When Ohio State head coach Ryan Day promoted receivers coach Brian Hartline to offensive coordinator this winter, the first question to be answered was if Day would give up play calling.
The final decision on that is still to come, but Hartline will call plays this spring so that Day can get a feel for how it would go during the season. The Buckeyes will be put through as many game-like situations as possible. Not only will that help Hartline, but it will also give the coaching staff a good look at the on-going quarterback battle.
As to why Day is thinking about giving up play calling now, the changes in the sport have been non-stop, and Day has found himself wishing he had more time for everything else on his plate. Getting rid of play calling could free him up for some of those things he wants to put more time into.
“That’s probably natural,” Hartline said of Day’s thought process. “I think the longer you’re in it, the more that college football morphs. I mean, let’s take a snap back to what college football was in 2015, and then where it is in 2020, 2023. It’s vastly different. And I think that as he continues to be in the head coaching role, and there’s more put on your plate, and there’s more people, and there’s more hands on you, it just grows, right? And I think Ohio State demands that, obviously, at the highest level. So I think that he feels that more than I would ever. And he’s just trying to do right by what he thinks would be best to help maximize the team. And he’s spoken about it a little bit, but this day has come.”
You Win With People
Since Ryan Day arrived at Ohio State in 2017, he has been one of the best play callers in the nation. He and former offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson have created a history of offense at OSU that has written more records than the folks at Guinness.
Being part of the offensive staff with those two has afforded Hartline the kind of experience that a new play caller could only dream of having. That background has given Hartline the confidence that he can handle calling plays.
“Pretty comfortable just because of the surrounding party I have,” Hartline said. “I mean, I think that Coach Day has always done it at an elite level. We’ve always produced from a production standpoint, offensively at an elite level, but the support staff I have around me really empowers me. So my confidence comes from having them. And so I’d be very confident.”
Under The Coaching Tree
Hartline’s confidence in the coaches around him will bode well as the offense breaks in a new offensive line and a new starting quarterback. But he has also been around long enough to know that with so many moving parts, calling the right play is only one piece of the puzzle.
That may actually be the most important lesson he’s learned from Ryan Day through all of this.
“It’s not gonna be perfect,” Hartline admitted. “I think that relying on those around you for recommendations, implementing those recommendations, being okay to agree with some but not agree with some, that’s okay. I’ve been on the headset with [Day] for five, six years. So there’s been a lot to learn from. His calm, I think has been really good. I think the conversations at halftime, and how those go, resonate with me big time.
“So there’s lots of things. To nail it down just to one would be hard to do. But again, I mean, you’re given that opportunity, he’s still gonna be on that headset with me. So it’s not like I have to write them down and take it with me. He’s gonna be right there. So like I said, I mean, given the opportunity, I have a lot of confidence because of the guys around me.”