Warinner Making Quick Impact On Staff

Urban Meyer has made it clear how important some of the hires he made on his first Ohio State football staff have been. One of those is Ed Warinner. The OSU offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator appeared to fit in nicely this spring.

For the past 11 seasons, no staff member of the Ohio State football team was the target of more public questioning than the offensive coordinator/offensive line coach.

Though his work was praised repeatedly by his charges, Jim Bollman couldn't seem to do anything right in the eyes of some fans, who criticized everything from his overarching offensive philosophy to the fact that blocking sleds weren't used every day in practice.

While Ohio State's offensive output during Bollman's tenure was less than ideal, the griping showed two fundamental truths about college football: Fans like offense, and good offenses keep the quarterback upright and allow the talented players to get into the space they need.

In other words, the offensive coordinator and line coach will be among the key positions in the sport for the foreseeable future, and the Buckeyes have to feel like they have a good one in Ed Warinner.

The former Notre Dame assistant has already started to receive praise from players and coaches alike, including the big boss, first-year head coach Urban Meyer.

"I thought Coach Warinner did a very good job with them in what some would say a complicated, a very different offense (this spring)," Meyer said, referencing the work Warinner did in turning a green group of linemen from nonfunctional into a unit with potential.

That Meyer would have such high praise isn't a surprise given the importance he ascribed to the position coach when he went about assembling his staff, one of the reasons Warinner was one of the last coaches tabbed.

Warinner's résumé had to jump out of the pile given his experience with spread offenses. In two separate trips to Kansas from 2003-09, he helped install a running game that complemented a solid passing unit as the traditionally moribund Jayhawks made a stunning run into the Bowl Championship Series.

Warinner also helped install a spread offense at Illinois in 2005-06 that set the stage for Juice Williams' breakout, then his work at Notre Dame last year helped Brian Kelly install a similar offense as well.

In other words, he knows a thing or two about conversions from more traditional offenses to those with spread principles.

"(It's) not one that I haven't done before," he said upon being hired in January. "When we went to Notre Dame two years ago they were a power, pro offense and we went to a spread. We implemented that and had a lot of success, so I'm familiar with doing that.

"It's just about teaching the players what you expect them to do, evaluating your talent, getting them in the right spots and making sure that you have guys where you need them to execute what you're trying to do. There'll be a little bit of a learning curve, but fundamental football is fundamental football."

That experience was key to Meyer. The new coach was looking for someone to add to the offensive braintrust that includes himself and coordinator Tom Herman, who was thought to be one of the rising offensive minds in the country with his previous work at Iowa State and Rice.

Though Warinner said he considers himself the No. 3 guy on the totem pole, it's clear Meyer has high hopes for the partnership.

"I took my time hiring that position because I wanted to have two coordinators," he said. "I have a history of our guys becoming head coaches quickly, so I wanted to have somebody ready to move in who at least knows what we're doing."

Watching Warinner coach the offensive line this spring made it clear that he's not just an offensive thinker, he's also a football coach with excellent motivational skills. He often got on linemen for lollygagging – even for a moment – during practice sessions, and his direct instructions and outward intensity were apparent.

"Coach Warinner is an awesome coach," left tackle Jack Mewhort said. "He's a great motivator, which is really good. It's been the spark we've needed on the offensive line. He's always on top of us to make sure we're doing what we need to do as far as practice. There's never a dull moment with him. It's fast-paced. It's really great for us to be getting better as an offensive line."

Newly installed center Corey Linsley said Warinner brings something different to the table than Bollman, who was lauded by many of his players over the years for his knowledge of offensive line play.

Linsley went far to make sure the two share many of the same attributes but have specific things that stand out about their teaching methods.

"There's really not a whole lot different from a philosophy standpoint," Linsley said. "I think both of them are excellent coaches. I think their fortes are a little bit different. Coach Warinner is a little bit better at playing low and being enthusiastic in practice. Coach Bollman is an excellent technician. He really knows the intricacies of the game."

In his own words, Warinner has a few things highlighted that he wants his teams to do. If they do, he'll likely be the toast of the town – a nice change from the last guy who held his position.

"Dominate the line of scrimmage," Warinner said. "Win up front. Control that. Be able to run the football successfully and protect the quarterback. Those are our two jobs: Be able to run the ball consistently and protect the quarterback. That's how I gauge it. If we can do one and not the other, we're not good enough. We have to do both really well."

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