As expected, Justin Fields will be under center when Ohio State opens against FAU next week. Of course, it won’t be Urban Meyer coaching him, but Ryan Day, OSU’s former offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach who was promoted after Meyer’s resignation following the 2018 season.
Day ultimately went out and signed Fields when he made the decision to transfer from Georgia. He is a former five-star recruit who was ranked behind only Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence in the entire 2018 class. Day has named him the Week 1 starter, over Matthew Baldwin.
Meyer says that it was just after Week 5 last year when he started hearing rumblings about some of the quarterbacks that would be available. Fields was one of a number of prominent QBs in the transfer portal, along with Alabama’s Jalen Hurts and Notre Dame’s Brandon Wimbush.
On the FOX Sports college football preseason preview show today, Meyer said that he wasn’t particularly comfortable with the “free agency”-like feel of the portal, even when it came to Fields, who wound up joining the Buckeyes.
Urban Meyer on Fox show said his coaches started approaching him mid-season about looking at other QBs in case Haskins went pro. Meyer said he watched some Fields, Hurts and "it didn't feel right. It feels like free agency."
— Bill Landis (@BillLandis25) August 24, 2019
Urban Meyer said Ryan Day, Mark Pantoni told him after fifth game (Penn State) last season they should start watching QBs in case Dwayne Haskins left, and he watched Justin Fields, Jalen Hurts, Brandon Wimbush, among others. "It just didn’t feel right. It feels like free agency.”
— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) August 24, 2019
Plenty of others have raised similar concerns over the transfer portal. Of course, this is easy for Meyer to say, since he wasn’t there to ultimately take on the transfer.
There’s little doubt that if he was still head coach, though, Justin Fields would probably still be a Buckeye. Turning down a five-star talent when the program had serious quarterback questions is much easier said than done.
This also doesn’t say great things about the staff’s faith in former Buckeye quarterback Tate Martell’s ability. After Fields came in, Martell transferred to Miami, where he is now working with wide receivers after losing the starting QB job.
Urban Meyer went on to compare Fields’ athletic ability to Braxton Miller, so clearly he’s impressed with his former team’s new QB1, no matter what he thinks about the manner in which he became a Buckeye.