Holmes Ready To Get Down To Business

Junior flanker Santonio Holmes enjoys his role as a leader at the wide receiver position. Holmes talks about coming back and what he hopes to accomplish this spring and in 2005.

OSU flanker Santonio Holmes is back with the Buckeyes as a fourth-year junior. Holmes, coming off a 50-catch season, thought briefly about turning pro late last season.

It was reported in The Columbus Dispatch recently that Holmes has fathered two young children, who live in his home state of Florida. It is only springtime, but Holmes is already dealing with the inevitable questions about his future.

"I look at it as how am I going to take care of my family in the next two or three years," Holmes said. "If the opportunity presents itself, I will make the decision as to whether I should leave or stay. Right now, my family is being taken care of."

That bodes well for Ohio State, which could have quite an aerial attack on its hands as Holmes and sophomores Ted Ginn Jr. and Anthony Gonzalez all return.

"When I first came in, I didn't think our receivers contributed as much as we are now," Holmes said. "The way the offense has changed, it is a great accomplishment for us to know we are doing great things for this team. For our offense to change, it feels good that our coaches know they can depend on us and that we're capable of making plays."

Holmes and Ginn teamed to form a dangerous punt return tandem as Ginn had four punt returns for scores and Holmes had one. That twosome has been penciled in as well on kick returns with Ashton Youboty backing them up.

"It's going to be real exciting," he said. "A lot of people will want to know what these guys can do after playing a full season together. How will they come out next year? Will it be one guy or both guys? With the threat that both of us are capable of putting on teams, a lot of people are going to be fearful of us. We're just going to go out and have fun.

"It's a new season. No one knows what the coaches have in store for us and how the offense will change or what game plan they're going into. We just hope to have the opportunity to make plays."

With quarterback Troy Smith ruled out of the 2005 season opener with Miami (Ohio), Justin Zwick is getting most of the work with the first team during spring ball. While Holmes is tight with Smith off the field, he said he doesn't concern himself with differences between the two passers.

"I've played with both of them," Holmes said. "I came in with both of them. I know what to expect from both of them. All we need is for them to win games for us."

As a veteran player, Holmes talked about what the Buckeyes are concentrating on this spring.

"You go in trying to correct mistakes you've made in the past," he said. "You want to also help the younger guys to get an opportunity to play. It's about learning and doing things I haven't been able to accomplish. It's about teaching. I preached a lot about helping the younger guys and I think I did a pretty good job. I think this year it will be the same."

During the broadcast of the OSU-Michigan game last year, ABC's Jack Arute reported that Holmes spent the winter of 2004 doing his own 6 a.m. workouts. He said he continued that trend this winter, working out a number of days before the team had its own 10-day early morning regimen.

"It was more of a mental thing, waking up early in the morning and just getting everything out of the way," Holmes said. "That gives me free time later on to focus on watching film or just spending time talking to the coaches. Those were the main reasons I came in early in the morning. I feel like the early bird gets the worm.

"I started coming in early before we started the 6 a.m. workouts. I thought it paid off for me last year. I felt like I had done something one time and it worked so why stop?"

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