OG Tim Walton Ohio State Buckeyes Coach

Brian Hartline, Tim Walton Building Deep, Competitive Position Rooms

COLUMBUS — Ohio State receivers coach Brian Hartline and cornerback coach Tim Walton met with reporters following practice on Thursday. It was the fourth practice of spring camp and the second with pads on. Both coaches provided updates on their respective position groups and answered a plethora of questions about individual players, plans, and progress. The highlights of everything that was said can be found below.

Brian Hartline

  • Good energy was something they targeted in the offseason as a goal in practice. “Production follows energy. The higher the energy, the more productive we are.”
  • There are a lot of expectations and assumptions about this room. In the past they haven’t really celebrated those realities. They are doing it more now. “It’s been a lot of fun.” Brandon Inniss has helped bring about that energy for the room as a whole.
  • The dynamic between the corners and receivers has changed over the years because the corners have gotten better. It’s more competitive now. It’s chippier. It hasn’t always been that way because the receivers were winning so often. Recruits love watching it during practice as well.
  • On Bryson Rodgers entering the portal and returning: “College football is different, and ideologies and understandings have changed. The portal is a variable.” There isn’t a transcript on how to handle that variable. Guys are just trying to do what is right for them. At the end of the day, Rodgers felt he needed to leave, but then realized he needed to come back and he “righted a wrong.”
  • On Jeremiah Smith: “I love the way he lives. I love the way he approaches things. I love questions he asks.” He makes mistakes and corrects them. He also does things well naturally, and Hartline is trying to teach him why those things have worked for him.
  • On Chip Kelly: “I love working with Chip. I love talking ball. I love the viewpoints.” Kelly is a veteran voice with experience. The biggest impact early on right now has been with the run game, and then the actions off of the run game. “I love where it’s at.”
  • His role changing now with Chip Kelly here? “I would say that I sleep a little better.” It’s a great combination and adds to a great group. Kelly has an image of view on things that Hartline’s never had, so he’s trying to soak that in while also highlighting what has worked for Ohio State in the past.
  • On moving receivers around: Emeka Egbuka can play anywhere. It is the growth of Bryson Rodgers and Brandon Inniss that has allowed Hartline to think about moving Egbuka outside. Carnell Tate has the ability to play inside or outside as well.
  • Regarding Emeka Egbuka, Hartline will eventually ask him day to day on where he wants to practice.
  • The only two guys right now he is asking to play inside and outside are Emeka Egbuka and Carnell Tate. “I’m not putting that on anybody else right now. I’m not saying they can’t.” Having those two able to move around should mean he won’t need anybody else to do it.
  • On Tim Walton building the CB room: “We obviously feed off of each other.” It is a team sport. They talk about technique, recruiting, all of that. “Not at a crazy level, but more than I have in the past.”

Tim Walton

  • How much more is this CB room “player led” than it was when he got here? “Completely different.” They have a veteran group of guys that have played a lot. Returning starters. They know the expectation and the standard. This allows him to focus more on the younger players and get them developed and ready.
  • Jermaine Mathews is the next guy up. He’s working inside and outside. “He’s got that ‘It factor.'” They will continue to build off of last year and expand his role. Could he be in the rotation? “We’ll play it by ear.” They’ll see how it goes once they get into the game planning.
  • What’s your recruiting pitch? “We’re just authentic. Really not giving a lot of recruiting talk. It is what it is.” “If you don’t want to compete, then this isn’t the place for you.” There is the time to grow. You don’t need need to develop the pig mentality. You don’t need instant gratification. But if you can play as a freshman, they will do that, like they did with Denzel Burke.
  • He has always spent time building relationships. That’s key. You have to be authentic with honest feedback and direct teaching. Guys embrace that if they know that you care. When you spend time with them off the field, you can coach them hard on the field. They know the coach’s goal is to get them better.
  • The dynamic has balanced up between the receivers and the cornerbacks. The corners have gotten better and older. The receivers have helped them get better because it’s been the best receiver room every year he’s been there. Those two rooms are very close because they are competitive and they are helping each other get better. “You have to bring it every day.” “It prepares you a lot and helps you grow.”
  • Who all is playing the nickel at times? Lorenzo Styles, Jermaine Mathews, Caleb Downs, Miles Lockhart. Just moving guys around and trying different things to see what works.
  • Calvin Simpson-Hunt “can run and he’s strong. He’s fast.” Very serious. He’s 200 pounds. He’s starting to grow and get better.
  • What does he want to see from Aaron West this year? “Keep competing.” The transition from high school is not easy. You throw them in the fire and let them compete and learn and grow. He has the skill set. It just takes time to put it all together.
  • Lorenzo Styles is smart, conscientious, he’s tough. He’s making fewer mistakes because he knows more as a defender. “The growth has been really good.”
  • Does it surprise you to have so many juniors return? “No, the culture here is real. Coach Day does a great job of building the culture.” Those guys have an agenda. They want to walk away with something. “So it didn’t shock me, but it’s a good environment for them too.” It’s not easy here so it’s a testament to Ohio State that they have returned.

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