Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers Minnesota Vikings) squads.

Houston also has regular-season showdowns with the Baltimore Ravens (their divisional-round conquerors), two-time defending Super Bowl champions Kansas City Chiefs and perennial playoff contenders Dallas Cowboys. The Texans will play nine road games in their 17-game schedule.

How C.J. Stroud Chose Football Over Basketball

GettyHouston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud at the 13th Annual NFL Honors

Hart asked Stroud during the April 2 interview, “When did you realize that you weren’t good in basketball and that you had to make a switch?”

Stroud answered, “My friends started to get to [6-foot-10], 6-8, 6-6. I stayed around 6-2, 6-3. So, they started blocking my shot, and I didn’t like it, so I went to the football field. I actually joined the [Snoop Youth Football League] with Snoop Dogg and played in his league and that was really the time when I was, okay, I started gaining confidence that I can probably do this for real.”

While Stroud was already playing football at a young age, his life could have gone awry after his father became incarcerated when he was 12. He credited his youth football coach for keeping him straight.

“That was the moment I became really mature because I didn’t have my father around anymore. When I could have went the wrong way or the right way, by the glory of God, Coach Fly [Priest Brooks], who coaches with Snoop, he was the one who came and grabbed me and took me to practice. Ever since then, I’m at his house every week and growing up with his kids, treating me like one of his own. Shoutout to Coach Fly, but that was a pivotal point in my life where I had to make a lot of grown-man decisions.”

Sticking with football paid dividends for Stroud. After a successful stint with the Buckeyes, he will continue to navigate the Texans’ vastly improved offense after adding Joe Mixon and Stefon Diggs.

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