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Brian Hartline to serve as Ohio State’s interim WR coach

The former Buckeye and NFL receiver is taking over ‘Zone 6’ for the time being.

Michigan Wolverines v Ohio State Buckeyes Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

With news on Monday night that Ohio State football has parted ways with wide receiver coach Zach Smith following several disturbing allegations of domestic violence, the team has announced that former Buckeye and Quality Control Coach Brian Hartline will fill that role on an interim basis.

Hartline was added to the Ohio State staff in 2017 as an assistant, after spending seven seasons in the NFL. Since joining the coaching staff in Columbus, he’s been involved in the team’s recruiting efforts, and should be able to seamlessly slip into Smith’s role — albeit to a smaller extent — without causing too many hiccups with prospects.

The new leader of Zone 6 made his way back to OSU after being waived by the Cleveland Browns after one season. Despite his short stint in Cleveland, it came following six fairly successful seasons with the Dolphins. He finished his career with 4,766 yards on 344 receptions and 14 touchdowns.

There was a bit of drama surrounding his final year with the Browns, when Hartline was pretty candid about his feelings toward fellow Buckeye (and 2008 teammate) Terrelle Pryor Sr. and the QB-turned-receiver’s potential.

“You’re trying to tell me with a guy that had suspect personality characteristics, I’m going to go ahead and hand you a bunch of money, then you’re going to work harder?” Hartline said, according to ESPN. “Uh, I think I’m going to bet against that if I’m a betting man.”

It’s curious that Hartline would be so critical of someone with Pryor’s obvious athleticism. Even if Pryor hadn’t proven himself as a wide receiver, it’s silly to say that he didn’t have potential. Especially from someone who played with him for a season at Ohio State.

Hartline was a wideout in Columbus from 2005 to 2008, and in his final year, was the recipient of 21 passes thrown by Pryor, good for 479 yards and four touchdowns. It will now be incumbent on the former OSU standout to prove that he can translate his obvious first-hand knowledge of how to play the position to the next generation of Buckeye pass-catchers.

It was also announced that Corey Dennis was promoted to senior quality control coach working with wide receivers and quarterbacks. Dennis played in the defensive secondary and on special teams at Georgia Tech, and joined the OSU coaching staff as a graduate assistant in 2015. He is married to Urban Meyer’s daughter, Nikki.