FOOTBALL

Will Brian Hartline replace Kevin Wilson as Ohio State offensive coordinator?

Colin Gay
The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio State football has an opening on its coaching staff.

Ohio State offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Kevin Wilson is reportedly in talks to become Tulsa's next head football coach after six seasons with the Buckeyes after serving as Indiana's head coach from 2011-16.

If Ohio State coach Ryan Day — the offense's primary play-caller — were to make an in-house hire, here are a few options from his current staff that could fill Wilson's role.

Brian Hartline — Ohio State WR coach and passing game coordinator

Sep 17, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes passing game coordinator Brian Hartline watches his wide receivers warm up prior to the NCAA Division I football game against the Toledo Rockets at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch

Last Thursday, Ohio State wide receivers coach Brian Hartline was surrounded by rumors of being a candidate for the Cincinnati football head coach position, which he denied in a statement on Twitter.

“I am aware of the speculation surrounding my name connected to other vacant coaching positions and appreciate all the support,” Hartline said on Twitter, “but right now my heart is at Ohio State and I do not have any plans to go anywhere else.”

Hartline is rising through the ranks of the Ohio State coaching staff, adding a promotion as passing game coordinator ahead of the 2022 season, giving him increased responsibilities in the offensive game plan.

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Since his arrival in 2017 as a quality control coach before taking over the wide receivers coach posting in as an interim coach in 2018 before taking over full time the next season, Hartline has helped recruit and develop All-Americans like Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, along with Emeka Egbuka, Julian Fleming and Marvin Harrison Jr., who is among three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award, which is given to the country’s top player at the position.

In 2022, Ohio State had the best passing game in the Big Ten, averaging 294.2 passing yards per game with 38 touchdowns.

Justin Frye — Ohio State OL coach and associate head coach for offense

Nov 5, 2022; Evanston, Illinois, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes offensive line coach Justin Frye takes the field prior to the NCAA football game against the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch

Ahead of the 2022 season, Justin Frye was hired as Ohio State's replacement for Greg Studrawa to lead the offensive line, while also retaining the title of associate head coach for the offense.

Frye, who was UCLA's offensive coordinator under coach Chip Kelly in 2021, helped lead Ohio State to the third-best run game in the Big Ten, averaging 198.5 yards per game and 5.5 yards per rush with 29 touchdowns.

Frye's offensive line was also the only one in the Big Ten and one of seven in college football to allow less than 10 sacks, allowing eight in 12 games.

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Frye worked with Day at Temple in 2011 when the Ohio State coach was the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach, while also crossing paths at Boston College for two seasons in 2013-14.

Tony Alford — Ohio State RB coach, assistant head coach for offense and run game coordinator

Nov 26, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes running back TreVeyon Henderson (32) watches from the sideline behind running backs coach Tony Alford during the first half of the NCAA football game against the Michigan Wolverines at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch

Heading into his eighth year as Ohio State's running backs coach, Tony Alford was promoted to be the offense's run game coordinator, leading four backs to six 1,000-yard seasons: Ezekiel Elliott (2015), Mike Weber (2016), J.K. Dobbins (2017-19) and TreVeyon Henderson (2021)

Each of Alford's starting running backs during his tenure have been drafted, including Elliott as the No. 4 overall pick in 2016 to Dallas and Dobbins as the No. 55 overall pick in 2021 to Baltimore.

Alford helped lead Ohio State to the third-best run game in the Big Ten in 2022, averaging 198.5 yards per game and 5.5 yards per rush with 29 touchdowns.

Ohio State football's 2022 schedule

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