Saturday's first spring scrimmage was not just an opportunity for the Buckeye coaches to evaluate their players in live game situations.
Brian Hartline also had the chance to get a feel for calling plays for the Buckeye offense in a game-like setting, and Ohio State's new offensive coordinator thought it went well. Following Tuesday's practice at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, Hartline discussed his new responsibilities this spring and broke down his thoughts on the aforementioned scrimmage.
Hartline also touched on the decision to remove freshman wide receiver Carnell Tate's black stripe, his impressions of Jayden Ballard's progression entering his third year in the program and the increase in opportunities for several wideouts in his stable due to some key injuries in his position room.
Eleven Warriors took notes on everything Hartline said during his interview session, and you can check them out below.
- On calling plays during Saturday's scrimmage, Hartline says it went "great" and that putting players in an "unscripted situation" was a positive. "Those are I think are our most precious periods."
- Hartline says scrimmage days are a mix of scripted and unscripted plays.
- On Carnell Tate, Hartline says "he's being detailed" and "doing a pretty good job of taking meetings to the field." Hartline says he's done a good job of correcting mistakes and moving on from them. "He very rarely has repeated mistakes. That's usually a pretty good sign of a good player who's about his business, and that's really what you're hoping for."
- Hartline says "I enjoy" calling plays but acknowledges that the offense isn't specifically scheming for an opponent, so play calling is different at this stage in the spring. "When we go live, that's some of the best work. ... it's fun."
- Hartline says his highlight of Saturday's scrimmage was that the offense won the day at the end of practice.
- On Jayden Ballard's double move that led to a long touchdown, Hartline says "you judge the level of a player not if he can do it, but how often." Hartline says it was executed at a high level and allowed the Buckeye offense to "start off with some good momentum."
- On Ryan Day saying this is Ballard's time, Hartline says "it's always his time." Hartline says "he can be here for six years if he wants to, so he's halfway through his time. Yeah, he's doing a great job." Hartline says he's excited for what's to come for Ballard, and that "he's on a good path and he knows that."
- On removing Tate's black stripe, Hartline says he has straight As in school, is always on time and handles his business well. Hartline says Tate hasn't surprised him so far, but that he's happy with where he's at both on and off the field right now.
- Hartline says Ohio State is 6-7 players deep at wide receiver this year, and that "everyone's being pushed." Hartline jokes "it's a secret" who those 6-7 Buckeyes are.
- Hartline says Ballard is "being more consistent" this year. "He's running faster more consistently, he's always caught the ball great. No mental mistakes on offense, blocking the right guys, lining up on the right alignments."
- Hartline says "it's amazing how much extra time you had" before taking on the responsibilities of an offensive coordinator. "How did I ever think I was busy before?" Hartline says he doesn't meet with individual position rooms outside of the wide receivers, though.
- Hartline calls the play calling role "a learning opportunity" for him. "Yes there's an opportunity, but there's a pedestal that it's being put on right now. We don't even know how it's all gonna play out in the fall. I'm not thinking about it that way. ... We're working in a world of install, situational football."
- On goals as a play caller, Hartline says "I don't think it would be fair to have goals, because I haven't done it. ... I want to make it around the track without blowing up the car."
- On Gee Scott Jr., Hartline says he's "doing a great job" and that "I feel him." Hartline says it's about seeing him do it consistently.
- On Xavier Johnson, Hartline says he's a "really good receiver and he's a really good running back. It's our job to figure out ways to use that."
- On Ballard growth's beyond being a deep threat, Hartline says "his growth as a complete player is the key to all his goals." Hartline says he won't be a starter at OSU if he's not "doing it all at a high level." However, Hartline says he's doing better in all facets. Hartline says he's "definitely better than he was last year at this time." Hartline says he's "six months behind where I thought he was gonna be" but that he's "doing a really good job." Hartline says "if he stops where he's at now, it's not gonna be good enough. He's gotta be better."
- On Noah Rogers and Bryson Rodgers, Hartline says the biggest thing is building a foundation and correcting early mistakes they make. Hartline says "you can't let the mistakes of two days ago show up in two days."
- On Brandon Inniss, Hartline says "I think I'm focused on the guys that are here now." Hartline says Inniss will help the Buckeyes compete in the slot, and that "if we had him here, it would be great to see that competition."
- Hartline says Tony Alford has been focused on making sure Evan Pryor isn't falling behind, but that his focus is on the guys that are on the field this spring.
- On Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson's NFL success, Hartline says "I'm proud that they finished the season, I'm proud they stayed healthy, that's a big thing in that league. ... Hopefully they're a pleasure to coach up there. ... It's probably a good reflection of how we operate." Hartline says there are a "plethora of guys that are coming" behind them as potential NFL wideouts from Ohio State.