How Justin Fields' Skillset, Strengths Change Ohio State's Offense

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3ydncloudofdust's picture

I mean, do I expect JF to run? Sure. But I envision Coach Day utilizing the stable of receivers [TEs included] and really trying to build on what Dwayne was able to do. Reports are JF arm is as strong, if not stronger than I’m looking for the same downfield attack. We have the bodies. Not to mention JK, McCall, Master, _______.  Justin will need to run, no doubt. But I’m hoping it’s limited. 

"You have to play with emotion, you can't let emotion play with you." - Ryan Day


NHBuckeye's picture

If his arm strength matches or exceeds Simba’s we are in for a special couple of years.  

Fields of Dreams


CowCat's picture

Arm strength is great, but there are a lot of other factors if Fields wants to approach what Haskins did.

Haskins didn't have the all-time strongest arm at OSU -- that probably belongs to Cardale -- but Haskins had a lightning quick release with incredible touch, timing and accuracy. Look no further than the 3rd and long pass vs. TTUN in 2017: Perfectly placed between two closing defenders. He can also drop it gently into the breadbasket in the corner of the endzone or fire a bullet on a post route.

From what I've seen on video, Fields has a strong arm, but he winds up more in his deep throws than Haskins did. That's pretty typical, but it does mean the ball gets out slightly slower. I think that initially Fields should just make the throws he's comfortable with, and not take chances that the Haskins would (yet). Just don't turn the ball over.

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

stuckupnorth's picture

Here’s hoping for some early blowouts. Then seeing Fields holding a clipboard for three quarters. I get needing time in the saddle. If he gets hurt than it don’t matter. 

D-Train's picture

I have a hard time buying that Fields will only be getting 15 minutes of experience in those first few games. Sit out the 4th? Sure. No way he's sitting out the 2nd

85ThruTheHeart's picture

You and my 2 year old would get along well.

"He has that look in his eye when it's time to start feeding the beast" UFM on EZE

bd2999's picture

I imagine how much he needs to run will be based on his confidence and how is accuracy is based on the play calls. If he is good at running it is hard to tell the kid not to take off when he is in a jam. Read one or two and then get out of there if you can. I get the injury situation being bad, but he is going to have to slide or get out of bounds when he can.

And he is going to get hit at some point. He is a big guy so one hopes he can take a few hits.

Knarcisi's picture

You’d like to think Fields has progressed and our other playmakers open things up where Fields’ rushing attempt totals (called plays, reads, and scrambles) is around 10 a game. He’s a great runner, so you have to take advantage of that. But not always directly as a runner. For example, opening things up for JK on the read option, or taking advantage downfield from an extra defender being put in the box. I guess we will see. I think an easy correlation will be the more we see him run, that means he hasn’t developed as a passer as much as you might want. I do like the fact, though, that we can use his legs in a pinch or when the passing game might be struggling. 

Hovenaut's picture

Fields cannot carry - literally, figuratively - this offense.

The good thing about this is that he doesn't have to - there's enough talent across the skill guys to spread the attack around.

I'm sure this isn't lost on Day and staff.

Got M...igan gossip? Bang it here.

buckeye phi's picture

"I'm not comfortable with (Fields) taking a lot of hits in the course of a game, for sure."  Day said

This is what I've been saying on the subject all along.  Obviously, we'll want him to take off with the ball when easy yards are available on the ground and/or when things break down.  But considering the lack of depth behind him, it would be foolish to expose him to the potential for injury that would come with a whole lot of designed running plays. 

I could see perhaps a limited number of read-option plays per game.  Just enough to force opposing defenses to respect the threat.  But nothing like what we saw with JT - and we shouldn't have to. 

I believe Fields presents Coach Day with the opportunity to have a best-of-both-worlds kind of scenario.  A better runner than Haskins - and a better passer than Barrett.  Take advantage of the ridiculous talent surrounding him. 

Oh - by the way, "idea buckets" are a tool writers have been using for pretty much as long as I can recall.  Interesting to see the same concept applied in another field.  Good stuff - 

Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement. - Will Rogers

OSU56's picture

I think Fields will show case both special abilities in the running and passing game. He’s not a freshman- he has been around two great college programs now and the deer in the headlight mentality was over a long time ago.

I think he will play smart, make a few mistakes here and there and get better as the year progresses and gets more confidence. He has quality talent all around him and a good running back in JK and solid receivers along with a very talented Oline.

He should slide early, where needed,  on his runs thru the year, but when we play ttun, he should inflict pain as needed and take the boys on- that is what buckeyes do.

Enjoying daily the 62-39 ttun beatdown.



He may be a bigger threat to run than to pass but everything I read from his high school days suggest his arm and passing is his comfort zone. So which is it?! I think like many have said, he will be a better passer than JT and a bit more of a physical runner than Braxton.

"I don't apologize for anything.  When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes

ibuck's picture

 he will be a ... bit more of a physical runner than Braxton.

I suspect you mean Fields will be more sturdy than Braxton, rather than more bruising like a fullback.

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !


Hard to say... I guess I meant more about shiftiness... XBrax being shiftiest of all QBs I've ever seen, but I suspect Fields has some moves of his own. I don't think he will be as fast as Braxton in terms of start and stop

"I don't apologize for anything.  When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes

macdaddybuckeyesupreme's picture

Not sure why everyone keeps saying he's a raw passer. I mean did you watch the elite 11? He won the damn thing not because of his running but his throwing, he's not raw, and he's putting up at least 4000 passing yards this year

Successful people do what they have to, whether they feel like it or not

AZ Buckeye13's picture

They said “raw arm strength” which isn’t the same as a raw passer. I read in the Spring that Fields needed to work on taking a little speed off his shorter passes, which is more of a “touch” issue than accuracy.

QuadCitiesBuckeye's picture

I have no doubt he has all the physical tools and mental aptitude to be a lethal passer, I would imagine most are questioning his comfort level with the playbook and his confidence in those around around.

Shandy is not beer

BuckeyeGoneNuts's picture

Running around in shorts at a camp is one thing, reading complex defenses that are built to confuse you and create pressure/mistakes is another.   I have no doubt Fields has all the tools, but until we see it when the bullets are flying and he has to make quick reads or understand complex defenses, I'd say calling him a raw passer isn't unjustified.

Sunny Buck's picture

I believe Fields will have a knack for making a lot out of broken plays. He will also be a factor in the red zone due to his size and speed. He will be hard to contain and a weapon near the goal line. When he gets comfortable with this offense,look out.

With all of our skill players, it will be hard for any team to focus on any one or two guys.

I'm not trying to win a popularity contest. I'm trying to win football games-- Woody Hayes

redwoodz's picture

I predict we’ll see a Terrell Pryor running style with Fields but hopefully a better touch on the ball. 


Fields will have the added advantage of actually having a QB coach as opposed to Pryor.

"You're the patron saint of the totally effed" - Hot Tub Time Machine

southalabamabuckeye's picture

 I feel like I can put him in that Cam Newton category,” K.J. Hill said.

Regardless of our view of Newton, mine of him is not that positive, as a person, Auburn does not win the 2010 BCS National Title without him. If Fields can even be mentioned in a conversation with Newton still at the end of the season, Ohio State will likely be having a very special season.

BluntedBrutus's picture

I'm excited!

"Conversely, Urban Meyer and his players are an unstoppable army of football automatons that feel no emotion and win in any and every setting."

letsgobucks's picture

Loved this article!!! It's nice to read an article based on the reality of the situation and not what you want it to be. Fields has a little ways to go in his passing development (reading defenses, knowing who the open man will be before he's open etc) but he's far enough along to hurt you and will continue to improve. He's also going to be a major weapon with his legs but we have to be smart with it. Hes going to be a very good quarterback this year and unstoppable next year.. im excited to get this thing started!!!

ibuck's picture

I'm eager to see the pudding—that's where the proof will be.

As the games get progressively more challenging, here's hoping Fields—and OSU—rise up.

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

BuckeyeinFlorida's picture

Coach.Day must protect against all setbacks. I am sure the distance between QB1 anf QB2 is crystal clear.
Run out of bounds or slide. A healthy QB1 holding the large trophy in January is proof that we proceeded cautiously. Not too conservative but careful.

BuckIDave's picture

Justin Fields is not a run-first QB. I think his passing skills are being underrated due to the spring game. When real football begins on 8/31, I'm confident that we will see the Fields that will give DC's a lot of headaches trying to gameplan for the Buckeye offense.

Ohio State would still have an above average offense even without Fields......with him, another season of averaging 40+ PPG is very likely.

Ryan.Honeycutt's picture

It’s good to hear coach day talking about keeping the offense the same... there is no doubt in my mind that he, along with coach yurcich and coach Wilson, will do everything necessary to set up Justin to have success within the programs offense... I’m so excited to finally see this kid, and like people are saying he doesn’t have to try to win games himself, with the amount of talent he is surrounded by he can distribute the rock all over the field


EvanstonBuckeye's picture

B1G defensive coordinators have had to game-plan for Brax, JT, Haskins, and now Fields, with some Cardale in there for good measure. 

It's good to be king.

RunEddieRun1983's picture

He'll be surrounded by weapons, and he's got a coach that knows how to move and shake the pieces so that the scheme is a fit for his QB. I feel good about what this offense SHOULD be in 2019

Urban Meyer left an incredible legacy. 12/4/18 Ryan Day begins his.

Hmrivera76's picture

First of all I hope Fields is awesome!!  But let's curb our enthusiasm a bit.  He couldn't outplay Fromm at Georgia.  So ask yourself why if was that good?  Its like Georgia won any national titles with Fromm.  Fields will be able to run.  No doubt.  But until he throws balls in game, reads defenses and makes accurate throws, we don't know how good he I'll be.  And the fact that he didn't win the job until recently and didn't play great in the spring game, makes me think he's got a lot of room to improve.  To warrant the hype he has to at Haskins level very soon throwing the ball.  Fields is the highest rated player to ever play at Ohio State.

Hector m Rivera

SpringfieldBuckeye's picture

I think it was moreso Fromm not doing anything to lose the job. When you are an incumbent starter, I think you have to do something to lose the job instead of the other person winning it, especially after a season where you lead your team to a spot in the SEC CG. As well as almost beating Bama. Fromm is a good QB, in addition to being an excellent practice player as well as a leader. I'm not sure any QB could've unseated Fromm for that starting spot given those circumstances.

CincyBuck87's picture

Can’t wait. May not be Simba level but will be better than JT, and I loved JT. I love it when a plan comes together. 

Steelydan54's picture

What I'm hoping to see with Fields this fall is progress in his reads and decision making, as well as his touch and accuracy throwing the ball. Game speed with a great stable of receivers will help, along with several excellent running backs to keep offenses honest. By mid season, I want JF to be able to find the open man and hit him in stride, make good RPO decisions and know when to break off a play and convert for big yards. I don't expect all of this in the first 3-4 games, but hope to see most of it in the last 3-4. 


Tresselball4life's picture

The ultimate question is if he can surpass Johnny Utah or Shane Falco.

HS's picture

You're fortunate with the way your schedule sets up. There is time for him to learn before you face rough and tough opponents. I'll be watching for several things. 

  • First, what kind of accuracy passing, and
  • Second, what kind of touch? I know Fields has a strong arm. But will lack of pinpoint accuracy lead to interceptions?
  • Third, is your lack of depth going to keep him from really running? Or will he run, and get tattooed doing it?

Overall, TOSU has a ton of talent, more than any other team in the Big 10. But I think QB is a very questionable position right now. Does Fields really know the playbook? Will he be able to get passes to places where only your receivers can catch them? And will his importance to the team keep him from running much? Is it worth letting him get tackled hard, repeatedly, throughout the season?

stpetebuck's picture

Yep. He’ll average 6 ypc running.  But he’ll average 16 ypc on  busted plays. When he rolls out to throw he can freeze linebackers. 

Buckeye in my pocket's picture

I think they will run him just enough to keep the defense honest. I hope it doesn't come down to a safety net like with JT. But in order for that to happen, we need to be able to execute in the situations where the QB run is expected but not used. I think this kid is going to really open the offense up. Lets hope the hype is real.

OCBuckeye's picture

Chase Young added: “Man, watch out. Watch out. He's done it a few times, especially when we go situation defense, he'll take the ball down and run.”

Imagine how spectacular that had to have been to impress someone the caliber of Young. 

Don't Mess With The Buckeye...It's a Nut That Can Kill You!