College Football

Urban's Playbook: The QB-WR Connection

December 19, 2020

This week, Urban Meyer shared a key from his playbook that Ohio State struggled with in its Big Ten Championship matchup with Northwestern on Saturday.

Despite pulling out a 22-10 victory over the Wildcats, OSU got off to a slow start, and finally found an offensive rhythm on the ground.

Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields had been the story of the season, as he leads the nation in completion percentage (78.1) and ranks second in passer rating (196.1).

But against Northwestern, Fields completed just 44.4 percent of his throws for a season-low 114 yards.

For the first time since 2018, he didn't toss a touchdown, and on the day, he added two interceptions.

Prior the the matchup, Meyer discussed the importance of the receiver when it comes to the passing game, as the job calls for far more than just catching passes and scoring touchdowns.

"There is a very unique relationship between the quarterbacks and the receivers. The lack of interceptions isn't by accident – the receivers are also taught protect the quarterback at all costs."

So while Fields made some mistakes, the blame doesn't solely fall on him as the quarterback, according to Meyer, who laid out the 50:30:20 rule.

"When a quarterback throws a pick, 50 percent of the time it's his fault, 30 percent it's on the receiver, and 20 percent is stuff."

While the QB can of course throw a bad ball, the receiver can run the wrong route, the pass can get tipped – the possibilities are endless when it comes to interceptions and missed opportunities.

But the best way to eliminate mistakes is to work on the relationship between the receiver and the quarterback, on and off the field.

Unfortunately for Fields, he was without Chris Olave, his leading receiver, on Saturday.

Olave has 36 receptions for 528 yards and five touchdowns this season, and his presence was clearly missed in the Big Ten title game.

Fields shared the ball between Julian Fleming (four receptions for 53 yards) and Garrett Wilson (four receptions for 49 yards), and according to Meyer, the issue could have been their communication.

"You have to be on the same page as your receivers. It all starts with coverage recognition."

Check out the entire latest edition of "Urban's Playbook" below:


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