Ohio State football coach Ryan Day is coming to the defense of his former star quarterback Justin Fields.
This week, ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky revealed there are some people in NFL circles who are questioning Fields’ work ethic. Of course, this could all be smokescreens ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft, but Day wanted to make one thing clear.
Justin Fields is a hard worker and the questions that are being raised in recent weeks are a bunch of nonsense.
“Yeah, first off, I read some of the things that were said in the last few days and… I don’t understand where any of that’s coming from,” Day said during an appearance on Morning Juice with Brandon Beam and Bobby Carpenter, via 247Sports.
“This is a guy who, after that Clemson loss (29-23 on Dec. 28, 2019, in the College Football Playoff semifinal), he took that personally — you know, coming off of that field, the last game ending in an interception. And all that he did for the next year was work towards getting back to that game.”
Day specifically discussed the work ethic concerns and pointed towards Fields’ preparation for last season despite the coronavirus pandemic and uncertainty about whether there would even be any games played.
“Then we get back here in the preseason and the season gets canceled and this is a guy who could have easily, at that point, opted out, been in the draft like so many guys — and I don’t hear people talking about them — and what did he do? He just kept working — and, actually, he petitioned, went on national TV and fought to have football,” Day added. “You know, you don’t do that if you don’t absolutely love football and are an unbelievable competitor.
“Then he comes into the season, competes really well and gets all the way back to that same game that he lost a year before, gets nailed in the back and very easily could’ve come out, then didn’t, threw six touchdowns and wins that (CFB Playoff semifinal) game (49-28 on Jan. 1). So if you’re talking about a body of work over one year — an unbelievable work ethic, competitive, toughness — I’m not sure there’s someone out there better in the country. And that’s who you’re getting, if you draft Justin Fields.”
Despite the concerns, Fields is expected to be a top 10 pick.
Last season, Fields threw for 2,100 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions while adding 383 yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground while helping to lead the Buckeyes to the College Football Playoff National Championship against Alabama. Of course, it was a shortened season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In his last full season in 2019, Fields threw for 3,273 yards, 41 touchdowns, and just three interceptions with another 10 scores on his feet.
The 2021 NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday, April 29, and run through Saturday, May 1.