COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio State undergoing a potential play-calling shift under receivers coach Brian Hartline has been well documented this spring. There’s another Buckeyes coach getting an opportunity to stand out with Kevin Wilson’s departure to Tulsa.

“I have not made it,” first-year tight end coach Keenen Bailey said. “Have I had an exhale a-ha moment that we’re here? I hope not. I hope not. The second I do that I’m robbing these guys of maybe one percent of my best.”

Bailey is getting his first crack at leading a position group after being a part of the coaching staff for the last seven years. The promotion is a culmination of a decade in college football.

“I don’t want it to end,” Bailey said with a smile. “My worst time of day is when coach [Ryan] Day calls them up [to end practice]. I just have so much fun with my guys because of the guys.”

One of those guys includes returning starter Cade Stover, who was motivated to return after injuring his back and being taken to a hospital during the Buckeyes’ College Football Playoff semifinal loss to Georgia. Stover praised Bailey last season for helping him improve as route-runner and pass-catcher and is thrilled to have him leading the tight end group.

“I was super excited. He’s a very intelligent guy, and he’s a good culture guy for the room for us, so I think he’s a big help for us,” Stover said. “He’s a player’s coach. He’s going to ride for us regardless of what’s going on. He’s not afraid to coach us. He’s going to get what’s best out of us and he’s a guy you can trust and go to war with.”

Bailey has earned the respect of the tight end room through years of showing up and working late, beginning as an offensive intern coaching running backs, before moving to receivers in 2017 and quarterbacks in 2019, followed by three years as a quality control coach.

Named to 247Sports’ 30 Under 30 list, Bailey began at Missouri in 2014 as an undergraduate assistant, where he spent one year before joining his alma mater, Notre Dame, working as a recruiting analyst for the Irish. That led to his position at Ohio State, and it’s been an upward trajectory ever since, with the tight end room being his next responsibility, where he’s already taking a different approach.

“I tell my guys and my future Buckeyes I don’t have tight end drills,” Bailey said. “I’ve got receiver drills and I’m going to coach you like I would coach Jaxon [Smith-Njigba] and Chris [Olave] and Garrett [Wilson], and I don’t have o-line drills because when it’s time to block, I’m going to coach you like coach [Justin] Frye coaches Paris [Johnson Jr.] and Dawand [Jones], period. Because one play you’ve got to be him and another play you’ve got to be him.”

Bailey will be tasked with finding a replacement for Mitch Rossi, who played alongside Stover and also replaced him as the No. 1 tight end when he was hurt. The new position coach didn’t give any indication who will fill Rossi’s shoes but did say versatility will go a long way in making that decision — just like it made Bailey an undeniable coach worth promoting.