OSU receivers coach: Two-handed catches, please

Tim May
tmay@dispatch.com
Ohio State receiver K.J. Hill Jr. catches the ball on a 42-yard pass against Minnesota [Joshua A. Bickel/Dispatch]

If a receiver can get one hand on the ball, “you can grab it with two,” Ohio State receivers coach Brian Hartline said on Wednesday.

That is the message he continues to preach to his players, he said, even after the spectacular one-handed pluck-and-tuck for a touchdown by junior K.J. Hill last week. Sometimes there is a necessity for the one-hander, such as Hill said of the pass from Dwayne Haskins Jr. that was on top of him before he fully turned his head to look.

But, as a rule, two hands are preferred.

That said, it seems it always pays to be prepared. After practice Wednesday, the receivers gathered around a JUGS Machine, used for spitting out passes at a rapid rate. They took turns catching the high-speed offerings, first with the right hand, then with the left. Unofficially, and ironically, Hill seemed the most proficient.

>> Video: Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, Brian Hartline on one-handed catches

Head coach Urban Meyer said the one-hander is not encouraged on game days, but he understands the Odell Beckham Jr.-inspired appeal of the spectacular. Hartline said Beckham, just like OSU receivers, are judged by one particular statistic, regardless of whether they use two hands or one.

“The emphasis is, when you’re targeted, how many times do you catch the ball,” Hartline said.

As an NFL receiver for seven seasons, Hartline said the number of one-handed catches he made was “not too many,” and those came in the realm of “whatever it took to bring the ball in.” But he added, “I was really focused on getting both hands on the ball.”

Another thing he stresses is, after scoring a touchdown, hand the ball to an official. Before Hill did so, he first acted as if the ball was stuck to his right hand, then used a foot to pry it off.

“I did not see it until postgame,” Hartline said. “But it has been addressed.”

In what way?

“We’ll keep that between me and K.J.,” Hartline said.

End of an era

No matter one’s take on the decision by Ohio State junior defensive end Nick Bosa, one thing was certain: The Bosa era has ended at Ohio State.

Bosa, recovering from surgery to repair a core muscle injury, withdrew from school and will move to California to be with his older brother, OSU product Joey, as he rehabs and trains for the 2019 NFL draft

>>Video: Urban Meyer on end of Bosa era at Ohio State

The Bosas had a six-year run, starting in 2013 with Joey, and picking up in 2016 with Nick. Joey was named the Big Ten defensive player of the year in 2014 and an All-American in 2014 and ’15, and Nick was named the Big Ten defensive lineman of the year last season and a preseason All-American this year.

“I will say this, that Nick Bosa, and Joey, and the Bosa family, from day one when they walked on this campus, they’re great people, they’ve done so much for us,” Meyer said. “We all love them to death and wish them well.”

tmay@dispatch.com

@TIM_MAYsports

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