Former Ohio State receivers rave about the influence from their coach, who had two 1,000-yard receiving seasons for the Dolphins.
The Dolphins are in the market for a receivers coach.
At last week’s NFL Combine, a collegiate receivers coach with ties to the organization was heavily lauded for producing NFL talent.
Should the Dolphins consider Brian Hartline to fill the role vacated by Karl Dorrell when he became head coach at the University of Colorado? Hartline, Ohio State’s receivers coach, helped develop three players who received invites to the Combine: K.J. Hill, Austin Mack and Ben Victor.
“Working with Coach Hartline was the biggest thing I had going for me,” Hill said. “He taught me how to be a pro. It was not even from route-running. He taught me things like accountability, being a great practice player. He would just tell us sometimes in practice, like, ‘Those things will get you cut in the league.’ So I feel like I got a jump on everybody just because he was my position coach.”
Dolphins fans will remember Hartline for back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving yards in 2012-13. Hartline’s trademarks were sideline catches made just before tiptoeing out of bounds, which created headaches for cornerbacks.
Hartline developed the skill as a younger, practicing catches on the edge of his driveway, where he had two options: Do it right and keep your balance or skin your knees. So when players talk about Hartline’s attention to detail, it’s not difficult to trace its roots.
“He impacted me like crazy,” Mack said. “When it came just to being a technician, Hartline as a player wasn’t the most freakiest athlete, but I know I’m not the most freakiest athlete. So I really gravitated toward him a lot when it came to just learning the technique of wideout, being able to learn it inside and out, and I think I’ve been able to translate that a lot to my game. That’s one of my strengths. So I give everything I can to coach Hartline, and I appreciate him a lot.”
Even though Hill and Mack no longer suit up for the Buckeyes, they’re still leaning on Hartline.
“He’s texting us right now in the group message, things to know, things to do,” Hill said. “Giving us advice at all times.”
As a player, Hartline could be brutally blunt. He could easily rub people the wrong way. If those qualities disqualified anyone from being a coach, there would be loads of vacancies.
Hartline’s advice to his former players as they met with NFL teams shouldn’t surprise anyone.
“Just be confident in interviews,” Mack said. “Know who you are. Speak well, be smart as we all are. We’ve been coached through our four years, and then when we get on the field, just do what we do.”
Hartline was Miami’s fourth-round pick out of Ohio State in 2009. He had a seven-year career, all but one with the Dolphins, and finished with 344 receptions, 4,766 yards and 14 touchdowns.
He said he’s in no hurry to leave his alma mater even though the Colts and Eagles are among the teams that have considered him, according to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer.
“There's a lot of coaches that say they'll never leave and never is a long time,” he said, via 247sports.com. “But, again, being honest, realistically, I just don't see a situation where, hopefully, I'm out of here anytime soon. Hopefully I'm here for a long time. I've earned it year in and year out. It's not given to anybody. But right currently I have no desire to go there or here — I just don't. I love being here.”
* Famous names for $500, Alex: Even though the Dolphins aren’t in the market for a kicker, one name that jumps off the board is that of UCLA’s J.J. Molson, who’s originally from Canada and … yes, if the image of a frosty mug of beer popped into your head, you’re on the right track.
“That’s my family. The first John Molson that came to Montreal that founded the brewery in 1786, I’m his eighth-generation descendant,” Molson said. “So my real name is John Molson. I just go by J.J. My grandfather (J. David Molson) owned the Montreal Canadiens from 1964-71, so he won five Stanley Cups in eight years. So we’ve kind of got the hockey side and the beer side. I’m just trying to add the football side now.”
Teammates are well aware.
“My friends would call me ‘Molson Golden,’” he said. “I kind of wore gold cleats, and Molson used to make this beer called Molson Golden. So that’s pretty funny having that nickname.”
* Famous names for $1,000, Alex: One tight end to watch is LSU’s Thaddeus Moss, and if you need any more evidence of how quickly time goes by, just consider that Hall of Famer Randy Moss, 43, has a son about to enter the NFL.
Thaddeus had an interesting answer when asked about his memories of Dad playing for the New England Patriots.
“I don't know if I'd say relationships with anybody. I've talked to coach Belichick before,” Thaddeus said.
So far, so good.
“I've talked to coach Kraft before.”
Bet you didn’t know Robert Kraft was one of those rare owner-coaches, did you?
“Probably my most fond memory is the undefeated season they had,” Thaddeus said. “Obviously they didn't finish it the way they wanted to. That, and on top of, I was in the facility once or twice before. Meeting Tom Brady when I was younger, I was sitting there, star-struck.”
* Famous names for $2,000, Alex: One offensive tackle prospect is North Carolina’s Charlie Heck, meaning he’s on an emotional high.
Heck’s father is Andy Heck, who coaches the Chiefs’ offensive line and, of course, just won a Super Bowl.
“That was awesome,” Charlie said. “You’re seeing these guys on TV all the time, and then being in a group with them. They just had that unbelievable accomplishment. So you’re seeing them at their happiest. And just getting to be there with my family, it was a great experience.”
What if Charlie is drafted by K.C.?
“There would be something special about playing for my dad at some point down the road,” Charlie said.
In the meantime, the Hecks had business at the Combine.
“I had a brief interview with my dad,” Charlie said.
“Interview” might not be the best description, since there isn’t much Andy doesn’t already know. Actually, Andy was telling, not asking.
“Don’t be somebody you’re not,” Charlie said Pops told him. “You don’t have to pretend to be somebody else. You don’t have to put on a fašade.”
* Badger credits Deiter: Tyler Biadasz is the latest Wisconsin Badgers offensive lineman hoping to make it in the NFL, joining Michael Deiter, the Dolphins’ third-round pick last year who was plugged into the starting lineup as a rookie.
“I picked Michael Dieter's brain pretty good my first two years there,” said Biadasz, a center. “My first year I was asking him all these questions about, ‘What do you think about this and that?’ My goal was to mold my game after him. … He was just a great dude overall.”
@gunnerhalTo sign up for a free Dolphins newsletter, click here.