Practice is underway in Columbus, and all of the pads go on this week.
A day before fully-padded practices commence, Ohio State wide receivers coach Brian Hartline and wideouts Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, Jameson Williams and Demario McCall joined the media for a virtual press conference.
A bullet-point rundown of their comments (with video to come):
- On where his receivers will line up this season: "I kind of like that no one knows right now." He says they have a lot of "contingency plans" and are trying to find a way to get the best guys on the field.
- He says Jameson Williams is a year older and has "trained well" with a "great offseason," which has him in a position to contribute.
- Hartline says being able to play multiple roles and understanding concepts and your position will be as important or more important than ever before. "A lot of the cream will rise to the top."
- "I have no issues moving anybody to any position if it gets the right guys on the field."
- He says they're closer to three-deep at wide receiver than ever before.
- Hartline calls Kamryn Babb a "special individual." He says he's a "great football player and an even better your man."
- Once you put pads on, Hartline says, "it becomes football." They'll get that opportunity this week.
- Hartline says they'll build up their contact over the next few weeks. Without pads, he says, they'll "really get a feel for what football team we are currently." The focus is on growth over time, he says.
- The talk of Olave potentially opting out was never discussed, Hartline says. "His growth has been phenomenal."
- Williams is "developing as a route-runner" and continues to develop his mindset, Hartline says. He needs to embody the approach of, "What if I wasn't that fast?"
- He says Ryan Day "always has a great plan" when it comes to players with versatile skillsets. Demario McCall could be one of those guys, Hartline says.
- Garrett Wilson has "done a very good" job of allowing his transition to the slot not show that he's new to the position.
- Guys that are most consistent right now are those who will be on the field, Hartline says.
- Having a guy who's "very dynamic" in the slot is important, he says, which is one of the reasons Wilson is there. "I think it provides something. But how much? Time will tell."
- He says Mookie Cooper is "much further along" than expected.
- Hartline on one of his messages to his team: "It's ok to share goals, but don't think you're going to share paths."
- Hartline said he believes the depth and competition in the wide receiver room makes everyone better. “It's just a battle, day in and day out ... there's somebody in this room that can do something I don't do, and if I can learn from that, I can add that to my game.”
- Hartline on C.J. Saunders, who did not receive a sixth year of eligibility but is still working with the program this year: “C.J.'s helping the Buckeyes, oh yeah.”
- Olave says he still hasn't gotten over how the Fiesta Bowl ended. “I still got that chip on my shoulder, and I want to show the world.”
- On how he becomes the best receiver in the country: "I feel like I've got to just keep getting better every day and help my team the best I can. I feel like when I put the team first, the individual things will come."
- Olave says he's not really a "big talker" but leads by example.
- He says Justin Fields has been "one of the hardest workers in the building since I've been back. I'm out there with him." Said they've only talked once about the Fiesta Bowl interception.
- He's looking forward to getting pads on to "start real football."
- Olave says he would have returned even if the season was canceled. "That's a guarantee. I couldn't leave (with that) as the last play."
- On his move to the slot: "It wasn't something I was looking forward to." Rather, it was just him doing what was best for the team. "I feel like I'm getting used to it every day." He says he's excited to be in the slot and "get a little bit more balls."
- Being able to see K.J. Hill up close last year helped him a lot, he says.
- Davante Adams is someone Wilson looks up to. Adams can play inside and outside, which is the kind of versatility Wilson wants to have.
- Working on identifying things before the snap is important.
- The defense gets the "benefit of the doubt" when they don't have pads on, he says.
- "I feel like I've been more focused." He says he thinks that's allowed him to get "a whole lot better with everything."
- Williams says he's been trying to bring NFL receivers' games to what he does.
- He says he's never had a quarterback like Justin Fields before.
- Williams says he tries to focus on his route-running rather than simply relying mostly on his speed.
- "Everything with Justin is different. He's become a football gym rat."
- McCall says it doesn't matter where he gets the ball. He can make plays from various areas of the field.
- For him, he wants to "go out on top." Mentions a Big Ten championship.
- McCall only has two words when asked how frustrating it has been to not be able to find a consistent role yet at Ohio State: “Very frustrating.”