Ohio State is primed to reload even with C.J. Stroud bound for NFL


When Kirby Smart said he told his Georgia Dawgs to go hunting right before the national title game started, I imagined Buckeyes fans hissing.

When UGA did to Texas Christian what public schools tend to do when they play private, I pictured the Buckeyes howling.

When Smart flashed two fingers at his Dawgs as they danced after handing the Amphibians their worst bowl loss in history, I believed more than ever that the Dawgs won the national title on a missed field goal nine days earlier.

And so do the Buckeyes.

The Buckeyes took the Dawgs’ best shot, returned it and came up short. They know they’ve left their bag on the table and they’re sick of it.

Hell, it would be. I would be sick, mad, and pushing forward for another chance to defend my honor. Who wouldn’t be? Swallowing this bile either knocks you over or forces you out in a wicked vortex.

retool recharge It involves again. Isn’t that scarlet and gray? don’t talk about it Be about it.

As the coaching merry-go-round picked up speed in late November and into December, the newest month of the year in sports, offensive coordinator Brian Hartline felt compelled to send a message to Buckeyes fans and sport in general when it goes saidunequivocally, that he had no intention of leaving Columbus, Ohio, after the 2022 season.

To some, that tweet signaled a coach doing his duty to fend off any suitors at a time when his talents as a coach and recruiter are at their peak, but also with his team two wins away from winning the national championship

He might get a raise to assemble the best receiving corps in the country a year after taking Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, Ohio State’s first at the position since 2007 , and develop Marvin Harrison Jr. . in a Biletnikoff Award finalist as a sophomore.

After a pay raise, not much was expected in Hartline’s moves after his tweet. And even after he was elevated to offensive coordinator when Kevin Wilson accepted the opportunity to coach the Golden Hurricane in Tulsa, it should be noted that Ryan Day is still the Buckeyes’ head coach, he’s still a outstanding game player and no one is clamoring for him. give it up

Still, on a team as great as Ohio State, being named “offensive coordinator” is like being named “future head coach.” It’s not a matter of if, but of when and where. And as I’ve said on “The Number One College Football Show” and written about on FOX Sports for the past two years, Hartline is as much a star at Ohio State as any quarterback to start and play in the Shoe. It’s also a shrewd piece of work by Day, who knows what he has in Hartline, a breakout star, and how rare that is.

Challenges ahead for Brian Hartline, Buckeyes

Challenges ahead for Brian Hartline, Buckeyes

New Ohio State offensive coordinator Brian Hartline will be looking for a new quarterback for next season.

With coaching staff turnover following Urban Meyer’s decision to step down at the end of the 2018 season, Day first promoted Hartline to wide receivers coach, where he elevated the position and transitioned the offense to a height I had not seen before.

Before the arrival of Day, Wilson and Hartline, the Buckeyes were primarily known for their running backs and offensive linemen. And in the last decade alone, defensive line coach Larry Johnson Sr. has turned the program into one of the NFL’s favorite programs from which to draw first-round talent at defensive tackle and tight end defensive

However, in Hartline, the show has a 36-year-old superstar of its own. Pair his passing catches as the last Buckeye to win the Heisman in Troy Smith, his time with the Cleveland Browns as a wide receiver, and his vision of the Ohio State as the pinnacle of the sport, and the Buckeyes always had at least one fan favorite.

At most, the nation will find out what OSU already knows: that Hartline is one of the best recruiters in the sport. The list of players he’s convinced not only to sign with Ohio State, but stick around for three, four or five years of development will soon include not just Olave and Wilson, but Harrison, Julian Fleming and Emeka Egbuka.

When 2023 Brandon Inniss, Noah Rogers and Carnell Tate signed with Ohio State last December, it meant three of the first four Ohio State’s No. 6 class signed to play at Hartline because they want for themselves what Garrett Wilson said he wanted.

“You have coaches that know what they’re doing and when you have guys that come in as three stars and go to the league like Mike Thomas,” the Austin native said. he said Rivals in explaining why he chose Ohio State over Texas. “He’s somebody who has done what I want and continues to do. They expect to lose four or five receivers after this season, so that leaves an opportunity for me to come in and make an impact as soon as I get there. , and that it’s huge for me.”

Four years after making that statement, Wilson joined Olave as the first pair of rookie wide receivers to each top 1,000 receiving yards in the 2022 season. And that’s why players flock to the ‘Ohio State: To have a chance to play in the biggest games, to compete for championships, not only to get a first-round pick, but to make good on a franchise’s decision to bet eight figures on their capabilities.

After two seasons without a Big Ten title appearance and two straight losses to Michigan, nearly four weeks of consternation ensued for the Buckeyes. But in their CFP semifinal against Georgia in Atlanta, a de facto home game for the Dawgs, the Buckeyes gave their best response of their 2022 season when they fell just one point short: a UGA timeout, one goal of field lost at midnight, of eliminating the national champions.

They did so largely without their top wide receiver in 2022, Harrison. They did so without their most talented wide receiver, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, for most of the season. And they did it without their most talented running back, TreVeyon Henderson, for the final stretch.

And still, they gave the Dawgs hell.

With CJ Stroud headed to the NFL Draft, Day, Hartline and quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis will begin the competition for his replacement in earnest. While it’s important to note that freshman Devin Brown is a bright talent, sophomore Kyle McCord is not only a bright talent, but has had the best chemistry with the program’s best receiver in Harrison .

McCord and Harrison played high school football together at St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia. In his final 6A state title game, McCord completed 21 of 28 passes for 336 yards. Eight of those completions went to Harrison, who finished with 156 yards in the 62-13 shellacking of Central York.

McCord left Philadelphia with the city records for passing yards (6,887) and TDs (88) while Harrison left with the city records for career yards (2,624) and TDs of his career (37).

That means neither is new to the other, neither is new to record-setting performances and neither is new to winning championships, all expectations when you wear the scarlet and gray on one of the proudest programs in the country

With Hartline having more influence not only in game preparation, but also in the details in practice, the Buckeyes are in position to go after the Michigan Wolverines, a Big Ten title and their first national title since 2014. If they were upset about losing to UM in 2021, it wasn’t enough to beat them at home against a rough and ready Wolverines group.

In 2023, anger alone won’t do. Emphasis on the same, humility and thirst for work is what they will have to depend on as they work towards September. And then? He has come, and let’s go.

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