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Ohio State coach Ryan Day is understandably defending quarterback Justin Fields against criticism about the NFL draft prospect’s work ethic.
“I think some people are being a little reckless with their comments,” Day told Peter King’s Football Morning in America.
ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky had said last week that he’d “heard” from multiple teams that Fields is a “last-guy-in, first-guy-out type of quarterback,” without “the maniacal work ethic” of others who play the position. ESPN colleague Kirk Herbstreit called Orlovsky’s take “absolutely ridiculous” and described passing along that information as “reckless and absurd.”
“The whole idea that he doesn’t have a very good work ethic? I mean, to me, that’s crazy,” Day said of Fields. “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 [football sports performance coach] 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.”
Fields, once considered the second-best quarterback in the upcoming draft behind Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, has slipped in some mock drafts behind BYU’s Zach Wilson, North Dakota State’s Trey Lance and Alabama’s Mac Jones.
Orlovsky told King that he since has spoken with both Fields and Day, adding he wishes his original comments were spoken with more “clarity and specificity.”
“Justin didn’t have to take my phone call,” Orlovsky said. “He could have said, ‘Screw that guy.’ I told him exactly what happened, said I wasn’t good enough in that moment, and that’s on me. He was like, ‘I get it. It’s okay. I watch, and I know you’re someone who’s had my back. I appreciate you calling me.’
“I felt like he was really mature, and I appreciated him hearing me out.”
Day also compared Fields’ ability to read plays and game-plan for opponents to that of former Ohio State quarterback Joe Burrow, who won the Heisman Trophy after transferring to LSU and was the No. 1 pick in last year’s draft by the Cincinnati Bengals.
“He’s very, very intelligent,” Day said of Fields. “He reminds me a lot of Joe Burrow when it comes to that. Tell him something once, and he absorbs it.”
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