SAN ANTONIO, Texas – On Tuesday, four-star Wisconsin offensive lineman Carson Hinzman committed to Ohio State. Shortly before he made the announcement, Hinzman told reporters after the All-American Bowl West team practice he was going to commit to a school, not a coach.
Just two days later, his words were put to the test.
Ohio State confirmed Thursday offensive line coach Greg Studrawa would not return after six seasons with the Buckeyes. But that isn’t going to change OSU’s status with either Hinzman or four-star offensive lineman signee George Fitzpatrick, as both reaffirmed their commitment to the Buckeyes despite the coaching turnover.
“It’s a business,” Hinzman said. “Like I said to myself and said to my family, I’m not committed to a coach, I’m committed to the people and the culture. I’m committed to the best fans in the land in Columbus. I’m excited to get to work there, I’m not just doing this for one coach, I’m doing this for myself and my family.
“Anything can happen, but I’m a man of my word and I’m going to keep my promise.”
Word of the coaching change first reached both Hinzman and Fitzpatrick halfway through their practice with the West team on Thursday. Both were blindsided by the news, and said they were not kept in the loop from Ohio State regarding a potential change.
“I was definitely disappointed to hear the news,” Fitzpatrick said. “Coach Stud and I have a great relationship. I thought he was a good coach. But I’m not going to question coach (Ryan) Day because he knows where the program is going. Just knowing him, I know he’s going to bring in a guy that fits the culture and is a great O-line coach. I’m definitely not worried about a new coach.
“College football is a business. And that’s why I picked Ohio State, it wasn’t for a coach or anything, it was for the culture, community and tradition. That doesn’t change.”
Hinzman was in between drills when he first heard the news.
“Man, that’s crazy, Stud just got fired,” Hinzman said out loud immediately after he found out.
“I’m just looking to hear from him that we’re going to be good no matter what,” Hinzman said. “Committing there, personally, I don’t need to hear a whole lot from him. I committed to the Ohio State Buckeyes and if he’s the head of the Ohio State Buckeyes, he tells me to go jump in a freezing lake, I’ll go do it. I’m 100 percent behind him and what his plan is.”
Hinzman and Fitzpatrick both hope whoever is hired to replace Studrawa is a “tough love” kind of coach.
“I’m just excited to see someone who’s ready to get to work,” Hinzman said. “I’m not a believer in someone who’s like ‘You guys got it, you’re at this level.’ It’s like yeah, I may be at this level, but I want to get to the next level. I’m excited for someone that’s going to push us and brings a good culture. I’m really excited to see who they bring in.”
For the rest of the week, Hinzman and Fitzpatrick’s focus will be representing the West team in the All-American Bowl. But Fitzpatrick will head to Columbus on Sunday to enroll early to begin participating in the strength and conditioning program and compete in spring football.
“It’s going to be a little weird, I’ll move in on Sunday, just not knowing the coach, it definitely feels a little odd,” Fitzpatrick says.
Hinzman plans to sign with Ohio State on Feb. 2 and already is looking forward to the future.
“We’re committed to winning a national championship,” he said. “We’re excited to be able to bring that home.”