Ohio State will have a couple of famous faces on the sidelines for its spring football game April 15. College Football Hall of Fame coach Lou Holtz and Nike co-founder Phil Knight will serve as guest coaches for the scarlet and gray teams.
“I am very close to each of these individuals, and I have enjoyed their friendship over many years,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said in a statement, “but even more, I respect the impact they have had on Ohio State and college football.
“I am looking forward to having coach Holtz and Phil Knight on our campus as guest coaches, and I am very appreciative they want to take part in and support our spring game.”
Meyer served as Holtz’s receivers coach at Notre Dame from 1996 to 2000. Holtz was an assistant coach on Ohio State’s 1968 national-championship team.
Knight helped build Nike into the world’s largest athletic footwear, clothing and equipment company. He is chairman emeritus after 26 years as president of Nike. The company has been a partner with Ohio State for more than two decades and last year signed a 15-year sponsorship deal with the Buckeyes.
Ohio State set a national attendance record at its 2016 spring game by drawing 100,189 fans.
Hope for Hilliard
Ohio State linebacker Justin Hilliard is back on the field after twice suffering a biceps tear. But if Hilliard is discouraged, new linebackers coach Bill Davis has a precedent that should ease his player's mind.
Davis coached D’Qwell Jackson with the Cleveland Browns, and Jackson also twice suffered a biceps tear.
“I shared that with Justin,” Davis said. “D’Qwell has gone on to have a great Pro Bowl career. There’s no issue with the biceps. Sometimes you’re snakebit, like D’Qwell Jackson was.
“If you know of someone who has overcome what you’re going through and has been successful, it really helps.”
The Buckeyes had only their third day of spring practice Tuesday, and only one day has been in pads, but Davis said that Hilliard is off to a good start.
The Buckeyes have hired several football staffers, and some have familiar names.
Niko Palazeti has been hired as an assistant strength coach, and Louie Addazio and Ryan Crow are new graduate assistants. Addazio is the son of Boston College coach Steve Addazio, one of Meyer’s closest friends.
Former Buckeyes and NFL receiver Brian Hartline has been added as a coaching intern, as has Trey Holtz. He is the grandson of Lou Holtz and the son of Louisiana Tech coach Skip Holtz.