Adios, Three Amigos
Players come and go at Ohio State. That’s the nature of college sports and that’s why recruiting and development is so important.
But it can still hurt to see players leave.
That’s the case for Buckeyes’ receivers coach Brian Hartline following the departure of fifth-year receivers Parris Campbell, Johnnie Dixon, and Terry McLaurin.
Not only did the Buckeyes lose 31 touchdown catches from last season, as well as 167 receptions and over 2,400 yards receiving, but they lost untold reps and experience. Guys who have seen anything and overcome more than most. Three captains, now gone.
What is it like now for Hartline?
“It’s definitely different. That’s why when they left, I cried, literally,” he said. “One, from a culture standpoint and a relationship standpoint, how we’ve gotten to know each other. And I’m sure I’m going to do it again this year. But we’re developing right now and it’s a lot of fun.”
There are players waiting in the wings, and many of them have already proven themselves — like KJ Hill, Austin Mack, and Binjimen Victor. They will bring the next group along with them, just as last year’s leaders did.
“If you try to take yourself back to where we were last spring when Dwayne was coming in and those guys were trying to enhance, very similar to the guys I have now,” he said. “I feel like we’re really far ahead. We’re doing a really good job, we’re doing a lot of really good things and we’re only going to get better. Right now we’re developing our culture in our room and seeing really who’s going to step up.”
Ohio Against the World
Ohio State head coaches always talk about the importance of recruiting Ohio. Their actions don’t always match their words, but that’s not necessarily their fault. The talent has to be there, after all.
All things being equal, however, Ryan Day plans on siding with the Ohio players for a number of reasons.
“Yeah. Yeah. I mean Ohio always has precedence over everybody,” Day said. “And so it matters to us that somebody understands what the rivalry is, somebody you know grew up a Buckeye fan. All those things do matter. And so we look at all that stuff first and every time we go through our recruiting board you know anybody who’s from Ohio is in red. Everybody else is in black. It’s just different. And so we absolutely look at that. So that’s something even moving forward we’re putting more emphasis on.”
Time is Just a Construct
When Ryan Day was imagining his defensive staff, he didn’t have to think too hard to imagine what it would be like to work with Greg Mattison because he had done it before.
Day was a graduate assistant for Urban Meyer at Florida when Mattison was a defensive assistant there.
It’s not every year graduate assistant who stands out to Mattison — especially on the offensive side of the ball, but the veteran defensive coach knew even back then that Day was different than most coaches.
“When you’ve coached as long as I have, you get a lot of people that kind of come through the door, and there’s some of them you look at them and you go, ‘Oh really?’ I remember him on the first day,” Mattison said.
“I remember the first time he came in there and I was like, ‘Where’s this guy from? Where’s this kid from?’ And somebody said and I said, ‘He’s so mature. He’s so way ahead of his time.’ And then I would run into him over the years after that and see what he’s done and where he’s gone.
‘You’re in the NFL now?’ Well, I believe that, I see that. Then when he went here and I went, ‘Yeah, Urban doesn’t make many mistakes.’ That doesn’t surprise me a bit. He’s one of those guys where I would have said no doubt that guy’s one of those guys. And I can tell you this, I feel very fortunate to be here with him. He’s just so far ahead of his time, and that’s become very evident to me right away.”