Football

Morning Conversational: How Did Brian Hartline Craft His Coaching Philosophy?

Ohio State Buckeyes football Brian Hartline interview

Today’s Topic: How Did Brian Hartline Craft His Coaching Philosophy?


Brian Hartline’s coaching career has been an interesting dichotomy of rarities and commonalities.

On the one hand, Hartline’s beginning is extremely common. He simply volunteered. He got his foot in the door by helping Ohio State’s scout team prepare for the playoffs back in 2016.

On the other hand, Hartline’s rise has been exceedingly rare. And it’s also rare for a successful former NFL player to begin a coaching career as a volunteer and then be willing to spend the next two years as a quality control coach with no guarantees on what would happen next.

Hartline’s ascension to receivers coach last season for the Buckeyes coincided with OSU having three fifth-year seniors and four juniors in his receivers room, and they weren’t hurt by having a quarterback like Dwayne Haskins throwing to them.

Much of the credit for the receiver play last year has gone to Hartline, but like a guy who once volunteered to help the scout team, he’s not worried about notice or attention.

Instead, his focus is exactly where it needs to be.

“I’m just focused on doing my part,” he said. “What does that mean? To me, I don’t just limit that to maybe in my room. I love getting the relationships with the DBs and the D-linemen and really getting to know everybody on the team. That’s really my only approach.

“I think it helps within the room, outside the room, but I’m really not focused on how necessarily I’m doing, per se. I’m just really worried about the guys in the room and how personally I can do better and how I can add more value to our team and our staff. That’s it.”

This spring, Hartline said that he used to believe that playing football was his calling. But once he started coaching, he realized he had found his true calling.

Anybody who has ever coached, draws on past experiences and past coaches when building their own approach.

Hartline is no exception.

“I guess I learned everything from experience,” he said. “My foundation was always built from [former Ohio State receivers] Coach [Darrell] Hazell. Coach Hazell changed my life in how he approaches the game and how he got me thinking. So I try to do the same with these guys. I had the same approach.

“Hopefully you would agree, I’m trying to take it to another level. But again, it’s a combination of what coach Hazell taught me, what he taught Ted Ginn and Santonio Holmes and you go down the list, Anthony Gonzalez, myself. And then with the things I learned over the last 10 years. And I added to it. So that’s kind of the philosophy.”

2 Responses

  1. Wonderful article, thank you. Love the ‘Rudy’ sorts of stories of hard work, dedication and this is ‘his’ calling. Loved his work ethic and dedication as an OSU player as well.

  2. Brian Hartline has the real potential of being the next Urban Meyer, or Dabo Sweeny

    I remember back to when he came to Ohio State as a player. The sentiments of many were that he would be a good scout team player of maybe a special teams player who MIGHT get a look in blowouts. . MAYBE some NFL team would let him try out to make their practice squad. He turns out to be a wrecking crew gunner on special teams, and immediate contributor to the success of the Buckeyes, finishing his career in outstanding order. He not only played in the Romper Room, but, he excelled. People questioned him even as a QC at Ohio State. The thing is, Brian Hartline is a relentless worker who genuinely loves people. He builds relationships 1 day at a time, and invests 100% of himself in that effort. Watching him the first year as receivers coach was fun.

    I remember back in the lead up to the 2002 National Championship. The slogan was “Doubt Them At Your Peril.” Now, with Brian Hartline? Doubt him at your peril. The guy IS the real deal. I wouldn’t bet against this young man one day being inducted into the CFB Hall for his coaching.

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