Ginn Honored To Be On SI Cover

OSU sophomore flanker Ted Ginn Jr. is pictured on this week's edition of Sports Illustrated. Ginn's appearance on the SI cover is believed to be the 58th time an OSU-related subject has been on the cover of the magazine since 1955. Click here for Ginn's thoughts on being on the cover as well as his feelings on the offense, the game with Texas and the quarterback battle.

Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith was handed a copy of the cover of this week's edition of Sports Illustrated. His reaction to seeing his longtime friend, former Cleveland Glenville teammate and current OSU teammate Ted Ginn Jr. on the cover of the Sept. 12 issue was priceless.

"That's cold," Smith said with a smile. "I like that. That's nice."

Ginn is pictured on the cover of this week's issue. Photographer Damian Strohmeyer captured Ginn carrying a Miami (Ohio) tackler with him. Essayist Austin Murphy, who spent last week in Columbus, presumably previews this weekend's key game with Texas by profiling OSU's sophomore star.

By's unofficial count, Ginn's appearance on this week's SI cover marks the 58th time an Ohio State-related subject has graced the cover of the nation's most renowned sports weekly.

Ginn joins a number of former OSU student-athletes and coaches who have appeared on the SI cover, including Jack Nicklaus (23 appearances), John Havlicek (six appearances), Jerry Lucas (four), Craig Krenzel (three), Bob Knight (three) and Art Schlichter (two).

Ginn's appearance on the cover of this week's issue is the first for an OSU athlete since Craig Krenzel was pictured throwing a pass following the 2003 season opening win over Washington. Krenzel was featured twice during the 2002 national championship season, while Maurice Clarett made the cover once that year.

Reporters showed Ginn a printout of the cover. He responded in his typical humble manner.

"It's great," he said. "Seeing myself as a young man on the SI cover, it's a great thing. It's a dream. Just to be on the cover, that's something I enjoy sometimes. But it could be gone next week, so I just need to stay calm and play ball."

Ginn will be front and center on Saturday night as the fourth-ranked Buckeyes host No. 2-ranked Texas (8 p.m., ABC national telecast).

"Texas is a great team," Ginn said. "They have great players on both sides of the ball. We just have to go out and play mistake-free. We just need to play ball. They're big and fast and talented. They have a great defensive line and big corners."

OSU did not play a home night game in Ginn's freshman season a year ago. So he is looking forward to this game against the Longhorns.

"It will be my first night game in the ‘Shoe," he said. "It will be fun. There will be 111,000 people. It will be loud and dark and just a fun game. This is a player's dream to go out in a game like this. It's at night at 8 o'clock and the only game on TV.

"I just want to go in and play hard, make my plays and come out with a win. You just run your routes and play fast."

Ginn saw some double coverage in Saturday's win over Miami. He still ended up with five catches for 75 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown pass from Todd Boeckman.

"If they're going to double team me, I expect for the rest of the receiver corps to go off and do what they have to do," Ginn said. "If they're going to lock me down, then other guys should step up to the plate and do what they do."

Ginn was asked if the players buy into any of the big-game hype.

"You have to ignore it," he said. "You have to go out and just make your plays. They're coming in with great athletes. (Texas') Vince Young is a great quarterback and everyone else is good. We have great people here. We just have to go out, put our minds together and play hard."

During preseason camp, Ginn dealt with the news that his father, Glenville coach Ted Ginn Sr., was hospitalized. But, according to reports, the elder Ginn was ruled free of cancer. He is still recovering from a surgical procedure.

"Well, I've talked to him," Ted Ginn Jr. said. "I call home every day. I call home, ask him how his practice was. He asks me how my practice was and we go on about our day. He's fine.

"It wasn't really a big distraction. My mom kept me in touch and my brothers back home and our team, uncles. They all said, ‘Keep your head up. Keep doing what you do.' My father always taught us that one day he might go down and you have to be a man and step up to the plate and swing.

"The young guys who were there when we were there, they've grown up in the program and now it's their time to shine and that's what they're doing."

This game is being billed as a showdown between two Heisman candidates – Ginn and Young.

"He going to go out and make plays; I'm going to go out and make plays," Ginn said. "We're just going to play hard and we just want to come out with a victory.

"It's great, but like I say, one day it's there, next day it's gone. While it's there, it's going to be a good opportunity and one day it will be gone."

Ginn was asked if the OSU offense has more things to show.

"We prepared to beat Miami with our base plays and not showcase everything that we have," he said. "And then next week we'll come out with more things. We're just going to go out and as the game goes on, we'll start making our plays and doing the things that we know how to do and hope we come out with a victory."

Naturally, Ginn is close to Smith. The two were high school teammates and were also a big part of OSU's late-season success, working together as quarterback and receiver down the stretch in 2004. But the talented receiver stopped short of taking sides in the quarterback battle between Smith and Justin Zwick.

"Well, right now, I have no say about who should start, or who should play," Ginn said. "The quarterback situation, we've got three great quarterbacks and they're all competitive and they all want to win. Whoever is going to come in, I just hope that they play mistake free and just play ball.

"Hey, if they do switch quarterbacks, I'll just have to come in and keep playing."

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