By Michael Kinney
ATLANTA– One of the first things defensive backs learn is how to read the flight of a football. Knowing the trajectory of an incoming pass can mean the difference in an interception or pass break up or being scored upon in front of 80,000 screaming fans.
Oklahoma’s Patrick Field thought he knew everything about trajectory coming out of Tulsa Union as a highly coveted recruit. But in the short year and a half since joining the Sooners, he has watched his path as a player and young man change in a variety of ways and he has had to adjust accordingly.
“It’s been a long journey, but we are finally getting to where we want to be,” Fields said.
Fields is on the verge of playing in his second College Football Playoff. However, this time he is heading in as a starter on the Sooner’s defense. But more importantly, he is heading in knowing exactly who he is and what he is about.
“It’s huge for. It’s an opportunity for me to live out everything I could imagine,” Fields said. “The College football playoffs. The biggest game of my life. It’s the opportunity to do everything I could have ever dreamed of.”
Fields is the starting free safety for a Sooner squad that jumped from being ranked 119 in the nation in 2018 to a top 30 unit this year.
Much of that success is credited to the arrival of coach Alex Grinch, who took over as the Sooner’s defensive coordinator last spring. But much if it has to also go to the players, like Fields, who came in looking to change the unit’s reputation.
“I feel like we’re a different team than previous ones,” Fields said. “Our mentality is different. The way we attack things is different. Our perspective is different.”
Fields had to change his perspective from his freshman season as well. After playing in only six games, he admits his mindset wasn’t where it needed to be.
“Last year was hard. I came in here and I was wanting to play immateriality as a freshman,” Fields said. “That’s kind of like a tough thing to deal with. For so long you are the man then when you get here, you’re just another person on the roster. That is really hard mentally. “It’s been an uphill battle. Fighting to get on the field and fighting myself, fighting trying to overcome myself and the negative emotions I had about not playing.”
Fields said he dove into his bible and studied scriptures to help him change his attitude.
“There’s probably a lot of things I could of handled better,” Fields said. “But I didn’t have any knowledge. So you kind of have to get burned to learn from things.”
Those life lessons have helped turn Fields career around. The 5-11, 192-pound sophomore has tallied 58 total tackles, a fumble recovery, two sacks and five pass breakups as he has started every game this season.
“A lot of people don’t realize, but that’s going to be the biggest battle in life is overcoming yourself,” Fields said. “We sell ourselves short of what we can accomplish in life.”
That same thought process applies in sports and in life for Fields.
“I’m doing well on the field, doing well academically,” Fields said. “I’m doing something I would have never imagined. I am going to school to be an accountant. I applied for my accelerated master’s program in the spring. Hopefully, I get accepted to that. I could have never imagined myself. I didn’t even know what an accountant was most of my life.”
Fields started out as a business and entrepreneur major. But football and class schedules didn’t work. So, he moved over to accounting and found out he had a knack for numbers.
Fields also found out something just as important that many high school and college athletes never quite pick up.
“I didn’t know that there is definitely more ways than being a professional athlete to make millions or six figures,” Fields said. “A lot of us think you have to be a pro athlete to make a lot of money. There are a lot of different things you can do in life. A lot of different ventures.”
It’s that mindset that he has tried to pass on to others. He wants the younger kids in his family to not try and rely on being the next Lamar Jackson or LeBron James to be a success in life.
“By you doing that you can open doors for people in your family and inspire others from back home,” Fields said. “Some of my younger cousins, I am always heavy on them about school and all that. A lot of them are taking AP classes, trying to do things they never thought of because they’ve seen I’ve done it. They’ve seen it’s achievable. I feel like I have kind of already changed the trajectory of things. I feel like I’ve I inspire my little cousins. At the end of the day, it makes me feel like a better person. The reason that we do life is to inspire people. That’s what you’re going to be remembered for.”
Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Provider