Skull Session: Justin Fields' Dad Believes He Wants to Play, A Practice Plan for the Fall, and a The Saliva Test is a “Difference Maker”

By Kevin Harrish on August 17, 2020 at 4:59 am
This is the city.

Football may be postponed, but I'm happy to report that the specialists' antics aren't.

This blogger is extremely thankful for the specialists as we head into a #content wasteland.

Drue, I'm gonna need as many bottle flipping videos as you can muster. Please.

Word of the Day: Servile.

 “UNFINISHED BUSINESS.” If Justin Fields doesn't play another snap of college football, he's still less than a year away from a direct deposit worth tens of millions of dollars.

Given that, few would have even cast a stone if he even chose to opt out of the fall season, like a bunch of other college football stars. But now that the fall season has been postponed to spring, you won't find a soul who honestly and realistically expects to see him in a Buckeye uniform again.

But that doesn't mean Fields is happy with how things are playing out.

Pablo Fields was driving on the Cobb Parkway in Kennesaw, Ga., Tuesday afternoon when he heard the news: His son Justin’s junior football season at Ohio State was being postponed—at best—by the Big Ten Conference.

“I pulled over,” Pablo Fields said. “It was a really, really bad day, one you’ll never forget.”

What he heard in his son’s voice that day hasn’t left him, either. Justin Fields was a Heisman Trophy finalists last year and will be a first-round NFL draft pick with or without playing another down of college football, but he badly wanted to have a fall season.

“My son is always upbeat and positive, but in our conversation that day he was heartbroken,” Pablo (Fields) said. “I don’t think he wants to be done being a college football player. We’re not rich by any means, but he’s not in a hurry to get the dollars. He loves Ohio State University and loves his teammates, and he has some unfinished business he’d like to complete.”


“I think they’re grown men and should be able to choose for themselves,” Fields said. “I was a young man, 22 years old, when I became a police officer. There were risks every day walking the beat, and I chose to take them. It’s certainly OK to right a wrong, and the Big Ten can do that.”

For someone who doesn't need to play another snap of college football to collect a life-changing amount of money, Fields is putting in an absurd amount of effort to play college football again.

I'm not saying I expect (or even have hope) that Fields decides to play a spring season, but if the Big Ten gets its shit together and comes up with a plan, and the NFL delays its league calendar... Man, it's a long shot, but I wouldn't be totally shocked. He's made it pretty damn clear he doesn't want his Buckeye career to end like his.

 PRACTICE PLANS. Football games may be canceled due to the Very Bad Virus, but apparently padded football practices are fine and safe to continue.

This is hilarious to me for many reasons, but everything just seems so arbitrary at this point I guess we just take what we can get.

If this is really how it goes down this fall, this will be extremely, extremely good for the young players, because it's like four months of bowl practices where all the focus is all on player development and not game-planning for an opponent.

This would also be especially convenient in the event the Buckeyes end up having to start a true freshman quarterback, though I'd gladly take four extra months of development for our returning Heisman finalist starter, too.

 “BIG DIFFERENCE MAKER.” Our current testing methods have quite a few shortcomings (primarily that they ain't cheap) but science may have done us a solid on that front.

That's fantastic, but the most trumpeted reason for the postponement is that we don't know the longterm effects of the virus, and I'm afraid nothing short of a time machine will ease decision-makers' concerns there.

 POPPING THE BUBBLE. Mike Conley will be absent for the start of the NBA playoffs for an extremely pleasant reason.

The timing here is obviously unideal, but the counterpoint is that it actually would have been perfect timing without a completely unprecedented worldwide turn of events, so I think everyone involved can forgive Mike for this one.

 NOT GREAT! I have a hard time being too tough on people for being bad at their job given that I am, for the most part, bad at my job. I'm also fairly lenient and forgiving when people take on new jobs they've never done before.

But unfortunately for Kevin Warren, that's not gonna absolve the Big Ten's newest commissioner here, because my guy hasn't exactly been the shining light of leadership folks need during this time.

Here is what Warren should have done: Explain the league’s medical reasoning, including the fear that athletes who test positive will have long-term heart issues and that country’s poor testing situation does not allow for rapid results on the morning of a game.

He should have explained the Big Ten’s stance that with Sept. 3-5 openers, the league either had to start allowing full-contact practices or pull the plug on the season. Holding off on a decision was just delaying the inevitable and putting older coaches at risk.

He should have taken a hard line on dissenters.

He should have painted the Big Ten as the conference that cares the most about the well-being of the athletes and the least about recouping football revenue. That would have been a powerful message to the parents of recruits.

Opportunity missed.

The decision to move to spring may even turn out to be the correct one, but that still wouldn't make Warren's handling of this situation any less disastrous.

Let's recap: instead of hopping out in front of this, controlling the narrative, uniting voices and doing his best to sell his plan to the masses, Warren dropped the fury-inducing news through a press release and did one public appearance with the state media and still somehow felt the need to sidestep their softball questions.

As a result, he's got coaches taking to social media to dunk on him, players parents writing open letters in an attempt to get some sort of answers, and the most prominent player in the conference openly petitioning him to change his mind – and collecting hundreds of thousands of signatures in the process.

Not a shining start to his tenure!

 SONG OF THE DAY. "Dig Up the Dead" by Mansions.

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