Ohio State Football: Receivers shining under coach Brian Hartline

BLOOMINGTON, IN - AUGUST 31: Johnnie Dixon #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs for a touchdown against the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium on August 31, 2017 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
BLOOMINGTON, IN - AUGUST 31: Johnnie Dixon #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs for a touchdown against the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium on August 31, 2017 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

This year’s Ohio State football team has plenty of talent and experience in the receiving corps but a new coach at the helm. No problem there.

With the turmoil surrounding the Ohio State football team, one unit you would have thought may have been affected more than others was the receiving corps. After all, they had a new position coach in Brian Hartline who was hired on an interim basis.

Not a problem as the wide receivers and h-backs have excelled the first three games of the season.

If they continue to play at such a high level, coach Hartline will be making a strong case the interim tag should be removed, and he should be retained for the 2019 season and beyond. A look at how the receiver corps has performed so far tells the story.

Here are stats compiled by receivers in the two deep the first three games this season compared to those they put up during the 2017 season.

Parris Campbell: 11 receptions for 152 yards and 3 touchdowns (13.8 ypc)

2017:  40-584-3 (14.8)

Campbell’s yards per catch are down but that could change on his next reception which may go for 50+.

Johnnie Dixon:  7 receptions for 138 touchdowns and 2 touchdowns (15.3 ypc)

2017: 18-422-8 (23.4)

Although his yards per catch total is down Dixon has been even more important to the offense, helping to move the chains as well as being a deep threat.

Terry McLaurin: 8 receptions for 201 yards and 3 touchdowns (25.1 ypc)

2017: 29-436-6 (15.0)

McLaurin is finally becoming the threat many of us thought he would be.

K.J. Hill: 17 receptions for 202 yards and 1 touchdown ( 11.8 ypc)

2017: 56-549-3 (9.8)

Hill remains a pass catching machine and has gained yards after the catch.

Austin Mack: 12 receptions for 173 yards (14.4 ypc)

2017: 24-343-2 (14.3)

Rough game against TCU but Mack has performed well otherwise.

Binjimen Victor: 3 receptions for 31 yards (13.3 ypc)

2017: 23-349-7 (15.2)

Victor can look like a potential All-American one game and be a no-show the next regardless of who the receivers coach is. I can’t figure this guy out.

If you project the numbers throughout the remaining nine games of the regular season you will see everyone but Victor is on pace to exceed their reception and yardage totals in 2017. He and Mack are the only two behind their pace to score at least as many touchdowns.

Now let’s look at the cumulative numbers of these six receivers and project them out if they keep on the same pace the rest of the regular season. The difference between those numbers and the ones they put up in 2017 may surprise you.

They have combined for 58 receptions. 897 yards and 9 touchdowns, (15.5 ypc). They have averaged 299 receiving yards per game the first quarter of the season. At that pace the totals would be 232 receptions for 3,588 yards and 36 touchdowns at the end of the season.

Here are their cumulative stats in 2017: 180 receptions for 2,723 yards (15.1 ypc) and 29 touchdowns. They averaged 194.5 receiving yards per game.

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Remember the 2017 stats were accumulated over 14 games, not 12 I projected this year.

When I wrote “Brian Hartline is the right guy at the right time”  I really thought he was the right man to take over the wide receivers. After the first three games, I am even more convinced that is the case.

My reasoning, not only was coach Hartline an exceptional player for the Buckeyes he went on to have a fine seven-year NFL career. You don’t play wide receiver in the league for that long without learning a few tricks of the trade along the way.

You can tell he has shared some of that wisdom with his players as I was certain he would. The receivers are running crisp patterns and separating from defenders. That certainly gives Dwayne Haskins confidence in them which has been a big part of his success so far.

dark. Next. Ryan Day report card

If the receiving corps continues to play at the level they have, I think the interim tag should be taken off coach Hartline, and soon. What more could you ask of the guy? He will have proved he is the right guy at the right time.