Ginn Dealing with Father's Illness

Ohio State sophomore Ted Ginn Jr. found out earlier this week that his father -- Ted Ginn Sr. -- is hospitalized in Cleveland. Ginn is handling the situation in a mature manner and is trying to stay focused on his role with the football team. Ginn spoke to reporters Friday about his father, OSU football and more.

Ted Ginn Sr. was hospitalized earlier this week. His condition is unclear, leaving his son Ted Ginn Jr. wondering what will happen.

"Just hope for the best and pray everyday and just hope he gets well as soon as possible and just take his time to come back," Ginn Jr. said.

Ginn Jr. has spoken with his father recently.

"Yeah, I talked to him twice," he said. "Good conversations. Trying to recover. Just told him that I love him a whole bunch; I know that makes him feel great. Just hope that he comes back strong."

What did the elder Ginn say to his son?

"There was really nothing that he could basically say," Ginn Jr. said. "He was just coming out of recovery. Just for him to hear my voice is a whole lot. Just like if anybody else was in that predicament – just to hear your son or daughter's voice, that just makes him feel 100 percent better."

Ginn Sr. is being treated at University Hospital in Cleveland. Ginn Jr. admits that it is difficult not being with him, but knows that he needs to stay focused.

"Well yeah, it's tough, but that how it is when you're becoming a man," he said. "You can't always run home. So, you just have to stay strong, keep him in prayer and do what you do. He always taught me to keep my eye on my goal and stay strong and just hope for the best."

Ginn Jr. says he feeds off of adversity.

"Well, when things go wrong as far as deaths, sickness, anything like that, I feed off that," he said. "That just keeps me going. That's all you can do is take that little energy and push and stride for the best and hope that whoever is in the situation will come out with the best result that they should come out with."

Just how serious is Ginn Sr.'s condition?

"I don't really know right now," Ginn Jr. said. "My mom is handling everything and she's not really telling me everything and explaining me everything to me because she doesn't want me to be worried. She wants me to be concentrating on this and do my schoolwork and play football and Pops is going to be all right."

Ginn was asked to name the most important characteristic that his father has instilled in him.

"Well, with my father, he always teaches that you have to be a man," he said. "No matter what is going on, you have to step up to the plate and swing. And right now, that's what I'm doing. I'm stepping up. Just to hear his voice is great and every day his voice is coming back and he's sounding more like Pops. So, the only thing I can do is go out and keep it moving."

As the beloved head coach at Cleveland Glenville, Ginn Sr. has a lot of "sons" out there. Teddy is his only biological son, but his former players all look at him as a father figure, or close friend.

"Well, everybody knows how me and my father is," Ginn Jr. said. "Guys are around and they stand with me, they stick with me – as I'm sticking with them because they have their relationships with him. And it's hard to see the head of the operation go down, but you all prepare for situations like this, so we just all have to go out, be strong, keep it moving and play hard."

* Switching gears to Ohio State football, Ginn Jr. says the first week of pads has been productive.

"Well, the first week has been great," he said. "We've been putting in a lot and doing a lot. Offense has been playing good; defense has been playing great. It's just been one-on-one tough battles everyday making each other better.

"I've been spending my time on offense. Right now, the main goal is just to get the offense down pat and make sure that everything we need to have is in and just play hard."

How many reps is Ginn receiving at defensive back?

"Zero," he said.

But he still feels as though he can be a factor for OSU's defense this year. Head coach Jim Tressel has already stated that Ginn will likely see time on defense in red zone situations.

"Oh yeah, I still feel like I can do it," Ginn said. "It's still there, I just go out there and play ball."

Ginn was asked if he's being used differently on offense this season.

"Well, basically everything that we had in there last year is still in there," he said. "They're using me just like they used me last year. Just execute the plays and play hard."

Ginn feels like he is a much more polished receiver compared to this time last year.

"Just from the spring… the spring helped me out a lot," he said. "Just to work on technique and things like that; learn more coverages. Around this time last year, I would say that I was a high school receiver. Now I can say I'm becoming more of a college receiver."

Ginn on seeing his name constantly mentioned on the likes of ESPN and national publications: "Well yeah, it's great, just to know that your name is real good out there. But, you know, you can't really get hung up on those types of things. You just have to stay focused, play hard, play for your seniors. Because that's the most important thing right now is seniors because this is their last go-around."

The Buckeyes will have their twice-annual jersey scrimmage on Saturday in Ohio Stadium.

"Well, the scrimmage tomorrow is nothing but go out, execute your plays, play hard, play physical, use the competition and work on everything you need to work on," Ginn said.

Ginn did a little bit of everything towards the end of the 2004 season. He played receiver, returned punts and even played some running back and quarterback. But just what was Ginn's favorite thing that he did last year?

"Well, it's hard to say," he said. "Just to receive the ball as many times as I did, that was great. But, you know, that's just a hard question to answer."

Could Ginn see some snaps at QB again this year?

"I don't know," he said. "Once we get into the season, you might see a package like that, but you might not. We just go and just play hard."

Ginn does not think that he will touch the ball 15-20 times per game. He would like to, but just doesn't believe it's realistic.

"Well, no, because a lot of guys are going to key on me," he said. "I can see myself touching the ball a lot, but I can't put a count on it. I just touch the ball every time I touch it and just try and make something work. Or, I know I'm going to draw a lot of attention, so it's going to open it up for a lot of the other guys and just hope that they do right with it and catch the rock and get up-field and just play hard."

Ginn has been impressed with what he has seen from redshirt freshman quarterback Todd Boeckman.

"Todd is a great quarterback," he said. "He was young, but he started to figure out and get a feel for the game. He started to have confidence in the line and confidence in the receivers. There's not really a downfall with Todd in there. We're playing hard."

Junior QB Troy Smith is missing some practice time for disciplinary reasons, but Ginn says Smith is keeping his head up.

"Well, Troy is doing good," he said. "With the setback and everything, he's coming out pushing the team – even though he's on the sideline – he's still being a leader. He's still helping the quarterbacks out with whatever they needed to be helped. As well as the receivers too. As far as the O-line, pumping them up. You know, still being a leader; still being that big-time quarterback."

Ginn knows that punters will try to kick away from him this season.

"Coach (Tim) Beckman has come in with new ways to get the ball up the field and move the ball," Ginn said. "We're going to have to really rush hard this year because we need to put pressure so he can't aim and kick the ball away from us. Just have faith in the punt return team – and the kickoff return team – and just play hard."

Ginn was asked if he considers himself a leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy.

"No," he replied. "I just go out and play and let all that stuff just fill out and let it be up to whoever the judge is."

But does he ever allow himself to sit at home and daydream about it?

"Nah, because you can't get hung up on those things," he said. "You just have to learn your plays, go out, execute them, have faith in everybody and just play hard."

Ginn – who was also a track star in high school and will run for OSU's track team in the spring – was asked if he wanted to me more like Carl Lewis or Jerry Rice growing up.

"I would say… probably neither," he said. "When I was coming up, I wanted to be a Charles Woodson, Deion Sanders-type guy. Desmond Howard. All them type guys. I just felt their game and I liked it and everytime they came on the TV I just tried to watch them."

It was pointed out to Ginn that he has become that sort of guy. He was asked what it feels like to become what he wanted to be.

"It's good," he said. "That's all I can say."

But Charles Woodson and Desmond Howard? Forgive OSU fans if they don't like hearing names like that.

Ginn wasn't a Michigan fan growing up, was he?

"No," he said. "Actually my best friend was a Michigan fan, so I always cheered for the Bucks. You know how that goes, when your best friend picks one team, you always go with the other team. That little competition there – the winning, losing, whatever – it's made our friendship ever stronger."

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