Senior Bam Childress has supplanted sophomore Roy Hall in the starting lineup. (In actuality, Childress will start at flanker and Santonio Holmes will slide over to Hall's split end spot.) And, it seems that freshman Ted Ginn Jr. – who got into the last game at N.C. State ahead of Hall – is also firmly in OSU's plans when it goes to three- and four-wide receiver sets.
We had a chance to visit with each of these talented receivers this week.
Childress Breaks Through
The 5-10, 185-pound Childress has actually started each game this season. But it was only this week when he was moved up to the top of the list in the school's pregame release. The notation has been a long time coming for this fifth-year senior.
"It's always good to start, but right now I don't want to be relaxed," Childress said. "I want to push even harder. I want to keep on being a leader. That's just the type of person I am, I'm never satisfied. I always want to do better. Even though I am starting, I always want to go out there and make plays and help my teammates."
Childress was OSU's leading receiver at N.C. State, grabbing five passes for 38 yards. For the year, he only trails Holmes (16 catches, 331 yards) with 10 catches for 125 yards.
Although OSU is favored to win Saturday's Big Ten opener at Northwestern (9 p.m., ESPN2), Childress said he is taking nothing for granted.
"Every Big Ten game, you have to come out from the first snap to the last snap," Childress said. "We went up there a couple years ago and a couple things didn't go our way. I think right now, we have to play from the first snap to the last snap and go balls out.
"Anybody can be beat on any Saturday. If you go in there thinking you can't be beat, that's probably the time when you're going to get beat. You just have to go out there and play hard on every single snap."
Childress was asked about OSU's struggling running game and criticism of tailback Lydell Ross.
"I think Lydell is going to have a breakout game running the ball," Childress said. "I know me and Tone are ready to go at any moment. We just want to focus on practice and getting everything we need to get done and then focus on Saturday."
When asked if Ross is to blame, Childress said, "Well, I'd say it's a little bit of both. I don't think he had a bad game. I think he was getting a lot of pressure. Come Saturday, he's going to do real good. I have no doubt about that. I know every time they call a running play on Saturday, I'll be blocking for them."
And Childress marvels when he looks over at the ultra talented Ginn.
"He's capable," Childress said. "I just have to stay on him. Me and Tone stay on him all the time on little stuff. We could let him ride, but we stay on him with the little stuff and just make sure he gets better and better."
Ginn Waiting To Break Through
Everybody knows Ginn was recruited out of Cleveland Glenville as a defensive back. He was a decorated prep All-American and national caliber track athlete at Glenville.
But with OSU stacked at cornerback, the coaching staff opted to move Ginn to wide receiver. The baptism has come slowly. In three games, he has caught three passes for 9 yards and returned one kick for 23 yards.
"At first, it's an honor to be out there as a freshman," Ginn said. "It showed that all the hard work paid off. To be out there for an away game (at N.C. State), it was a different kind of atmosphere and a different kind of crowd. That's a big difference than being at home, where everybody loves you.
"As far as playing in the game, it was a big game. I was just out there having fun. The balls didn't come right, but that's OK. It's going to get better. I think my feet are definitely wet over these three games. I've gotten a lot of plays and a lot of balls thrown my way."
The ability is certainly there. Ginn, in fact, made a pair of acrobatic grabs but was ruled out of bounds in the season opener against Cincinnati. He is waiting patiently for things to go his way.
"I feel that one of these games I'm going to have a breakout," he said. "Every day in practice, that's what I strive for. I want to get better at reading defenses. I ask the older guys and my coaches what I need to do.
"Every day, I come to practice and work on my route running and my blocking. Those are the biggest things about being a receiver."
The OSU offense, sluggish as it was against N.C. State, could be just around the corner. If the Buckeyes can incorporate some new play makers like Ginn, Hall, tight end Marcel Frost and running backs Branden Joe and Antonio Pittman, the offense could take off.
"Once we get into the Big Ten and get to rolling, we could be unstoppable," Ginn predicted. "We need everybody to get back healthy and stay healthy."
Ginn still harbors thoughts of playing offense, defense and special teams at OSU. But it looks like the next time he'll line up as a corner will be during spring football.
"Like a lot of the coaches here say, we're just going to try it again next year," Ginn said. "Right now, I'm on offense and I'm busy learning that. Next year, if there is an opportunity for me to get in on the defensive side, I'll go to the offensive side. I do whatever is best for the team."
Ginn has relied on his various former Glenville teammates, including starting safety Donte Whitner, to help him learn the ropes.
"Donte is like an older brother," Ginn said. "I'm actually older than him, but he's been here longer than me. I look up to him and I've asked him questions."
(Ginn is right, by the way: He was born on April 12, 1985, while Whitner was born on July 24, 1985.)
Ginn said his friend did not despair when Tyler Everett opened the year as a starter.
"He has just gotten back to his self and doing what he needs to do," Ginn said. "He's just getting better every game. If somebody takes your spot, you just have to come back and do what you have to do to get the job done."