Even though Dwayne Haskins’ Ohio State career ended before Justin Fields’ Ohio State career began, the former Buckeye quarterback and the new Buckeye quarterback have trained together on several occasions.
That’s because Haskins and Fields are both clients of quarterback trainer Quincy Avery, who has helped both signal-callers develop their games and continues to work with them as Haskins prepares to begin his career in the NFL while Fields prepares to potentially succeed Haskins as Ohio State’s starting quarterback.
Haskins was the Big Ten Player of the Year in his lone season as Ohio State’s starting quarterback, and is now in line to be a first-round pick in the NFL draft, and Fields – who was the No. 2 overall recruit in the high school class of 2018 – has the potential to follow in Haskins’ footsteps.
Fields is more of a running threat with his legs while Haskins is more strictly a passer, but Avery says the quality they both share is elite arm talent.
“They’re both amazing at throwing the football,” Avery said in an interview with Eleven Warriors following Ohio State’s pro day on Wednesday. “Justin adds a little element with his legs, but Dwayne has some ability and capabilities above the neck that most people don’t have, and his spatial awareness makes him special. Both of those guys are great quarterbacks. Ohio State had a good one in Dwayne, and they definitely have a good one coming up in Justin.”
Haskins has already proven he can be an elite quarterback at the collegiate level, so as Avery helped him prepare for his pre-draft workouts – which included the NFL Scouting Combine and Wednesday’s pro day – he wasn’t asking Haskins to make any major changes in his game. What he has tried to do is help Haskins perfect his game in small areas that will be important to his success at the next level.
“We just needed to get a little bit more disciplined in our footwork and our fundamentals,” Avery said. “There’s some things that they don’t get to spend time on during the season because it’s game plan, working on script and all those different things. So we got to hone in on the smallest details, make sure those things are up to par and then just go out there and execute.”
Although Fields hasn’t yet started a game at the collegiate level, Avery said his work with Fields – who spent time training with Avery (and Haskins) just last week during Ohio State’s spring break – isn’t much different because of how talented Fields already is.
“Justin’s such a naturally gifted athlete that the things that you have to do, it’s the same,” Avery said. “Got to spend some time doing the fundamentals, the little things and making sure that when he gets an opportunity to do small things that’ll have big effects, lasting effects, that he’s doing those. So that’s what we want to work on, that’s what we’ve been focusing on.”
While it’s become commonplace for elite quarterbacks to work with a personal coach like Avery – who also works with several quarterbacks who are already in the NFL, including Houston Texans starter Deshaun Watson – he believes Haskins has already gotten great coaching, and Fields will, by playing for Ryan Day at Ohio State.
Avery tweeted in December that if he had a son who played quarterback, he “would 100% want him to play for Ryan Day,” and Avery reiterated that praise for Day – who was Ohio State’s quarterbacks coach for the past two years before becoming the Buckeyes’ new head coach this year – on Wednesday.
“Coach Day does a better job than almost anybody in the country in terms of developing quarterbacks,” Avery said. “The way he game plans, the way he prepares his quarterbacks … when Dwayne walked into the building when we started preparing for the draft, the things that he knew, the knowledge that he had, it was impressive. You don’t see that from many other guys at any other college, and he had it.
“There’s a few schools that develop quarterbacks really well, and I think that Ohio State has become one of those. And I give my hats off to Coach Day and the staff.”
Avery said he tries not to get involved in quarterbacks’ college decisions, so he didn’t try to persuade Fields to go to Ohio State when Fields made the decision to transfer from Georgia.
“I don’t try and lead anybody to any school, that’s not the thing that I do,” Avery said. “I just make sure when I get to the school, I try to have a good relationship with the coaching staff and make sure that they’re developed the right way.”
“There’s a few schools that develop quarterbacks really well, and I think that Ohio State has become one of those.”– Quincy Avery on Ryan Day's ability to develop quarterbacks
Avery wasn’t surprised that Fields chose to follow in Haskins’ footsteps, however, and he believes Fields made a good decision by choosing to play for Day and the Buckeyes.
“He has a good relationship with Dwayne, so I didn’t need to say anything,” Avery said. “I thought at the time that (Ohio State) would be a great fit for him, but it wasn’t my place to say.”