Following a season where Justin Fields threw for 41 touchdowns and just three interceptions while completing 67% of his passes, it might be a bit daunting for a first-year quarterback coach to now be tasked with improving on those numbers.
That is Corey Dennis’ job, however, as he steps in for the departed Mike Yurcich. This isn’t his first year with the Ohio State quarterbacks, of course, as he was a quality control coach the past two seasons and spent most of his time with the QBs.
The fact that he has been around the program and the players is a plus because he already knows everybody. He knows Fields. He knows what he does well, what he can improve, and there is a comfort level between the two of them that already incorporates trust.
“Justin and I have a great relationship,” Dennis said. “We’ve always had a great relationship. It’s one of those things that Justin wants to get better and Justin wants to enhance. And so that’s what my goal is, is just enhance. I’m not going to look to change anything and because we have a great relationship, I think that we can hopefully just keep making it better and just keep pushing the envelope.”
Right now, however, Dennis and Fields — and almost certainly head coach Ryan Day — are still in the evaluation mode from last season. What went right, what went wrong? And why did those things go the direction they did?
Once those answers come in, more direction on Fields’ progression and development will be known.
“We’ll get into spring ball and then we’ll kind of go from there,” Dennis said. “We’re still looking at it. We’re still in the process of watching cut ups and tweaking things and just kind of seeing what we did last year and how we’re going to change — or not really change, but just enhancing what things that we need to work on. So we’re still in the process of going through cut ups right now as we get going.”
Enhancing Fields’ 3,273 passing yards and 484 rushing yards likely won’t be all that difficult now that the quarterback is more comfortable with the overall job he is being asked to do. The offense should be good enough to take care of that.
It will be Fields’ ability to grow and improve that will then dictate just how explosive the Ohio State offense can be.
One thing Buckeye fans won’t have to worry about, however, is Justin Fields being satisfied with what he did last year and thinking that the work he’s already put in will be good enough for the 2020 season.
“That’s not the person that Justin is,” Dennis said. “To sit there and say that, ‘Hey, you know, there’s not a lot of things that he can do better.’ If you asked Justin, I’m sure he’d say he has a ton of things that he can do better. So whatever that is, whatever the task of the day, we’re just going to try to get better and better and better every day. So that’s our mindset moving forward.”