Brian Hartline Says His Former NFL Head Coach Joe Philbin Brings “Wealth of Knowledge” to Ohio State: “Everyone in the Building Can Learn Something from Him”

By Dan Hope on June 3, 2023 at 10:10 am
Joe Philbin
Geoff Burke – USA TODAY Sports

Now that Joe Philbin has joined Ohio State’s coaching staff as an offensive analyst, Brian Hartline is spending more time with his former NFL head coach than he ever has before.

Hartline played for Philbin for three years with the Miami Dolphins from 2012-14. As a wide receiver, however, Hartline spent more time with his position coach than he ever did with Philbin. But now that they are working on the same offensive coaching staff together, Hartline is trying to soak up all of the knowledge he can from Philbin, who has both 19 years of NFL coaching experience and 19 years of college coaching experience.

“At the NFL level, we don't have a ton of one-on-one time with the head coach. I mean, my one-on-one time would be with my position coach,” Hartline said. “I think that having him now in the room is going to be much more beneficial than how he was as a head coach back then. I mean, the impact Jim Tressel would have had on me now would be much more impactful than probably he did as a head coach at Ohio State. (Darrell Hazell, his wide receivers coach at Ohio State) had the most day-to-day impact on me, not Jim Tressel. So I think it's very cool to have Coach Philbin around now, and for me to have this opportunity to learn from him, which I really didn't have back then.”

While Hartline didn’t necessarily have a close relationship with Philbin during his years playing with the Dolphins, Philbin always had his respect as a coach who was well-organized and came up with clean game plans. So when Hartline became Ohio State’s offensive coordinator this offseason and Philbin’s tenure as the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive line coach ended, Hartline reached out to Philbin to gauge his interest in joining the Buckeyes.

“I kind of gave him the idea, and he was definitely receptive to it and we weren't sure if it was gonna work out, but between himself and Ohio State and everything, it worked out,” Hartline said. “And I'm glad it did.”

While Philbin has only been at Ohio State for a few weeks, Hartline believes he’s already made an impact on the rest of the staff. And he’s excited about everything Philbin can bring to the Buckeyes this year.

“I think the addition of Joe has been phenomenal,” Hartline said. “I think both from the former head coach, offensive coordinator, O-line play, the wealth of knowledge when it comes to football. I mean, there's so many litany of things that he brings to the building. How approachable he is, how coachable to coaches he's going to be. There has been so many positives to having Joe on this staff.”

Offensive line coach and run game coordinator Justin Frye also views Philbin as a valuable asset for the coaching staff.

“Oh, man. He’s great. Just another set of eyes that have seen it and done it and coached it, what he's done is going to be nothing but big for the staff and for our unit and for our guys,” Frye said. “A1A professional, coming in and wants to learn our stuff, wants to know what we're doing.”

Because Philbin is just an analyst, there are limitations to what he’ll actually be able to do for the Buckeyes. Specifically, Philbin is not allowed to coach players on the field during practices. And while he has experience as both a head coach and offensive coordinator, he won’t be calling plays during games either.

When asked if Philbin could take on some of the responsibility of coordinating the run game that was previously led by former offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, Hartline said he would rely primarily on Frye to lead those efforts.

“I'm sure Coach Frye will use every asset he has around him. And obviously Joe would be a good asset,” Hartline said. “I know Coach Frye’s got a good handle on that run game and we'll let it grow from there. But I'd rely a lot, very heavily on Coach Frye.”

Although Philbin and fellow senior advisor/analyst Todd Fitch are now the most experienced coaches on Ohio State’s offensive staff in terms of years in the profession, Ohio State’s offensive game-planning efforts will still be led by Ryan Day and the Buckeyes’ five full-time offensive assistants: Hartline, Frye, quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis, running backs coach Tony Alford and tight ends coach Keenan Bailey. But Hartline expects Philbin to give great insight when called upon.

“I think we're surrounded by guys in the building that have done it at the highest level and have done it really well,” Hartline said. “Now, I'm gonna lean on everyone in the room, Coach Day and Coach Frye and Coach Dennis and Coach Bailey and Coach Alford, but I mean, he's definitely a great addition, and he'll bring something to the room that will help us.

“He's not just blurting out all the time. He's waiting to be maybe called upon or pulled aside or whatever. But I'm sure if there's a thing that he believes strongly in, he'd be willing to voice his opinion. Again, all opinions are welcomed. I would just say that he's not in there trying to overtake the room. He is very respectful to everyone that's in there. And as much as we're learning from him, I know he's trying to learn from us.”

Hartline says he believes everyone on Ohio State’s staff, not just the offensive coaches, should be looking to learn whatever they can from Philbin.

“I think the perspective he gives, the wealth of knowledge that he has as a position coach, head coach, football coach, I think everyone in the building can learn something from him,” Hartline said.

For Hartline, though, the opportunity to work alongside Philbin is made extra special by the fact that he was once coached by Philbin himself.

“To say it's not pretty cool, in my perspective, to be around Coach Philbin again in a different light, in a different way, would be an understatement,” Hartline said. “So very happy he's here.”

View 38 Comments