sg飞艇appCOLUMBUS - Making a fingertip catch in traffic was probably easier for him.
With his wife away, Ohio State receiver-turned-receivers coach Brian Hartline was holding his 7-month-old daughter and keeping an eye on what his 2-year-old son was doing in another room as he participated in a recent teleconference with reporters.
Welcome to the new normal. It finds the reigning 247Sports National Recruiter of the Year at home trying to keeping virtual tabs on his extended family of Buckeyes as well as high school prospects, all of them spread out around the country.
When he's not on diaper duty, that is.
"There's going to be a point in seven or eight months where we look back and go, 'Wow, what a weird time,'" Hartline said about the life changes brought on by COVID-19. "What a great time to be with my family and see the silver living in things and not worry about where we are in six months.
"At the end of the day, all you can really control is the now. We'e trying to focus that way as coaches and players."
Pandemic aside, this is a good time to be Brian Hartline. After coming back to his alma mater as a quality control assistant in 2017, Hartline was promoted to interim receivers coach for the fired Zach Smith in 2018 and then got the job full-time last season.
sg飞艇appAll he's done is become one of the rising stars in his profession.
sg飞艇appIn 2018, his receiving corps, led by senior captains Parris Campbell, Johnnie Dixon and Terry McLaurin, caught 310 passes for 4,429 yards and 45 touchdowns, breaking school records in all three categories.
That unit also became the first in OSU history to boast four players with at least 1,000 career receiving yards, a feat matched last season despite the departure of the three very productive captains.
K.J. Hill, who took over as one of the captains last season, became the school's all-time leader in receptions with 201 and went over 2,300 yards in career yardage.
That all of this happened on Hartline's watch is not surprising. He was considered something of an overachiever with the Buckeyes and then in the NFL, where he was a model of consistency with 30 or more receptions all seven years, the last with the Browns.
But where Hartline has really made his mark is in recruiting. He landed six top 100 recruits in the 2020 class, including what may turn out to be the best group of receivers ever reeled in by one school: 5-stars Julian Fleming and Jaxon Smith-Njigba and 4-stars Gee Scott Jr. and Mookie Cooper.
sg飞艇appThey should fit right in with the likes of junior Chris Olave and sophomore Garrett Wilson, with Hartline already getting commitments from two top-100 receivers for the No. 1-ranked 2021 class in Marvin Harrison Jr. and Massillon product Jayden Ballard.
"At the end of the day it comes down to having real relationships," Hartline said. "I try to develop those. I don't want anything from a (prospect). If they feel at this point 'I want this guy to coach me,' well, I guess that took care of itself. But I really enjoy getting to know young men who want to reach their dreams.
"I don't want them to not get to know me. At the end of the day, if they choose somewhere else to go because (Ohio State) isn't right for them, who am I to say otherwise? It's not a big deal. I just want to make sure they know who I am, what I stand for, what Ohio State is all about."
sg飞艇appAll four heralded receivers in the 2020 class enrolled early to get a jump-start on their college careers, but that lasted only three spring practices before the pause button was hit everywhere because of the global pandemic.
They can work out on their own, but it's obviously not the same as being in a controlled environment with their teammates. And they are missing valuable time building chemistry with quarterback Justin Fields and the two early enrollees battling to be his eventual successor, Jack Miller and CJ Stroud.
"The thing I wanted to see was how everybody meshed together," Hartline said. "I really wanted that (receivers) room to form a bond and develop a new identity. Who's going to step up and lead from the inside out? Those are the kind of things we missed.
"The football side of things, I think we'll be OK. There's a lot of smart guys in that room, guys who care. But the culture and the brotherhood and the molding of the room has been the biggest loss."
sg飞艇appThis isn't the first time Hartline has had to roll with the punches. In the first game of his senior season at GlenOak High School, after he had already committed to Ohio State, he fractured his fibula and tibia and a metal rod had to be installed in his broken leg.
Once it healed, he went on to win two gold medals at the state track meet, sweeping both hurdles races.
In 2012, Hartline had his appendix removed. Gangrene had developed and he lay motionless in the hospital for 12 days. At one point doctors thought his condition was life-threatening.
sg飞艇appNot only did Hartline recover, but just months later, in his fourth season as a pro, he had a Miami Dolphins-record 253 reception yards in a game. He finished the season with 74 catches and 1,083 yards — one of two seasons he went over 1,000 yards for the team.
Scott, who was in middle school when Hartline retired as a player, admitted he didn't know anything about Hartline the player outside of the Madden NFL video game.
sg飞艇app"I do admire the things he’s done, not only in the NFL but in college," said Scott, when Ohio State's 14 early enrollees met with reporters in early February. "I respect him. When he tells me something I listen. When you put those two things together, a good receivers coach and a kid who wants to listen, good things usually happen.”
Seeing the NFL on Hartline's playing resume resonated with Smith-Njigba.
"It's definitely a difference," he said. "You got coaches that tell you to do it and just probably never played, and you got coaches that are right beside you telling you what you need to do and have been in that position, and he's been to a higher level, a level that we're all trying to get to. So coming from him, when he gives me advice or when he coaches me up, I'm full attention and aware and just listening to him."
sg飞艇appThis past December Hartline was named by the American Football Coaches Association as one of its "35 Under 35" honorees, a prestigious program that identifies and develops “premier future leaders” in the football coaching profession.
sg飞艇appPerhaps one of the reasons Hartline's future seems so bright is because he tries to live in the moment. Especially now. He's not worrying about when the season will start, if it will start or what form it will take.
sg飞艇appHe hopes his players have adopted the same mindset as they work out on their own and navigate through extraordinary times.
"In order to have the best possible outcome in the future, be where your feet are," Hartline said. "I'm not looking ahead. I'm not worrying about game time yet. (Think of it as) Tuesday practice ... I'm going to focus on Tuesday.
sg飞艇app"We understand our conditioning level will dictate how we do in the fall. The best way to prepare for the future is to focus on the now."