Nittany Notes: Slow Ginn

With Ohio State packing their bags to head to Happy Valley for a primetime battle, the Nittany Lions have taken a long, hard look at the Minnesota game with a focus on improving the shortcomings and mistakes they made against the Gophers. Monday's practice focused on strengthening perhaps the most significant weakness the Lions revealed against Minnesota.

Monday's practice was a short session featuring a walk-though and then focusing on return coverage with the staff's sights set squarely on stopping the Buckeyes' speedy returnman Ted Ginn.

As one practice observer explained, "The coverage scheme was a weakpoint of this squad last game. The defense can't be put in a hole due to some big returns — this OSU team is too good an will capitalize on big returns. We're seeing a lot of [practice] time dedicated to improving this."

In order to counter OSU's blazing return game, the staff worked two punt return teams yesterday; the standard squad and the "speed squad."

The speed squad sidelines larger guys like Patrick Hall and Tamba Hali and replaces them with faster players to address the dangerous returns Ted Ginn provides.

The "gunners" (coverage men on the wings) on the speed squad will see a rotation between several quick players, including Donnie Johnson, Calvin Lowry, Alan Zemaitis and Justin King. "These players have the flat out speed to help contain Ginn. It's tough to stop him, so containing him with a counter-punch of speed will be essential," according to another observer.

The role of Ted Ginn has been played primarily by Devin Fentress, which some reps going to Brent Wise. Fentress was a track standout in high school, boasted a 3.78 shuttle time and was said to perhaps be "the fastest player in the [2005] class," which boasted Derrick Williams and King. "Devin has been playing the role well. His speed provides a good test for the coverage team - he is a pretty good returnman."


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