Ohio State football coach Ryan Day defended Justin Fields over questions about the quarterback’s work ethic and leadership.
Scrutiny on Fields started when ESPN NFL analyst Dan Orlovsky repeated what he heard from scouts about the former Ohio State quarterback. Orlovsky has since apologized for putting the criticism out there but the comments didn’t sit well with Fields’ former coach.
Day defended Fields in an interview with NFL journalist Peter King. At the same time, he took a shot at those who decided to opt out of the 2020 season over fears of the coronavirus.
“The whole idea that he doesn’t have a very good work ethic? I mean, to me, that’s crazy. He got done with the Clemson game [the loss in the college football playoffs in the 2019 season] and he came back and all he did was work to get back to that game. And when those other guys are opting out, what’s he do? He petitions to have a season.
“He put together this petition that the Big Ten athletes all signed saying that they want to play, but they want to play safely and that they don’t accept canceling the season. It was all led by Justin Fields. Where was everybody else? Where were the guys who were opting out then? You know, you don’t love the game if you’re doing something like that. This kid loves the game,” Day told King for his “Football Morning in America” column.
“I heard something about the last one to come in, first one to leave. First off, the scouts weren’t in our building all year. Last one in? Every morning, at least every morning we could be in the building, early, he’s in with [assistant AD for football sports performance] Mickey Marotti. The guys who were self-motivated and could do things on their own, those were the ones who made it. He was unbelievable. He changed his diet, he got stronger. He did better than most.”
Day’s comments were criticized on social media.
Fields was among the top quarterbacks in college during the 2020 season, with 22 touchdown passes and 2,100 passing yards in eight games. He is set to be among the top quarterbacks taken in this month’s draft.
By Ryan Gaydos