New Ohio State OC Brian Hartline To Call Plays In Spring Practice
“What we’re going to do is go through the spring…create environments where we can call it. Ask Jim [Knowles] call it, have an opportunity for Brian to call it,” Day said Wednesday. “We’re going to get some air in late spring and see what that dynamic looks like.”
Promoted to offensive coordinator last month, Hartline is set to replace Kevin Wilson, who left following the Buckeyes’ 41-40 Peach Bowl loss to Georgia to take the head coaching job in Tulsa.
Hartline, 36, has been with the program since 2017 when he was hired by Urban Meyer as a quality control assistant. A year later, he was promoted to wide receivers coach and began developing pass catchers to make them some of the best players in the sport. Several prospects who have stood out include Garrett Wilson, Jameson Williams, Chris Olave, Terry McLaurin, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Marvin Harrison Jr.
Before returning to Columbus, Hartline spent six seasons in the NFL as a member of the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns.
“Brian has done a great job in his football career. You’ve been following him since high school. Then he comes to Ohio State and plays at a high level,” Day said. “Then he moves to the NFL and not only has an NFL career, but a sustained NFL career and maxed himself out.
“His knowledge of attacking football is excellent. Now he has the opportunity to take the next step in his progression, and I think it’s natural for him.”
Day praised Hartline’s work ethic on the field and on the recruiting track, calling him “the best wide receivers coach in the nation.” Others tend to agree. Earlier this offseason, Hartline was tied to the vacant Cincinnati head coaching job after Luke Fickell left for Wisconsin, but ultimately declined the offer to stay with the Buckeyes.
Since being hired as an offensive coordinator under Meyer in 2017, Day has been the main caller. When he was promoted to head coach in 2019, Day remained in charge of the roster but sought advice from his attacking and assistant coaches.
Last season, the Buckeyes were second in points (44.2 ppg), ninth in total yards (490.7 yards per game) and 14th in assists (298.3 yards per game). Harrison and Emeka Egbuka each finished with over 1,000 receiving yards, while quarterback CJ Stroud led the nation in passer rating (177.66) and second in touchdowns (41).
Day said nothing would be decided after spring training on Hartline’s role in the offense. However, as more head coaches shift to a CEO approach and focus their attention on behind-the-scenes issues, taking something off Day’s plate could benefit all parties involved.
Head coaches announcing games have become rare in sports. Of the nation’s top programs, only Day and USC’s Lincoln Riley remain at the forefront of both titles. Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher was part of that group when he was hired by Florida State in 2010, but has since given up call duties after a 5-7 season in 2022.
“There are a lot of different things changing daily,” Day said. “Whether to give up the game and let Brian do it or not, we will decide that here in the next few months.”
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