Ginn Remains Humble Despite All The Hype

Junior wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. spoke at Thursday's OSU media day about how he and teammate Troy Smith do not view themselves in a battle for the Heisman Trophy. Besides, Ginn said, neither will flourish if they don't work together this season. Click here for more from Ginn, who discussed his role in the OSU offense.

Back for his third season at Ohio State, wide receiver/kick returner Ted Ginn Jr. is enjoying the ride.

A year ago, media members were touting the 6-0, 180-pound Ginn as a Heisman Trophy hopeful. That candidacy went by the wayside after the Buckeyes dropped early season showdowns with Texas and Penn State.

Now, Ginn is sharing the spotlight with his quarterback and good friend, Troy Smith. They are each on everybody's short list for Heisman candidates as the top-ranked Buckeyes go through the first week of preseason camp.

But Ginn, speaking at Thursday's OSU media day at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, said he and Smith are not competing for top billing – either on the team or nationally.

"It's not about who is going to win or who's name is up higher or who's first on the list," Ginn said. "We just want to win a ballgame. We want to win the national championship. He's a senior. I just want to play for him. I can come back next year and win the Heisman. It would be good for him to win the Heisman this year."

Ginn talked about the mood in the OSU camp this week.

"After a couple days of camp, it's only been helmets so far," he said. "We'll see what happens when we put on the pads. The defense is going to fly around and we're going to execute our plays and just try to make each other better.

"It takes a lot of work to do, so we just have to have fun."

OSU's offense hummed last year as Smith distributed the ball almost evenly between Ginn (51 catches, 803 yards, four touchdowns) and leading receiver Santonio Holmes (53 catches, 977 yards, 11 TDs). Holmes opted to leave OSU a year early for the NFL, where he was a first-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Ginn was asked if Holmes' departure would affect his ability to get open and make plays this year.

"Santonio was a great receiver, but he's gone," Ginn said. "We have to move on and go with the next guys coming up. We have some good receivers coming up with Anthony Gonzalez and Roy (Hall). We have to be ready for those guys to step up and make plays.

"When they say Ohio State, they just can't say Ted Ginn. They have to say Gonzalez and Roy Hall. You just have to be ready for things like that."

Ginn believes his off-season work and his added five pounds of bulk will pay dividends.

"I've been practicing hard all year and trying to get things so I can be comfortable," he said. "I just want to go out and play ball."

Ginn said the Buckeyes are not feeling any pressure from being the No. 1 team in the preseason USA Today coaches poll.

"You just have to be calm," he said. "You have to be cool and collected like you're No. 99. You have to go in every day and play as hard as you can do everything as well as you can."

The OSU offense took a blow on Wednesday, when it was announced that tight end Marcel Frost was suspended for one year for a violation of team rules. Ginn said the Buckeyes have depth to withstand that loss, however.

"I don't think it's going to change at all," Ginn said. "We've got some young guys underneath him who will come in and take over and do the things he did. I'm not saying he isn't a great tight end, but there are guys coming in who can do what he was doing."

Ginn approved of OSU's new tight jersey style.

"Just to have something very tight like this is an advantage," he said. "If it's wet outside, they can't get to it. I think this will help us."

Many have surmised that the electrifying Ginn – who has a Big Ten-record five career punt return touchdowns and a kick return score to his credit – will bolt for the NFL after the 2006 season.

But, when asked if he expects to return in 2007, Ginn said, "Yeah."

He was also asked if he wants to run track for the Buckeyes, something he has not done in his first two years presumably at the behest of OSU coach Jim Tressel. His reply: "I want to."

Ginn talked about the way he has developed as a receiver.

"I'm comfortable all of the time," he said. "You have to come in with a level head. I just want to come in and make plays for my seniors.

"I think I've improved at route running and reading defenses and just being comfortable."

Ginn was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated prior to the Texas game last year. But that game marked a stretch where Ginn's role in the offense was less than perhaps he expected. He rallied late in the year with 17 catches combined in the wins over Michigan and Notre Dame.

"You have to be a team player," he said about his role. "If you're not a team player, you're a selfish player. I don't want to be selfish at all. You want to play the game and just have fun doing it."

Ginn and Smith go back to their days at Cleveland Glenville High School. Ginn talked about what he expects out of Smith.

"The first thing we expect out of him is to be a leader," Ginn said. "You need a leader to lead your team. After that, he's going to do what he has to do to help our team win. He has to get the ball to the right people and, really, just have fun. It's his last year here and he wants to have fun."

Likewise, Smith said Ginn has not let all of his acclaim go to his head.

"It didn't bother him at all because he's not that kind of player and he's not that kind of person," Smith said. "He's a team player through and through."

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