Today’s Topic: Where Did Brian Hartline Challenge Chris Olave This Spring?
One year ago at this time, Chris Olave was in high school.
Now a sophomore wide receiver at Ohio State, Olave didn’t arrive on campus until last summer.
Despite his “late” arrival, he quickly made an impression during fall camp and his teammates were talking him up almost immediately.
Olave then stayed in the shadows a bit, stuck behind Terry McLaurin and Johnnie Dixon on the depth chart.
He played here and there, but when finally called upon later in the season, he stepped up and showed that he belonged.
Olave finished with 12 receptions for 197 yards and three touchdowns, which may not sound like a lot, but 10 of his 12 catches — and all three of his touchdowns — came from November on. He got better each week, and when starter Austin Mack went down with an injury, Olave was able to move into the rotation.
Based on his freshman performance, Olave has been expected to be a significant part of the Ohio State passing game this year.
He carried his momentum into spring ball for the Buckeyes.
“Chris is doing well,” Mack said earlier in the spring. “A lot of other people in the room are doing really well, but Chris specifically has taken an older approach, not a freshman anymore and he’s stepping up and being the guy.”
For as good as Olave was as a freshman, the fact that he is no longer approaching his job as a freshman is key. He is already seeing himself as a veteran based on what he did last year and what is expected of him this season.
But neither Olave or receivers coach Brian Hartline are calling the sophomore pass catcher a finished product. Far from it, which is why Hartline continues to challenge Olave all along the way.
“To me, I always talk to the guys, and in the end, greatness is only measured one way and it’s by consistency,” Hartline said. “I say this a lot, everyone makes the same shot that Michael Jordan makes, they just don’t make it as consistently, they don’t make it at the crunch times. Everyone can do it, but the question is how often can you do it?
“So challenging his consistency, challenging how dominant he can be. When the ball is in the air, how often is it yours versus it being knocked down or you’re covered. Again, his level of consistency will change whether he’s a good player or a great player.”
How close is he getting to being great?
“It takes a long time,” Hartline said. “People work for years to become as consistent as possible, but he’s on the right track.”