Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel spoke with Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley about his time with Justin Fields at Ohio State last season, as well as, his time coaching against Trevor Lawrence at OSU and BC, and what makes both players so hard to game plan against.
PETE THAMEL: You obviously spent almost a decade in the NFL, Jeff. And one of the quotes I remember from media day last year about the quarterback matchup in that semifinal that stood out to me was you said that people are gonna be watching the future of the NFL with Justin Fields going up against Trevor Lawrence. I want to hone in on both those guys a little bit here because I think that's what the common fan who's gonna be drawn in by this game is gonna look at. The NFL fans certainly in New York and Jacksonville are gonna be looking at that.
Now Trevor-- I think people liked to say this about Andrew Luck. They call him sneaky athletic. I just actually think he's really athletic. Give us a sense of-- you watched Justin every day in practice. You've seen Trevor. Give us a sense of those guys and their future, Jeff.
JEFF HAFLEY: Yeah, well Trevor, certainly there's no more sneaky athlete. I think he's even quicker. His body seems liver this year. Because, remember, we studied him all the way up until Thursday or Friday night when we found out he wasn't gonna play.
He just seems more confident back there. He's started now more games. He's moving around better. He looks like he's got a little bit more juice to him. And at the same time, he can sit in the pocket and make the throws. I mean, he is the future of the NFL because he's tall, he's big, he's tough, he can make every throw, he can scramble, he keeps his eyes downfield, or he can run for the first down.
The scary part is he can run the ball, and they can run quarterback powers. They can run anything you can do with the quarterback running the ball. You got to cage him. You got to keep him inside. You can't let him escape you because he's really dangerous. He's dynamic, and he can play the position.
And what do I mean by that? He's not just an RPO run around sprinter. No, he can drop back, go through progressions, and make the plays. And I say that from watching him on film a ton. So a ton of respect for Trevor. And whoever gets him is gonna be a very lucky head coach and should be able to keep his job for about 15 years.
Going against Justin in practice last year, the thing that always stood out to me was Justin will also sit in the pocket and he'll keep his eyes downfield. He waits for guys to get open. And then at the same time, Justin is fast and he's big and he's strong. And if you rush up the field too far and he sees something, he's gonna get 20, 30 yards pretty quickly.
So you got two dynamic players. Justin hasn't played as many games this year. And in all Justin's experience, just people need to understand he hasn't played with the same wideouts, he hasn't played with the same O-line. I don't even know if he's played with the same center or running back every single game to get comfortable. And it takes time in that position. It takes the unity of the whole offense working together in practice and then doing it in a game.
But I'd imagine Justin has a big day. We hit some explosive passes on them this year at Boston College in the first half. I think we scored 28 points. Obviously, Coach Venables is one of the best defensive coordinators in college football. But with the dynamic receivers at Ohio State, combined with that big O-line and Justin behind there, I'd be disappointed if there weren't a lot of points scored on both sides. And I'm a defensive guy, so it's hard for me to say that.