Hartline Has His Interim Tag Removed

By Jeff Rapp, December 9th, 2018

Ryan Day’s first major decision as Ohio State’s head coach in-waiting was a popular one for Buckeye Nation.

The university announced that Brian Hartline is losing his interim tag and hence forward will be OSU’s full-time receivers coach. Urban Meyer has hinted at the move and praised the job Hartline has done following the removal of Zach Smith from the position.

Obviously, Day also is a fan of Hartline and wants to have him as a key member of the staff going forward.

“Brian is a terrific young coach and mentor to our players and I am thrilled he is on our staff permanently now,” said Day, currently OSU’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach who will be Meyer’s successor after OSU’s appearance in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 (5 p.m. Eastern, ESPN).

“Brian was displaying outstanding leadership qualities when he was a quality control coach (last year), and his efforts coaching the wide receivers this season are a huge reason we are Big Ten champions and headed to the Rose Bowl.”

A former OSU receiver who played for seven years in the NFL, Hartline joined the Ohio State staff in early 2017 as a quality control coach working with the wide receivers under Smith.

Smith made headlines for all the wrong reasons over the summer as he was involved in reports of domestic violence and other indiscretions. He was fired right before the season and Meyer was handed a three-game suspension for mishandling of the situation. Hartline was the logical choice to replace Smith, especially on short notice, and the results have been ideal.

Not only is Hartline a high-energy assistant who is well-liked by the players, he proved himself to be an effective teacher and took a veteran group of players to the next level.

Giving Heisman Trophy candidate Dwayne Haskins an array of targets and developing into perhaps the team’s most reliable unit, the wide receivers were on the back end of lots of key plays in 2018. In fact, with that position group on top of its game and able to flex its depth all season, the Buckeyes set single-season program records for receptions (291), passing yards (4,211) and touchdowns (43).

Those numbers break the previous marks of 287 receptions (set in 2017), 3,707 yards (2014) and 42 TDs (2014).

This season also marks the first time in program history that Ohio State has had four career 1,000-yard wide receivers on the same team. H-Back Parris Campbell has 1,697 career receiving yards while K.J. Hill has 1,642, wide receiver Terry McLaurin has 1,219 and Johnnie Dixon has 1,119.

Campbell is on the verge of a 1,000-yard season with 992 receiving yards for the campaign. The last Buckeye to his quadruple figures was Michael Jenkins in 2002.

Hartline certainly has some street cred with both the current wideouts and recruits. He played for Ohio State from 2005 through 2008, was a part of four Big Ten championship teams and helped the Buckeyes to back-to-back BCS National Championship Game appearances. He emerged as a legitimate threat on the outside in 2006, the year Troy Smith won the Heisman and the Buckeyes often went to four- and five-wide receiver sets.

Hartline was drafted by the Miami Dolphins and played a role for that team from 2009-14. A Canton native, he played for one season with the Cleveland Browns in 2015 before retiring.

In total, Hartline played in 104 NFL games with 73 starts and had 344 career receptions for 4,766 yards and 14 touchdowns. His best seasons came in 2012 and 2013, when he combined to catch 150 passes for 2,099 yards for the Dolphins. He caught 30 or more passes in each of his seven NFL seasons.