COLUMBUS, Ohio — Eddie George, the 1995 Heisman Trophy winner, chatted with Joey Galloway on the sideline. Dwayne Haskins, a Heisman Trophy finalist and a first-round NFL Draft pick-in-waiting, stood a couple of yards close by at midfield. Members of the 2014 nationwide championship workforce milled across the sideline in entrance of 61,102 at Ohio Stadium, a crowd that will have been a lot greater if not for ongoing building within the higher deck. All have been there for Ohio State’s spring sport Saturday.
But the focal point was Justin Fields, the quarterback who transferred from Georgia this offseason and is predicted to be the subsequent Massive Ten factor. Fields felt all of that. Ok.J. Hill, Ohio State’s high returning receiver, tried to pry a bit bit from him earlier than the sport began.
“I feel he was a bit nervous popping out for the spring sport,” Hill stated with a smile. “I requested him and he [was] like, ‘Nah,’ however I do know he was. I really feel like he received snug after the primary sequence. He began stepping up within the pocket and going by his reads wanting like he had been training all spring.”
Fields merely wanted to make an adjustment after the primary two sequence wherein he missed his solely two move makes an attempt. From there, he guided 4 consecutive TD drives within the Grey workforce’s 35-17 victory over the Scarlet workforce and supplied a glimpse of a what could possibly be a mix of Ohio State’s final two record-setting quarterbacks.
Fields can run like J.T. Barrett, and if he can throw like Haskins, then the Buckeyes will probably be nationwide championship contenders in 2019. For now, Fields — who completed four of 13 passing for 131 yards and a landing and added six carries for 38 yards and a rating — is tasked with accelerating his development in Ryan Day’s high-powered offense, to the purpose he is listed among the many Heisman Trophy favorites with Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa regardless of a self-awareness that he has no thought how good he will probably be.
“I am undecided as a result of I do not know the total playbook but,” Fields stated. “The stuff we now have in proper now, I really feel like I’ve a grasp round it.”
This, in fact, was only a spring sport, but it surely did not begin out effectively. Fields appeared to injure his hand on the second sequence when Taron Vincent hit his arm. Fields returned and arrange a red-zone landing run by Grasp Teague drive along with his first completion, a brief move to Binjimen Victor.
Fields and Victor later attached on the play of the sport, a 98-yard connection on third-and-10 within the last two minutes. Fields lofted a move down the best sideline to Victor, who broke free after the catch to the top zone.
Of us, Justin Fields. pic.twitter.com/j99UYrYiZS
— Eleven Warriors (@11W) April 13, 2019
“His wingspan is one thing loopy,” Subject stated of Victor. “You’ll be able to throw it wherever and he will come down with it.”
That was Fields’ press convention afterward — on the identical podium the place Barrett and Haskins fielded questions in regards to the beginning job at Ohio State in current seasons. Fields adopted their sample in that regard. He deflected credit score to teammates. He talked about being a greater and simpler vocal workforce chief. He described the spring as an “up-and-down” course of.
Day, in the meantime, was not able to declare Fields the starter. Matthew Baldwin break up time between the Scarlet and Grey groups. He completed 20 of 36 for 246 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
“I will maintain it,” Day stated. “I do not assume proper there we’re going to decide on that. It would proceed into the preseason.”
This nonetheless feels just like the Haskins-Joe Burrow dynamic from final season. It is going to be nearly not possible to show away from Fields’ playmaking capacity, particularly if he continues to be more adept and prolific with it.
Fields led these 4 landing drives in 4 totally different vogue. He accomplished a red-zone rating and a deep vertical shot. Fields additionally led a methodical eight-play drive capped by his personal 5-yard landing run. He opened the third quarter with a 30-yard run that arrange one other Teague scoring run. Fields stated he is snug with the read-option understanding he has been doing that since highschool.
“For Justin, he can create on the sting a bit bit, we did not get an opportunity to see that as a lot,” Day stated.
In a managed scrimmage the place the quarterbacks do not get hit, that is sensible. The important thing for Fields, nonetheless, will probably be continued enchancment within the passing sport. That’s what took Alabama to the subsequent degree with Tagovailoa and Clemson into one other dimension with Lawrence. Whereas Fields’ progress will probably be carefully linked with Jake Fromm and Georgia, it is these nationwide championship contenders that Ohio State should shut the hole on whereas additionally sustaining their stranglehold on the Massive Ten.
Haskins received the Buckeyes shut. Fields will probably be anticipated to get them nearer. That is not how Fields see it, nonetheless.
“I am not attempting essentially to fill Dwayne’s footwear,” Fields stated. “I am simply attempting to return to Ohio State be the perfect quarterback I can. No matter I can do to assist this workforce win. I am not anxious about expectations or something like that.”
He is simply attempting to be taught the remainder of the playbook earlier than fall camp. Fields is working with a stable group of receivers in Hill, Victor, Austin Mack and five-star freshman Garrett Wilson. There’s potential for a couple of extra record-setting seasons with that group.
“Lots of the ideas are the identical, but it surely’s simply the route-running and little particulars in it,” Fields stated. “As soon as I get that absolutely down, I feel it’s going to take me as much as an entire totally different degree, and I can actually begin exhibiting what I can do.”
As for the high-pressure atmosphere, Fields embraced George, Haskins, the nationwide championship workforce and all these followers.
“That is good for the recruits, simply seeing what number of NFL gamers Ohio State produces,” Fields stated. “It was good seeing these guys coming again and supporting (the workforce). That simply tells you the way a lot they love the fan base and coming round right here.”
Fields seems to grasp that, and that can serve him effectively the subsequent time he walks out of the tunnel at Ohio Stadium.
There will probably be a minimum of 40,000 extra folks watching him within the opener in opposition to Florida Atlantic on Aug. 31.