Holmes Reacts To QB News

Junior wide receiver Santonio Holmes was somewhat overshadowed by Ted Ginn Jr. coming into the season. But Holmes is proving that he is still the most dangerous weapon on the Buckeyes' offense. We recently caught up with Holmes for his reaction on the quarterback situation, rebounding from the loss against Texas and more.

Santonio Holmes says he doesn't care who lines up as Ohio State's starting quarterback, but he is pleased the Buckeyes have decided to scrap the two-QB system that they unsuccessfully used against Texas.

Troy Smith will get the start against San Diego State on Saturday and all signs point to him holding the job for the rest of the season.

"I just think in the heat of the battle against Texas, rotating the quarterbacks was kind of frustrating for those guys to lead the team," Holmes said. "With the situation now being settled that Troy is our starting quarterback, I think our offense and our team will probably feel more comfortable with it."

Holmes was asked if he was relieved to hear the news that Smith was named the starter.

"A little," he said "Because I think it gives our offense a sense that, ‘OK, we've got one guy down, one guy starting and now we can just focus on what we can do with this one quarterback.' Instead of having a controversy and a lot of attention drawn to our team."

Smith has the reputation of a fiery leader, but Holmes says Zwick is a good field general as well.

"I don't think it's much different between Troy and Justin," Holmes said. "Both of those guys get out there and they want to lead the team. They get out there with a lot of emphasis on, ‘Hey, you've got to catch these passes. Hey, you got to make this many blocks.' Those guys want to lead this team as much as possible and we're going to follow behind them.

"I think Troy got on the offensive line a little (against Texas) and he got on some guys for dropping passes. But I know he was very excited to be there for his first game of the season. He was probably a little over-excited and things happen."

It's been a productive start to the season for the 5-11, 190-pound Holmes. The fourth-year junior leads the Buckeyes with nine receptions, 147 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

"I'm just trying to go out there and play my game and help this team win," he said. "I'm not really concerned with the stats and numbers. I just want to be a playmaker and do what I need to do for this team."

Holmes saw a lot of double-teams last season. But with the emergence of Ted Ginn Jr., Holmes is seeing more man this year.

"I think teams are cheating more in the red zone as far as double-coverage," he said. "But more in the middle of the field and coming out, they're in single coverage."

As good as the season began for Holmes, the opposite is true for Ginn. After one poor game, some fans already are griping that he should be moved to defense. But Holmes warns to be patient with Ginn.

"With all the attention that he's been getting from the media, I just tell him that he needs to stay focused because the opportunities are going to come no matter what," Holmes said. "There's going to be some days you have ups and some days you have downs and you just have to keep fighting."

A few of Texas' defensive backs mentioned that Ginn runs sloppy routes. Holmes was asked for his reaction when he hears comments like that.

"He (hasn't played) as much wide receiver as he should," Holmes said. "But at the same time, he's getting better every day. He talks to me a lot. He asks me about some things that he can correct in his game, as far as route running, and I help him out as much as possible."

The Buckeyes went a bit conservative against the Longhorns – which meant less touches for playmakers like Holmes and Ginn.

"I think any playmaker is going to be frustrated with not touching the ball at least 10, 15 times a game," Holmes said. "But it's a team sport and everyone has to touch the ball. I just think you have to make the best of it every time you touch the ball."

Holmes was asked why OSU's playmakers haven't been getting the ball as much as they might like.

"It's probably just finding ourselves," he said. "Knowing who is capable of making plays. Just having better play-calling and we have to execute the plays that are being called."

One of the clear problems for OSU's offense thus far this season is red zone efficiency. Saturday night's loss to Texas resembled the 13-9 loss to Michigan in 1996 when the Buckeyes could not punch the ball in the end zone at key moments in the game.

"It's frustrating for any team if you don't score in the red zone," Holmes said. "Knowing that we had about five or six opportunities to put the game away … we just didn't capitalize. I just think we're going to go in this week of practice and probably work on putting more emphasis into goal-line stuff."

Holmes thinks that the Buckeyes will be able to put the Texas loss behind them and rebound with a big season.

"I think everybody was still down, but as the week goes on, I think guys are going to gradually get more involved into knowing that it's a loss, we have to put it behind and we have to finish out the rest of the season," he said. "We still have to keep our hopes. We still have to believe in our team that we are capable of making it to the national championship game, no matter that we had that first loss early in the season.

"We just need to come out and make a statement next game. And at the same time, a lot of those teams that are ranked ahead of us, they play each other. I think that's going to play a big part on our end, that they can knock each other out and we can move up."

But San Diego State will be no pushover. Holmes was a redshirt freshman when the Aztecs gave the Buckeyes a 16-13 scare in Columbus in 2003. "I just think the guys can't overlook this team," Holmes said. "They came in two years ago and put up a fight. No matter that they got beat in the first two games of the season – maybe by blowouts or not – but they're going to come in ready to fight."


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