Ginn Cools His Jets During Spring Game

Ted Ginn Jr. saw limited action in Saturday's Scarlet and Gray Game. But the most important thing is that Ginn, who had eight touchdowns in a spectacular freshman year, will be raring to go as a wide receiver, return man and possibly even as an emergency corner for the Buckeyes in 2005. Click here for more.

Ted Ginn Jr. found himself in an unfamiliar position on a football field Saturday – on the bench.

Ginn, who made some All-American teams last fall as a freshman return specialist, was among a handful of Ohio State players who had their reps curtailed by head coach Jim Tressel for Saturday's spring-ending Scarlet and Gray Game at Ohio Stadium.

Tressel made that decision to protect several of the team's proven stars, and it was reinforced when the conditions for Saturday's game – frigid temperatures and steady rain – where less than favorable.

Ginn only got four touches – a carry on a reverse (13 yards), a catch (5 yards), a punt return (6 yards) and a kick return (19 yards). He also played as many as six plays on defense as a cornerback in the red zone.

"Defense is where I started (my career)," Ginn said afterwards. "Just so I can get over there every once in a while, that's cool."

The Buckeyes could turn to Ginn as an emergency corner this fall. In the meantime, he will continue to polish his skills as a wide receiver.

"I thought Teddy grew as a receiver," Tressel said of Ginn's progress this spring. "He got more reps and a chance to do some things as a pure receiver. He got to have the whole bowl practice and now the whole spring practice. He expressed himself at receiver."

Ginn was coming into his own as the 2004 season wound down. He ended up with:

* 25 catches for 359 yards (14.4 average) and two touchdowns;

* 13 rushes for 113 yards (8.7 average) and two touchdowns;

* 15 punt returns for 384 yards (nation's best 25.6 average) and four touchdowns; and

* Two kick returns for 40 yards (20.0 average).

Six of his eight touchdowns were for plays of 58 yards or longer.

But Ginn, a highly acclaimed prep standout at Cleveland Glenville, does not live in the past.

"That play is over and you have to go on to the next play," he said. "You have to go play by play and day by day."

With his dad, Ted Ginn Sr., as the coach at Glenville, Ginn grew up around the game. He credits his coaches at OSU for helping him take his game to a higher level.

"If you put yourself around good people, they teach you how to play football," Ginn said. "If you're around good coaches, they teach you how to make it in the football world. Being a coach's son was fine, but there were other people that helped me as well."

Ginn is a throwback in the sense that he understands he can make a larger impact on the game by working on punt and kick returns.

"I know in college football special teams is one of the things that can make your team better," he said. "If our special teams can do good and give us good field position or get us six or seven points on the board, it's great."

As a prep star, Ginn wore No. 2 in deference to multi-faceted standouts like Charles Woodson and Deion Sanders.

"Charles Woodson, Deion Sanders, I've heard those comparisons," he said. "I compare to a lot of guys. It's a great honor to be compared to those guys. I'm just going to keep working hard to be considered like that. It should be a great year this year."

Ginn has not worked with the OSU track team this spring. He came to OSU after winning state championships in three events last year at Glenville. He aspires one day to represent the U.S. in the Olympics in the high hurdles.

"I think every sport helps you out with the next sport," he said. "Playing football is toughness. Running track is nothing but heart. If you put all of that together, you become one man. Being a hurdler will make you better as a DB."

National pundits are already mentioning Ginn as a possible Heisman Trophy candidate for 2005. If Ohio State can be a true national championship contender, Ginn could be the focus of a concentrated Heisman push. How will he handle such a spotlight.

"Oh, I have my coaches, my father, (sports information director) Steve Snapp and his crew will help me out and I'll just go with it," he said.

While Ginn took a back seat for Saturday's game, he enjoyed seeing young receivers like Devon Lyons and Albert Dukes come to the forefront.

"Albert's a great player," Ginn said. "Last year, when he was redshirting, he made some great plays in practice. I know Albert could come in and make some plays. I knew if he put his mind into the game, he could take off."

Ginn hopes he can help Ohio State get back on top this fall.

"Everybody is working hard and believing in each other," he said. "If we keep doing that, everybody will be OK. Last year, you didn't really know what you had. This year, you know what you have. We need to go out and work on everything we need to work on.

"This spring, I think we accomplished every goal we had. Going into the summer, I think we're really going to be able to work hard. We can just go out and play ball."

Ginn knows he will be a marked man this fall. That is why he spent the winter working hard to bulk up for the season ahead.

"They're going to take shots at me," he said. "Every team is going to take shots at me. They're going to have a game plan for me. I'll have to play ball.

"I just like having the ball in my hands, period. It's just up to me."

EDITOR'S NOTE – For more on Ginn, check out the Spring edition of Bucknuts The Magazine on newsstands around the state of Ohio.

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