Could Ginn Have Bigger Role Vs. Penn State?

OSU sophomore wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. is hoping to see more action as the Buckeyes visit Penn State this Saturday (7:45 p.m., ESPN). Ginn has 13 catches and five carries on offense for the Buckeyes through four games. He talks about his role in the offense, his ability on punt returns, running track again this spring and what he's seen of Penn State's Derrick Williams. Click here for more.

This was supposed to be Ted Ginn Jr.'s year to move from novelty to prime time performer for Ohio State.

But because of a variety of reasons, Ginn has not been able to recapture the glory he tasted repeatedly over the last half of the 2004 season. Opposing defenses have stacked against the sophomore Ginn, leaving him with just 13 catches, five carries and one touchdown on offense through four games.

On Tuesday, a reporter asked Ginn simply, "Are you due?"

"Am I due?" Ginn said almost in disbelief. "Everybody's due to have a big game – from the O-line to the quarterbacks to me. We just have to go out and play the game plan and do everything right.

"You can't get frustrated. You just have to go out and play hard and do the game plan. You have to do things right. You make the guys around you play hard and play good and just go with the flow."

Ginn became the toast of college football last year as he displayed big play ability on offense and in the return game. Six of his eight touchdowns went for 58 yards or longer.

He was seen far and wide as a Heisman Trophy candidate. It was figured that he would turn in at least one incredible game changing play each week. But it has not gone according to plan as Ginn saw his touches limited in the pivotal home loss to No. 2 Texas and, other than a 42-yard touchdown grab from backup quarterback Todd Boeckman late in the season opening win over Miami (Ohio), his influence on the offense has been hard to see.

But Ginn isn't giving up. He figures that by working hard the small gains he has been making will turn into big plays soon enough.

"Everybody plays for the big play," said Ginn, who has 13 catches for 152 yards (11.7 yards) and a net of 2 yards on his five carries. "But you also have to play for the little play. You have to do all the little things. You have to block right. You've got to run routes right. You've got to do everything right. Then, you make your big plays. That's what I'm just trying to do."

A reporter suggested that this Saturday's game with Penn State could be Ginn's 2005 breakout game.

"I hope so," Ginn said. "I hope you'll be right. Just going to go out, play the game plan, looking to get the victory. Just play hard and play hard for my seniors. I'm cool with that."

Ginn was asked if he has lobbied quarterback Troy Smith or the coaches for more touches.

"I can't really say too much to Troy because he is only running the game plan," he said. "I don't say too much to anybody. I just go out, do the game plan and play hard.

"We go to our coaches every time we come off the field, whether if we score a touchdown or if we get stopped and have to punt. We say, `Coach, I see this' or ‘I see that.' "

Other than the bomb against Miami, OSU has not looked Ginn's way on the deep ball very often.

"I guess we feel right now that throwing the quick balls and getting 5, 6, 7 yards a play is a good gain," Ginn said. "I'm just going to go with the game plan and keep doing it."

One reporter even asked if Ginn could get more action if he repped at least occasionally at running back.

Ginn again rolled his eyes and said, "You know, I'm a receiver."

A Happy (Valley) Return?

Four of Ginn's touchdowns a year ago came on punt returns – including a 67-yarder against Penn State.

So far this year, he's had eight returns for a total of 71 yards (8.9 average) with a long return of 26 yards. He had an apparent 54-yard return for a touchdown negated by a block in the back penalty.

Ginn talked about his belief during the Iowa game that the big one was coming.

"I told the guys that if they could give me just a little bit more time, I thought we could bust one," Ginn said.

Ironically, it was Ginn's adopted brother and former Cleveland Glenville teammate Jamario O'Neal who was flagged for the penalty.

"I never get mad at a player because everybody makes mistakes," Ginn said. "I just said, `Hey, let's go out and do it better the next time. Keep your head up.'

"You can't get mad at your little brother. You just have to go out and keep playing."

Ginn has already seen tape of PSU's punt coverage team. The Lions have only had four punts returned for a total of 18 yards this season.

"They've got good snipers coming down," Ginn said. "I know they'll have some fast guys coming down who will get in my face. I just have to be prepared for all of that.

"A lot of guys will come up and try to get that big hit. That's where the key blocks come in and a little move will come in. That's how you get from a 5-yard loss to a 2-yard gain."

Scouting Penn State

Ginn believes the open week will help Ohio State as it approaches its seven-game stretch run, beginning with the game Saturday at Penn State.

"The bye week was excellent," he said. "We went out and trained hard and went back to the basics. We did everything right. I think we practiced real hard last week. Basically, it was the same game plan and just went with it."

Ginn talked about getting the chance to play in a featured night game on ESPN from what should be a raucous Beaver Stadium.

"Going to Penn State, it's going to be my first time going there, too," Ginn said. "Go, enjoy it, have fun, play hard and just do everything right. That's all we can do."

Ginn has heard about the exploits of PSU freshman wide receiver Derrick Williams.

"I know they did things with him to get him open to play hard and do everything right," Ginn said. "He came in and made a big impact on their team. I can't really compare myself to him because we're two different people. We're both fast and we're both quick and we're both good. I hope we have a good game plan to stop him and I know they'll have a good game plan to try and stop me.

"I ran against him in track (in high school). He's pretty fast. He's going to give it his all."

When asked how he would advise Williams on reaching fame so quickly in college football, Ginn said, "I would just say to him to keep his head up and play hard and do things right all the time. If you make a big play, don't get caught up in it. You need to make more plays and just go out and have fun."

Getting On Track

Ginn was a multiple state champion in hurdles, sprints and relay events at Glenville. But he did not run track as a freshman. However, it has been announced that he will run track for the Buckeyes this spring.

"I'm very excited to get back at it," Ginn said. "I know it's going to help me out; it's going to improve me a lot. It's just going to make my legs stronger and I'll be faster next year. Track, as far as hurdles and stuff like that, help your hips. And when you come out here you need a lot of hip play and a lot of burst that you get out of track. They both help each other."

Ginn said former Olympic medalist Butch Reynolds, who is in his first year as OSU's speed coach, has made a difference.

"Butch has been a big help," Ginn said. "As far as track goes, he knows the right things to do and the ins and outs. He has that leadership as a man to come in and push on a football level. That's good for me and everybody. We're accomplishing everything we can to get faster."

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