Closer Look at Hinton and Warinner
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — They took a little longer than the others, but last two pieces are officially in place and the Urban Meyer era is now in full effect at Ohio State following a 6-6 season under interim head coach Luke Fickell.
Fickell was the first to join Meyer’s new staff, and he will serve as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for the Buckeyes. That means Mike Vrabel will move over to coach the defensive line after one year of working with the linebackers, but Meyer also filled out his offensive staff with a couple of former Notre Dame assistant coaches.
So who are Tim Hinton and Ed Warinner, and why would they want to leave South Bend in order to join Meyer’s staff in Columbus? We were wondering the same thing, so we asked Pete Sampson, the editor at IrishIllustrated.com—the official Notre Dame site on the Rivals.com network.
“As position coaches, Hinton and Warinner were two of Notre Dame’s better assistants on Brian Kelly’s staff,” Sampson of Ohio State’s two latest hires.
“Hinton turned Cierre Wood into the program’s first 1,000-yard back in five years and got the most out of Jonas Gray, who hadn’t scored a touchdown in his career, then finished with a dozen as a senior.”
Hinton, a 51-year old graduate of Wilmington College, coached the running backs at Notre Dame, but he will handle Ohio State’s tight ends, replacing John Peterson, who was let go after the Gator Bowl.
Both Hinton and Warinner—who will coach the offensive line for the Buckeyes—are Ohio natives with as much knowledge of the state’s high school landscape as any assistant coaches in the country.
“This move effects Notre Dame as much as Ohio State because those two guys were the primary recruiters in the state of Ohio,” one recruiting analyst said.
“They have other guys who can recruit Ohio, but no one with as many ties as those guys.”
Hinton should know all about Ohio. He was an assistant at Amanda-Clearcreek High School from 1978-80 and a head coach at Zane Trace High School in Chillicothe from 1987-88. He also coached one year at Van Wert High School before taking an assistant job at Ohio University from 1990-92 .
He spent 10 years as the head coach at Marion Harding High School where he directed his teams to five conference titles and five appearances in the state playoffs. He was named the Ohio Division I Co-Coach of the Year in 1995 and also coached the running backs at Cincinnati under former OSU defensive coordinator Mark Dantonio.
“Hinton and Meyer were graduate assistants together at Ohio State (in 1986) under Earle Bruce and they’ve remained close ever since,” Sampson said.
“The draw for both Hinton and Warinner was a chance to go home. Hinton has worked in Ohio nearly his entire adult life and Warinner a chance to stay closer to family.”
Warinner, a 50-year old Strasburg, Ohio native, is a graduate of the University of Mount Union, where he played both football and baseball. He has a brother who already works at Ohio State in the compliance office, and Columbus became an obvious destination for him after two years as the offensive line coach and running game coordinator at Notre Dame.
“My hunch is Hinton was leaving regardless, but Warinner would have stayed at Notre Dame if Brian Kelly had made him offensive coordinator,” Sampson added.
“When Warinner was ‘passed over,’ he then began to look at other options and Meyer made Ohio State one of those.”
Warinner had offensive coordinator experience from his days at Kansas. Under his watch, the Jayhawks averaged 445.5 total yards per game, 302.1 passing yards per contest and 35.3 points on a combined basis from 2007-09.
His quarterback, Todd Reesing, threw for nearly 11,000 yards and 90 touchdowns under Warinner—setting every major single-season and career passing record at Kansas.
Between his two stints in Lawrence, Warinner also served as the offensive line coach and running game coordinator at Illinois under Ron Zook from 2005-06. In his second season with the Fighting Illini, Warinner's rushing attack led the Big Ten and finished 10th in the nation in rushing yards per game, averaging 188.3 in 2006.
He was considered to be an excellent offensive line coach at Notre Dame, but Kelly opted to promote defensive backs coach Chuck Martin—the former head coach at Grand Valley State—to offensive coordinator after Charley Molnar took the head coaching job at UMass.
“Notre Dame’s offensive line blocked for three different quarterbacks this year and was consistent until starting center Braxton Cave went down with a season-ending ankle injury against Wake Forest,” Sampson said.
“Through that game, Notre Dame had allowed five sacks in nine games. Without Cave, Notre Dame allowed 12 sacks in the final four games.”
Warinner has a spread background from his days as the offensive coordinator at Kansas, but Meyer also likes the fact Hinton is more of a power, I-formation coach who should be able to help them get Zach Boren more involved in the offense.
Both coaches were also heavily involved in the recruitment of Vandalia Butler offensive tackle Taylor Decker, who committed to the Irish back in early December.
“As for Taylor Decker, he’s sticking with Notre Dame for now, but it will be interesting to see how much Meyer, Hinton and Warinner pursue him after the moves from Notre Dame are complete,” Sampson said.
“If Ohio State turned up the heat with Hinton and Warinner, it could force Decker to make a very difficult decision.”
Decker is rated as the No. 3 offensive lineman in the state of Ohio by Rivals.com, but some analysts consider him to be the top offensive tackle in the state, ahead of both Kyle Kalis and Kyle Dodson.
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