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Justin Fields utilized the off week for reflection, improvement

The Ohio State quarterback is looking to refine his game in the second half.

Michigan State v Ohio State Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

“‘We got back to the fundamentals a lot,’ Fields said of the team’s approach last week. ‘We went back to Week 1 and focused on the basics and tightened those up. Usually, some teams can shy away from those.’”

- Justin Fields via Nathan Baird,

Ohio State had its first week off on this year’s schedule following a dominant 6-0 start to the season, allowing for some much needed rest. However, it wasn’t all relaxation for the Buckeyes this past weekend, as Ryan Day looks to keep his guys sharp going into the second half. The first-year head coach instituted a “three up, three forward” policy, having every position coach give each player three things they've done well, and three things they can improve on. Quarterback Justin Fields was no exception.

While Fields would not discuss what his exact assignments were, he mentioned that he had to work on both progressing through his reads faster and improving on his footwork in the pocket — neither of which he said came as any sort of revelation. The first-year starter said that they went back and watched film from as early as week one, putting an emphasis on the fundamentals and tightening up on the basics before anything else.

Despite a few areas that could use a little improvement, Fields has been stellar for Ohio State this season, and his confidence in both his own abilities, his team and his leadership role is growing. The sophomore QB said his command of the offense has “definitely changed from the start of the season to now,” feeling that he is a leader with a mutual feeling of trust between himself and his teammates.

Fields will continue to put up big numbers in the second half as his name remains in the Heisman race. His candidacy has almost been hurt by too good a performance by the team as a whole, as he has not yet had to play a game to the final whistle. Overall, Fields ranks sixth nationally in quarterback efficiency with a 187.54 rating, totaling 26 touchdowns to just one interception. If Ohio State is to compete for a nation title this season, it will need to see a continued high level of play from its signal caller.

If you were worried about the future of the Buckeyes’ offensive line — don’t be. Meet Paris Johnson Jr., a five-star offensive tackle. The 6-foot-7, 290 pound lineman out of Cincinnati is the No. 1 offensive tackle in the country, No. 1 player in the state of Ohio and No. 7 recruit nationally based on 247sports composite.

He’s big, he’s mean, and he’ll be coming to the Ohio State offensive line next season. As you can tell by the kind of day No. 7 was having in this highlight, it will be a tough assignment for defensive ends in the near future.

Cardale Jones — a man that once said he did not go to Ohio State to play school — does not regret playing said school. Jones, a third-string quarterback who led the Buckeyes to their National Championship victory over Oregon in 2014, elected to return to Columbus for his junior season rather than declaring for the NFL Draft, where many thought he had potential to be a first-round pick.

Jones spent his final year at OSU flip-flopping with J.T. Barrett for the starting job. In the end, he played in 10 games, completing over 62 percent of his passes for about 1,500 yards and 10 total touchdowns with five interceptions. In what appeared a step back from his unbelievable three-game stretch the year, Jones would wind up a fourth-round pick by the Buffalo Bills in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Jones played in just one game for the Bills in 2016 in a reserve role, and would be traded to the Los Angeles Chargers the following year. After being demoted to practice squad duty in 2018, the Seattle Seahawks would pick him up in 2019 before ultimately cutting the 26-year-old QB. Just yesterday, he was drafted to the XFL by the DC Defenders.

The decision to return to Ohio State for one more season likely cost Jones a good amount of money, but the former Buckeye does not regret his decision. Jones defended his decision on Twitter today, stating that going back to school to get his degree was his main goal, and that the decision helped benefit himself and his family long term.

Cardale Jones will always be a legend in Columbus for his unlikely and spectacular National Championship run, as I'm sure the DC Defenders just earned themselves a ton of new fans from central Ohio.

It is not a hot take to say that Northwestern football has not been good this season. However, the Wildcats will certainly at least look better this Friday as they try to pull out all the stops in an attempt for a huge upset over Ohio State with some alternate jerseys. The Cats will be donning all black against the Buckeyes this weekend, as they try to employ the mantra of look good play good.

Will it be enough to take down Ohio State? Probably not. But hey, at least the hype video is pretty cool.

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