Ohio State running backs coach Tony Alford and receivers coach Brian Hartline took time on Wednesday to speak with reporters via a conference call. They answered questions about recruiting, personnel, what was missed without spring, and what the coaches are all doing right now to improve the team. Here are the highlights of what was said.
+ He recruited Trey Sermon when he was in high school and has watched him from afar. They expect him to come here and compete and help the team.
+ Could this be a committee approach with the running game? They will all get ready to play and they will all be prepared to play. They’ll do whatever they need in order to win games.
+ Improving players right now is hard, it’s challenging. But they’re in the same boat as everyone else. But they do have smart players. The players have been around so they know what the drills are like.
+ There is a great product to showcase in recruiting. There are great mentors and teachers. The players already here do a great job of explaining what Ohio State is. “We feel great where we’re at, but we’ve got a long way until signing day.”
+ Steele Chambers was looking forward to a ton of reps. Chambers and Alford were excited about that. But he is now more vocal in meetings and maturing. He’s a perfectionist. He’s a guy that’s going to be a good football player. He’s a big back who wants to improve on his skills. The first three practices he showed that he’s better than he was last fall.
+ He is monitoring the rehab of Master Teague and Marcus Crowley as closely as he can. They are both doing well and he’s listening to the medical staff. “They’re on schedule.”
+ He is approaching the possibility of the 2020 season as if his group has to be prepared for when they say it’s time to go. Whether there is a season or not, he doesn’t know.
+ Alford didn’t change his recruiting approach this year based on missing out on guys in the past. “It didn’t change one single bit.” The staff is honest with players and that’s not going to change.
+ Great players want to be around other great players and that helps recruiting as well.
+ The track record on producing NFL players speaks for itself, “but understand that this place is much, much, much bigger than the NFL.” It’s one piece of recruiting but far from the only selling point. It’s about relationship building with players and families.
+ He gets tired of talking about the 2020 recruiting cycle and in a year he’ll be tired of talking about the 2021 class. He wants people to understand that he is very excited about Miyan Williams and is very happy to have him as part of this football team.
+ We are definitely missing out right now, but the players they signed were recruited because they are mature and should be able to handle something like this.
+ The ability to take meetings to the field is missed. Everybody is going to make mistakes, so the ability to fix them immediately is one of the things he misses about not having spring ball.
+ The freshmen this spring did a really good job. The biggest impression was how competitive they were and how much it meant to them. They all make plays with an uncanny ability.
+ Chris Olave is a great guy to coach. Hartline isn’t sure anybody cares as much as Olave. He wants to be the best player in the country.
+ Hartline is a bit distracted because his wife is gone and he’s got the kids right now, so he apologizes.
+ When the team finally gets back together, he wants to see how the freshmen prepared themselves to be ready to play. There aren’t a ton of guys who have played a lot. It’s not just the freshmen. The ability to get on the field is tough and so if you can get on the field, that means you’re one of the best receivers in the country. So how the receivers maximize their time away will come to fruition when everybody gets back together.
+ The entire group was making progressions. Jaylen Harris is on the leadership council and took everyone under his wing.
+ Does Hartline worry about the cancellation of the season? He is focused on today and tomorrow and “being where your feet are.” If you do that, then when the season finally gets going, they’ll be ready for it.
+ Garrett Wilson in the slot is something he was thinking about last season. He talked to Ryan Day about it after the season and that’s why he’s in the slot now. Not having spring hurt, but Wilson should still be there this season.
+ He has emphasized to his players that this is a great time to get into their playbooks and know it. That’s how you can help your quarterback most right now. They’ll work on the timing when everyone gets back, but right now knowing what you are supposed to do is the best thing they can be doing right now for their quarterback.
+ In recruiting, his experience in the NFL is a very short conversation if players bring it up. At the end of the day, it’s about having real relationships. The worst thing that can happen is for a recruit not get to know him and what Ohio State stands for. As long as a recruit knows that, he’s done his job. Ohio State as an NFL producer is brought up and there is data. That’s one of the reasons he came to Ohio State.
+ Anthony Gonzalez is talking to the team today for Real Life Wednesday. Gonzalez is a great example of Ohio State being much more than just producing NFL players.
+ You get creative when trying to do team-building activities. “We’ve done some cool stuff,” but he wants to keep most of it private.
+ Leaders need to check up on the freshmen and make sure they’re okay. “We’re making the best of it, but it’s not ideal. But at the end of the day, he who adjusts more will come out the better for it.”