COLUMBUS — Brian Hartline learned a lot this spring.
That includes when to call it a night.
“There’s nothing I can really say,” the Ohio State offensive coordinator and receivers coach replied when asked about an early-morning ATV accident on his property April 16.
It prompted a 911 call and put him in the hospital less than 24 hours after the Buckeyes wrapped up spring football, but Hartline appeared none the worse for wear physically Tuesday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
“All I would say is that in hindsight, I probably would have rather just gone to bed instead of rode the side-by-side, but that’s about all I can say,” he said during his first scheduled interviews since the accident.
Hartline also described the situation as a learning opportunity before steering questions to football, another area with a lot of ground to cover as he moves into an expanded role that may include calling plays this fall.
After five years as Ohio State’s receivers coach, Hartline was named offensive coordinator during the winter.
He got to see what that actually means in practice over the course of the spring, and his main takeaway was it takes away time.
“I felt myself barking out, talking play-calling through the spring and that also limited my ability to bark at the receivers,” he said. “Just wearing the both hats, I definitely felt that a little bit, especially during practice. In between practice, I was fine.”
As far as who will call the plays when the Buckeyes open the season at Indiana on Sept. 2, Hartline deferred to head coach Ryan Day, who was not available for interviews this week, but the new OC said he felt spring was productive.
“I think we did a good job competing, and we did a great job of trying to play the game as much as possible,” he said. “We scripted more live periods, not tackle but really put guys in position to grow and learn and to experience what it’s like on a Saturday even though it’s minimal of what it really is. But I think we did a pretty good job installing (the offense), of putting guys in position to make plays. And also new guys to put their best foot forward. That whole combination I thought was pretty well done.”
Much work remains, though, when summer break ends in late July and the Buckeyes return to the field as a full unit.
That includes forming the offensive identity and choosing many of the payers who will be charged with putting it into action.
No starting quarterback has been chosen, and multiple spots appear to still be up for grabs on the offensive line.
Ohio State does have a pair of experienced running backs to build around — TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams — plus potentially the best wide receiver duo in the country in Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka along with experienced tight end Cade Stover.
“You want to get an idea of the people you want to go to start relying on,” Hartline said. “You want to identify points where maybe things need to improve. You want to start outlining guys you’re going to count on in the fall, and then continue to develop them through summer. Identify individually and offensively things that we need to improve on but also things that we do well. At the end of the day coming out of spring, you want to start having an identity, and then putting those guys in position to create that identity is really important.”