The Rock of the Line

By Kyle Rowland on December 27, 2013 at 9:15a
28 Comments
Success has been nearby on each of Ed Warinner's coaching stops.

The first hole in the Ohio State coaching staff came last week with the departure of Everett Withers, who was named the head coach at James Madison. One or more coaches moving up the coaching ladder was inevitable. If you coach at a program that wins at the rate the Buckeyes rattle off W’s, you’re going to progress in the profession.

But as silly season winds down, it looks as if Withers will be the lone assistant lost to another university. Many believed Tom Herman, Luke Fickell and Stan Drayton were primed to get head-coaching jobs. However, the carousel wasn’t as busy as most years.

Herman owns a rich contract and wizardry mind when it comes to offense. Ohio State has set numerous school records relating to points and yards, and offensive skill players have etched their name into the media guide for future reference. But offensive line coach Ed Warinner might be more valuable to Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes’ future.

Warinner, who interviewed for the Army vacancy, has transformed the line in two seasons and been a major part of the entire offense’s production. The line led the way for the nation’s third-best rushing offense this season – 317.5 yards per game – and most yards per carry in the country (7.0).

“In terms of the entire offense, [Warinner] has brought the added level of toughness and attention to detail you want in a coach,” senior center Corey Linsley told Eleven Warriors. “He doesn’t let anything slide – win or lose – and that’s shown in our drastic level of improvement.”

The images of Orlando Pace, LeCharles Bentley and Korey Stringer matriculating from Ohio State to the NFL seem as distant as the Berlin Wall. That will change in April when Jack Mewhort, Andrew Norwell and Linsley sign pro contracts. At the center of the rejuvenated line is Warinner.

In two seasons, the Buckeyes have fielded the Big Ten quarterback and offensive player of the year – twice. Braxton Miller won both awards, as well and the Silver Football. In that same time span, Carlos Hyde accounted for nearly 2,400 yards rushing and 30 touchdowns thanks in large part to a cohesive unit of five offensive linemen.

In 2011, the year before Warinner’s arrival and a staff overhaul, Ohio State allowed 46 sacks – more than 3.5 per game. That number fell to 29 in 2012 and 17 in 2013. Warinner usually gets his message across by using a raised voice. At practice, he’s often heard motivating linemen with a tough love approach.

“You grow to love Coach Warinner,” Linsley said. “He’ll scream and yell at you out on the field, but that's only because he loves you and wants you to get better as a player. It’s made us all better.”

In the spring, Warinner will be tasked with the improvement of four new starters. One – Pat Elflein – has already emerged, which should lessen the blow of losing Mewhort, Norwell, Linsley and Marcus Hall, owners of a combined 148 starts. But to continue being one of the team’s strengths, Taylor Decker, Elflein and others must develop cohesion and prove they have the mettle to compete in the Big Ten.

If the Big Ten Championship Game was any indication, the line could have little to no falloff. Elflein’s transition into the starting lineup was seamless. He’s only a freshman, but Elflein appeared poised and in the moment. The consistency and solidarity of the line is a major component in the line’s production, and Elflein didn’t rattle either characteristic.

During bowl preparation, Warinner’s started the beginning stages of the new transfer of power.

“He’s grinding them day in and day out,” Linsley said. “From a teaching standpoint, it’s just all about helping them out and where we see their weaknesses – like Billy Price needs to learn to keep his pressure on the inside of his feet and not lose his balance by keeping it all over the place. That’s one area that I’m helping him in.”

From right to left, the line could look something like Decker, Darryl Baldwin, Jacoby Boren, Elflein and Kyle Dodson next season. Decker and Elflein are known quantities, Boren’s shown immense promise and Dodson and Baldwin are wild cards. Price, Evan Lisle, Tommy Brown and Antonio Underwood are also possibilities.

“There are no sure starters,” Linsley said. “Jacoby, Pat and Taylor are definitely the ones who have progressed the most. They’re doing a heck of a job leading off the field and with intangibles. Those three guys have definitely made the impression that they want it the most over the past two years.”

According to Meyer, the best way for the future of the line to get better is by observing the current starters.

“They are energy givers,” he said. “They walk through that door and it changes practice.”

The biggest news of all, though, is that Warinner is due to return to Ohio State for his third season in Columbus and 31st year of coaching overall. Army’s last 10-win season came when he coached the offensive line at West Point, Warinner won an Orange Bowl as Kansas’ offensive coordinator and the beginning of Illinois and Notre Dame’s most recent national success took form with Warinner as a cause.

“If we aren’t getting better, he’s pushing us to get better,” Linsley said. “He’s a maniac. He doesn’t let you slide one bit. That’s what makes him a great coach.”

28 Comments

Comments

WezBuck28's picture

Glad to have him on board, glad to hear that he is staying..we will def. need him next season to develop our young line..

703Buckeye's picture

It's awesome to see how the offensive line has improved under Coach Warinner, it's quite something to see how he develops talent. I would rather lose every other UFM assistant before losing Warinner, his value is very understated.

"Attack the Strong, Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead!"
-Former OSU S&C Coach Lichter

Buckeye_Ryan's picture

110% agree! Coach Warinner for the long haul!

Born a Buckeye, raised a Buckeye, will die a Buckeye.

ATLBuckeye09's picture

I agree 703 on losing any other assistant before him. But a close 1A is Vrabel! Our lines are coming close to being SEC style O & D Lines!!

Because they wouldn't let me go for 3!
Woody Hayes 1913-1987

AndyVance's picture

To paraphrase Teddy KGB, give the man his money. Gene Smith needs to keep Warriner happily ensconced on the Buckeye sideline for as long as possible. That man is worth the paper.

TMac's picture

I completely agree that Coach Warriner's value to the Buckeyes is at least as much as any other assistant coach, and I am thrilled to have him stay and mold our young 2014 offensive line, and may offensive lines to come.  But;

If the Big Ten Championship Game was any indication, the line could have little to no falloff

the seamless transition of replacing 1/5 of the line for 2 games is exponentially easier than will be replacing 4/5 of the 2013 starting line. That being said, I'm also confident that Ed Warriner is the man to do it!

Seattle Linga's picture

The future is so bright with the studs in the stable and with the coaching staff. Both won't be complacent in the off-season.

woodcocklives@osu's picture

"The images of Orlando Pace, LeCharles Bentley and Korey Stringer matriculating from Ohio State to the NFL seem as distant as the Berlin Wall. That will change in April when Jack Mewhort, Andrew Norwell and Linsley sign pro contracts. At the center of the rejuvenated line is Warinner."

Comparing the current 3 to the historical 3 is simply inaccurate.

703Buckeye's picture

I don't think the comparison is meant to be literal... Pace, Bentley, and Stringer are three all-time greats and to compare the current three to them would be unfair to both parties. I believe the comparison was made to show the return of dominance and pride in the OSU o-line, dominance that has not been seen since those three played in the Scarlet & Gray.

"Attack the Strong, Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead!"
-Former OSU S&C Coach Lichter

razrback16's picture

Hope he sticks around for a while. Keep bumping his pay up Urban!

Jbucks's picture

He is definitely a coach I want here for a ling time, yea we lose 4 starters on the line next year, but we dont rebuild we reload & with the guys already in place gaining the expierience is great but I could see both Jamarco Jones OT & Demetrious Knox OG breaking into the fold as well next year, esp ecially with ED coaching em up, Jones has that mean streak I love out of any Big Lineman, & Know is a brick wall, as long as Coach ED stays here our O-Lines will produce on the field at top level & produce constant 1st round draft picks

Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it-John 1:5 SEC meet Ohio State, Ohio State meet SEC

Hovenaut's picture

Warriner has done fantastic work the past two years.
Should he stay in Columbus, with the youngsters coming, we could see even better results up front.

"Success - it's what you do with what you got" - Woody Hayes

45has2's picture

Thank you, Mr. & Ms. Boren.

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes

tdible2132's picture

Does anyone know why ND fans hated Warinner? Just sour grapes? Schemes didn't mesh? It's just crazy to see how ND fans say they're relieved that we took him off their hands, yet most Of us would agree he's a great OL coach.

Seattle Linga's picture

True - he's a Mt Union grad and it is sour grapes for the Irish. Difference between the two schools is - we wouldn't want any great coach leaving for any reason but we would certainly wish him well as he is leaving through the door. Once again - jealousy reigns !!

CALPOPPY's picture

Reminds of the Walrus situation we had around here. MSU fans love the guy.

I'm a hurtin' buckaroo.

DeepSouthBuckeye's picture

In the midst of the incredible recruiting class we have coming in this year, keeping Warinner may be one of the biggest wins of the offseason for tOSU.
Two things that consistently win Championships, great OLine play and great defense. I am more than confident Warinner will continue the dominance with the OLine, and optimistic about the future of the Silver Bullets on the other side of the ball.

Loving all things Buckeye from SEC country in Alabama.
"How firm thy friendship....O-HI-O"

cinserious's picture

If LSU can keep their O line coach around for so long, we should be able to pay enough to keep Warriner at Ohio State.

"Get him a body bag, Yeah!"

BuckeyeDale's picture

"The first hole in the Ohio State coaching staff came last week with the departure of Everett Withers..."
I'll still wish the man well, but IMHO, that is addition by subtraction.  We will see, but I think the problems in the secondary & pass defense in general are on Ev Withers. 
Not sure if the change with the OL was scheme, attitude, or development, but Coach Warinner sure has earned his pay check since his arrival.  Whatever he's been doing, the turnover & transition to this next group of Buckeye OL is going to be vital.  Hope he can keep pushing the right buttons to make them tight.

 
BuckeyeDale
GO BUCKS!!

SaltyD0gg's picture

46 sacks 2 years ago. 17 this year. Wow. 3 sacks per game less is a major difference. Those are generally drive killers. As impressive as 7 ypc is, this may be an even bigger key to the success of the offense this year.

Pain of Discipline
Pain of Regret
Take Your Pick

ChazBuckeye's picture

This is where I think there "could" be hiccups just because of the inexperience.  However I'll take a few more sacks or TFLs over 46!  WOW that's a lot!  I tend to think there won't be much fall off due to the coaching and drive these players have because of them;-)  Master motivators these coaches are and I don't see that changing anytime soon.  

Some people think we’re the hunted.I don’t feel that way at all.We’re the hunter.Everybody wants an angry football team.Everybody wants a team on edge and a hungry team.If you’re a hunter,that usually equates to being hungry.

MN Buckeye's picture

GREAT news that Warriner is staying. He has found a way to be one of the most effective coaches on the staff the past two years.
If the majority of the staff stays together next year, the continuity can only help. I look at Jerry Kill with the Gophers: his staff has followed him to Northern Illinois and now Minnesota. When he took time off for epilepsy treatments, the team did not miss a beat.

ArizonaBuckeye's picture

With Coach Warriner at the helm for the O-line, I feel much better about the overhaul next season.

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you." -Woody Hayes-

Ericgobucks's picture

I want Ohio State to be SEC-like in one regard: assistant coaches salaries.Let the good ones know they'll be integral to a plan to dominate CFB. Pay them well and they'll stay. 

ChazBuckeye's picture

I'm SO glad Army didn't hire him.  I about s#$t when I saw the thread that indicated he was in the final group of interviews.  Next years line will have their moments but I really believe the coaching is going to help with the inexperience.  Just look at Billy Price who will most definitely be a guard for sure.  

T. Decker at Right Tackle, B. Price/A.Underwood at Right Guard, J. Boren at Center, Left Guard will most likely be P. Elflein and Insert the many who will fight over this spot (K.Dawson, D. Baldwin, E. Lisle, not to mention the incoming freshman Olinemen;-).  OSU will be ok with the combination of Warinner and this stock of players.  Damn it feels good to be a Buckeye O and D linemen fan;-)

Some people think we’re the hunted.I don’t feel that way at all.We’re the hunter.Everybody wants an angry football team.Everybody wants a team on edge and a hungry team.If you’re a hunter,that usually equates to being hungry.

Ericgobucks's picture

Damn, Price is jacked. While we will be young at some key positions, the talent level is high. #trustUrban

Drew's picture

 Biggest recruiting "get" of 2014 is keeping Wariner! 
It's not an accident that a player under Kerhres at Mt Union has become a top coach. Also no surprise that a former triple option line coach has had great success leading PS offenses for years.
The problems at ND were most likely more complicated than fans can understand. Similar situation with our D this yr when all the blame fell on a very smart and proven DC in Fickell. Who, btw, was the love of the town a very short time ago. How quickly we  forget.
Lastly, Wariner fits beautifully with Herman Drayton and Meyer. Very different than the Withers mess on the other side. Or, most likely, the situation at ND. 
I have already blasted Miller with my tweets. Will others please join in and help the his young man understand that the offensive staff intact entering their 3rd yr in the Meyer regime is of greater importance than all the experience that's graduating. We win next year regardless, but Miller would help himself greatly by returning. We will have another NC team and Meyer won't run him into the ground this time because he will let Herman have more reign to do his thing! Even once the Big 10 schedule starts.
Meyer has learned from his mistake. Aggression doesn't stop once the Big 10 schedule begins. It must be ramped up even more. It's not ALL about mistakes and execution. 
 
 

Drew's picture

Biggest recruiting "get" of 2014 is keeping Wariner!
It's not an accident that a player under Kerhres at Mt Union has become a top coach. Also no surprise that a former triple option line coach has had great success leading PS offenses for years.
The problems at ND were most likely more complicated than fans can understand. Similar situation with our D this yr when all the blame fell on a very smart and proven DC in Fickell. Who, btw, was the love of the town a very short time ago. How quickly we  forget.
Lastly, Wariner fits beautifully with Herman Drayton and Meyer. Very different than the Withers mess on the other side. Or, most likely, the situation at ND.
I have already blasted Miller with my tweets. Will others please join in and help this young man understand that, with the offensive staff back intact for the 3rd straight year in the Meyer regime, he must place greater importance on the System continuity rather than the experience that's graduating. We win next year regardless, but Miller would help himself greatly by returning. With Miller, we have another NC team. Possibly, even without him. And Meyer won't run him into the ground next year as I believe he will let Herman have more reign to do his thing! Even once the Big 10 schedule starts.
Meyer has learned from his mistake. Aggression doesn't stop once the Big 10 schedule begins. It must be ramped up even more. It's not ALL about mistakes and execution.