WR/PR Ted Ginn

2004 Statistics

Coach: Jim Tressel
40-11, 4 years
2004 Record: 8-4
at North Carolina State WON 22-14
at Northwestern LOST 27-33
at Iowa LOST 7-33
at Michigan State WON 32-19
at Purdue LOST 17-24
vs. Oklahoma State WON 33-7

2004 Final Rankings
AP-20, Coaches-19, BCS-25

2005 Outlook

We know how important this year is to Jim Tressel and this program. Recent off-field occurrences have brought the integrity of this program into question, namely the boosters and how they "help" Buckeye football players. Suffice to say, there is enough of a "situation" such that AD Andy Geiger has stepped down. Many, including us, speculate that, depending on the schools own findings (or the NCAA's), Tressel could be next out, but not this football year. What a crime for those Buckeyes who saw Tressel ending his coaching career here. Bottom line - if Tressel doesn't have enough knowledge and/or control of/over his program to keep these types of things from happening, he needs to let someone who can "mind the store" properly take over. But for now, savior Tressel is still the head guy.

The developing depth at RB will tell whether Pittman is a workhorse, or whether he is what Tressel prefers - the head of a stealth running back committee. Either way, the Buckeyes look ok to fill the ground void left by three strong backs. Pittman has the promise to take OSU back to the glory days (2002 was the last time) when the Buckeye ground attack was the feared offensive dimension that set any passes up. Smith's unsure status means only time can tell how this ship sails, but the confident emergence of Zwick in the Oklahoma State game gives the Buckeyes confidence. OSU finished 2004 ranked 98th in the nation in total offense, but their numbers on that side of the ball will be rather inflated - just how inflated should be a good barometer for how far Ohio State goes.

With nine returning starters (seven seniors), look for Ohio State's defense to again be a solid foundation which bails out offensive mistakes. The offense isn't far from getting over that psychological hump that keeps it from controlling games. The Buckeyes have proven they can hold a lead if they get it, so it is up to the offense to put the dot on this season's "i". Consistency, not gaudy numbers, will make High Street the literal place it was just three seasons ago.

Projected 2005 record: 8-3
QB - 3.5 DL - 4
RB - 2.5 LB - 5
WR - 5 DB - 4.5
OL - 4 ..

Passing: Justin Zwick, 187-98-6, 1209 yds., 6TD

Rushing: Antonio Pittman, 72 att., 381 yds., 1 TD

Receiving: Santonio Holmes, 55 rec., 769 yds., 7 TD

Scoring: Ted Ginn, 8 TD, 48 pts.; Santonio Holmes, 8 TD 48 pts.

Punting: Justin Zwick, 2 punts, 28.0 avg.

Kicking: None

Tackles: A.J. Hawk, 141 tot., 62 solo

Sacks: Mike Kudla, 4 sacks

Interceptions: Ashton Youboty, 4 for 83 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Santonio Holmes, 8 ret, 23.2 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns:
Ted Ginn, 15 ret., 25.6 avg., 4 TD


DB Nate Salley
OFFENSE: Maurice Hall-TB, Lydell Ross-TB, Branden Joe-FB, Bam Childress-WR, Mike Kne-OG, Mike Nugent-K
DEFENSE: Simon Fraser-DE, Dustin Fox-CB, Kyle Turano-P

Regardless of the amount of talent here, many are concerned about the instability at this position. As the campaign ended in '04, Troy Smith seemed to be solidified as the Buckeye starter. But Smith had admittedly taken cash from boosters, so, after an internally-imposed suspension, the school is now petitioning the NCAA for his reinstatement. If Smith is back, his ability to find the open guy and/or run with it as needed make Ohio State a favorite to win the conference. Smith allows the offense to ball-fake to several players on each down, forcing already-spread out defenses to stay home and remain flatfooted as they try to decipher OSU's sophisticated schemes. His 'backup' is Justin Zwick, a developing pocket-passer who shook off early-season poor play to soar as Smith's replacement in their big Alamo Bowl win. The resurgent Zwick seems to have gone to that next level in his ability to read coverages and get his team downfield. When given the opportunity to play/start in '05, he will shine and could then, with momentum, supplant Smith. Todd Boeckman, along with newly-inked Rob Schoenhoft - both 6'5" in-state products - gives the Buckeyes genuine raw talent to lean upon here. This will be an iffy, but healthy dimension for Ohio State fans, regardless.

Running Back
With three of the top four backs existing, shifty sophomore Antonio Pittman emerges as the top man. Pittman will be a feature back, something different for a team that has done the running back-by-committee thing for a few years now. The Buckeyes will be better off banging the same back (ala Clarett) - in this case Pittman, a guy who can average over five yards per carry. Upperclassman Brandon Schnittker will easily be what Branden Joe was - a bull who clears huge gaping holes, but who also carries/catches it enough to keep opposing LBs honest. But, there is a real drop-off after Pittman. Tressel seems to have little depth at tailback. Rivals.com rated quickster frosh back Maurice Wells as the nation's fourth overall incoming back, and sophomore local Eric Haw would become a team leader quickly if given the opening to show his stuff, which will likely happen on third downs. This underdeveloped unit is a big question mark for overall impact in the Buckeyes' offensive approach, but the strong line will carry them early.

As underdeveloped as the RBs are, the WRs are that much further along. Junior Santonio Holmes (NC.net third-team all-American) is already the "go to" guy, getting more than twice the balls in '04 than OSU's No.2 receiver. That other guy is former-DB Ted Ginn, Jr., a sophomore who lines up anywhere from the classic "slot" to a "no man's land" 15 feet adjacent to the backfield. And Tressel will get even more creative from there, so expect to see foes heads spinning as they try to follow just where Ginn will sting them next. Junior Roy Hall has more size than any other WR, a plus for down-field blocking as well as endzone fades. When you factor in emerging deep threat (soph.) Anthony Gonzales (two TDs and 22.4 yds in the speedsters eight catches), you see possibly a balanced receiver corps. Look for the Buckeye's simpler aerial approach to really develop as these guys all hit the peaks of their college careers simultaneously this campaign. A 60-40 run-pass ratio in '04 should move closer to 50-50.

Tight End
Another strength. Senior Ryan Hamby has the size, hands and footwork to impact all offensive dimensions. Hamby will both take mismatched LBs downfield and then flatten them on short yardage plays. Just as capable Rory Nicol will not sneak up on nearly as many this campaign. The sophomore, who ran a 15.8 in the 110-hurdles as a prep junior, will definitely see more balls come his way. These two guys' thorough approaches mean defenses cannot tell what is up if/when both are in.

Offensive Line
Here, Ohio State looks great, too. What was the team's weakest offensive area just last year is now anchored by seniors (LT) Rob Sims and (C) Nick Mangold. Sophomore Kirk Barton and junior Tim Shafer will easily take good care of the other tackle position, as both have started there. T.J. Downing should be the guy rotated into the empty guard position, but spring ball will tell if newbie blue-chip tackle Alex Boone is good enough to shake things up in the front five. Boone is looking like he will be heir-apparent for that left tackle spot, so expect to see him in there, regardless. With seven players having starting experience, unknown depth issues should figure themselves out quickly.

Zwick and Smith both came onto the scene just last year, and with both seeing about the same amount of playing time, no seniority has been established. What does exist is a noticeable difference in the play-calling whether Smith or Zwick is lining up under center. Zwick makes OSU more conventional, though reverses, play-actions and spread offenses utilizing the variable roles of Ginn will keep defenses guessing. But surely, the run sets up the pass when Justin is their leader. Then, if you change up to the dual-threat of Troy Smith, there are some wild wrinkles fifth-year coordinator Jim Bollman throws into the mix. The sets with Smith at the helm will continue to be innovative - Ginn will still be all over the place and opposing secondaries will find themselves often mismatched if trying to spy Smith, which they had best do. With Pittman, a strong line and their lethal receivers, either formula will work, though Smith adds that improvisation so hard to account for - just ask Michigan. Depth issues at TB, though, make Pittman's health a huge issue for this scheme to be assured and viable. OSU should break out of last year's offensive predictability that led to a mere 37% third-down conversion rate - later into the season, State was easily stopped at the most critical third-down junctures, a major factor that led to three straight losses. With so much talent, this reflected on the line's play. Accordingly, a more mature, gelled line alone will (have to) be responsible for an increase in the run average (4.0) as well as a decrease in sacks.


WR Santonio Holmes


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Justin Zwick-Jr (6-4, 225) Troy Smith-Jr (6-1, 215)
Todd Boeckman-Fr (6-5, 235)
FB Brandon Schnittker-Sr (6-2, 250) Dionte Johnson-So (6-0, 250)
TB Antonio Pittman-So (5-11, 290) Erik Haw-Fr (6-1, 210)
WR Ted Ginn-So (6-0, 170) Anthony Gonzalez-So (6-0, 200)
WR Santonio Holmes-Jr (5-11, 185) Roy Hall-Jr (6-3, 228)
TE Ryan Hamby-Sr (6-5, 250) R.J. Coleman-Jr (6-5, 295)
Marcel Frost-So (6-5, 255)
OT Rob Sims-Sr (6-4, 310) Steve Rehring-So (6-8, 315)
OG T.J. Downing-Jr (6-5, 305) John Conroy-Sr (6-3, 295)
C Nick Mangold-Sr (6-4, 290) Steve Winner-Sr (6-6, 295)
OG Doug Datish-Jr (6-5, 295) Andree Tyree-Jr (6-3, 290)
OT Kirk Barton-So (6-6, 305) Tim Shafer-Jr (6-5, 290)
K Josh Huston-Sr (6-1, 195) Ryan Pretorius-Fr (5-10, 190)



Defensive Line
Five upper classmen return - all with starting experience - and there is enough depth to again make any OSU front-four a 60-minute bear. Inside, Green, Pitcock and Patterson will rotate for each other, but there are also many hungry, worthy underclassmen waiting for chances they will assuredly get. We know these three will definitely get into opponents' backfields early and often. The starting outside guys - senior Mike Kudla and junior Jay Richardson - will get an influx of Detroit burner Vernon Gholston (sophomore runs a 4.5-sec. 40) and 6'6" true frosh phenom Lawrence Wilson (38" vertical leap). With MLB Anthony Schlegel often lining up (he even started the opener) effectively at DE, this is a svelte, quick-footed, proven group that can protect all the way to the sidelines. The Buckeye's rank of 35th in run stopping will definitely improve.

All of the starters return, and each will be a senior, to boot. There will be a healthy competition for the inside spot in the Buckeye's 4-3 set. When Mike D'Andrea went down to a bad knee after three games in '04, his second straight year of suffering a season ending injury (shoulder in '03), Anthony Schlegel stepped in to then lead OSU in TFLs (10.5) and come in second in sacks. Both disrupt offenses in multiple ways, and both will want to start. And most bankable - 2005 NationalChamps.net first-team all-American A.J. Hawk (WLB) is a magnet to the ball, seemingly in on every tackle and affecting every play. Hawk and Bobby Carpenter will again drop into coverage to take away any YAC underneath. The unit works in orchestration well, each player complimenting the others' strengths so that any breakdowns become unnoticeable. Need proof? Hawk, Carpenter, and Schlegel - in that order - led the team in tackles.

Defensive Back
This unit will need to develop some help in coverage to remain the nation's 19th-rated pass efficiency defense. The focus has to be at corner. After the NFL-bound Gamble and Fox, junior Ashton Youboty is the next great corner to emerge in the Horseshoe. The big question pertains to the other side - senior E.J. Underwood, already a starter, must outplay his younger brother Brandon (sophomore) in spring ball to secure the other starting spot. Cleveland-native Jamario O'Neal is a true freshman who comes in as Rivals.com No.3-rated corner. All are well-sized and each will only add to the talent that drops into coverage. Safety looks better, with seniors Everett, Salley and junior Whitner representing a deep well of big roamers who can all match up as well as hit with power. This crew will again often bend (allowed 118 first downs through the air) without often breaking (allowed merely 5.6 yards per attempt while the longest pass play for an opponent all year was 46 yards.)

This is a strong group, with enough potential in the returning starter to make this a top 10-ranked overall unit. The run stopping is of concern, seeing how opponents gained 3.5 yards per try. Ohio State could have lost more games, and second half run-stopping issues were luckily stemmed elsewhere to preserve the wins they got. The entire returning LB corps should help, but keep an eye on opponents' ground stats to see how the Buckeyes are doing overall. The issues at corner are easily solved in spring, so we will let you know which Underwood gets the spot, or if someone plays past them to earn it. This group has to become more than a bend-but-don't-break kind of squad. OSU is really teetering on the verge of having a dominating defense, but until they establish that via experience, they cannot let their team speed lead to over-pursuit.


LB A.J. Hawk


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Jay Richardson-Jr (6-6, 270) David Patterson-Jr (6-3, 285)
Alex Barrow-Fr (6-4, 245)
DT Marcus Green-Sr (6-3, 290) Sian Cotton-So (6-4, 295)
DT Quinn Pitcock-Jr (6-3, 295) Joel Penton-Jr (6-5, 275)
DE Mike Kudla-Sr (6-3, 265) Vernon Gholstein-So (6-4, 250)
SLB Bobby Carpenter-Sr (6-3, 255) Marcus Freeman-So (6-2, 230)
MLB Anthony Schlegel-Sr (6-2, 245) Mike D'Andrea-Sr (6-3, 250)
WLB A.J. Hawk-Sr (6-1, 238) Curtis Terry-So (6-2, 220)
CB Ashton Youboty-Jr (6-1, 188) Shaun Lane-Fr (5-10, 180)
Brandon Underwood-Fr (6-2, 170)
CB Sirjo Welch-So (6-0, 185) Tyler Everett-Sr (5-11, 196)
SS Donte Whitner-Jr (5-11, 200) Nick Patterson-Fr (6-2, 210)
FS Nate Salley-Sr (6-3, 215) Brandon Mitchell-Jr (6-3, 205)
P A.J. Trapasso-Fr (6-1, 220) ..




Obviously, losing Mike Nuggent (Groza Award winner in '04) is a huge blow to a team that only scored 30 points or more three times. Fifth year senior John Huston is a big question mark, seeing how he hasn't received any eligibility answers from the NCAA. Huston is not consistent enough to get the spot. A 25-year old South African walk-on also has a chance, as does Raceland, KY-native Aaron Pettrey. This is another area to keep an eye on.

A.J. Trapasso looks like the punter. The sophomore will get a chance to show why his 40+ average from prep landed him in Columbus.

Return Game
Both coverage teams are strong, but the net punt numbers were commanding in '04 (ranked 9th in net punting). When you factor in the advantage Ginn (NC.net first team all-American PR) and Holmes give them on returns of both kinds, this OSU team is not to be ignored in any kick return situation.


A quick guess...Justin Zwick is the starter until Troy Smith is eligible again. Smith has the edge based on his performance during the close of 2004. Smith has been suspended for the first game (Miami, OH). Whether he can regain the controls upon his return is the question. What OSU will show in his absence is more like the one Zwick showed at the beginning of last season with a few upgrades added, much like the successful one displayed in the Alamo Bowl. The coaches' quotes seem to lead to the fact that Smith is likely to move back into the limelight sooner as opposed to later. The odd part of the equation is that Todd Boeckman has the ability to see the field also. QB Coach Joe Daniels praises his ability to see the field, a skill that isn't necessarily coached. He can also deliver the ball and maintains descent-scrambling ability. Smith is the most mobile of the bunch, but this offense is largely based on the receivers. All three QBs can run, so the starter will be based on drop-back ability.

Antonio Pittman and Eric Haw have been in a heated battle for the starting role. Both made progress this spring and currently Pittman has a leg up due to his experience. But the battle is close enough to where both should see carries. On the other hand, Haw was arrested for possession of marijuana this past May - he will be required to enter a drug education program and be tested frequently, making it almost certain that Pittman will hold the No. 1 spot in the opener. Pittman says the ten or so pounds he has picked up in the off-season are definitely a plus.

Brandon Schnittker carried the ball ten times in the spring game, way more than anyone expected. This could mean a number of things in terms of TB production, but make no mistake; Schnittker's primary role is still a blocker. A growing FB role would definitively open up even more avenues of possibilities, something foes hope doesn't happen with Ginn's (as well as Smith's) pension for wearing many offensive hats.

Santonio Holmes was limited all spring due to a hamstring injury. That didn't stop coach Tressel from utilizing different formations. With the quantity and quality of the many WRs on the roster, this fall should really offer some exotic and unique formations Buckeye fans have never seen in an effort to maximize the entire field. Such an effort can only help production and/or balance. Ted Ginn will continue to line up anywhere from split end to the slot to (being in) motion to the backfield or even to out on the wing. The continued rumor that Ginn will play both offense and defense is still just talk as Ginn has primarily been seen at receiver, despite the CB issues at hand.

Marcel Frost wasn't even on the depth chart at the beginning of spring. He is now becoming more familiar with a position he played in high school and has played well enough this spring that he may be pushing incumbent Ryan Hamby for the starting role. With guys like Hamby and R.J. Coleman injured this spring (both expected back in the fall), Marcel received a good many reps and made the most of his opportunity.

Rob Sims opened spring camp hoping to move from tackle to guard. The move depended largely on the development of Steve Rehring at tackle and his ability to handle the spot. After some experimentation, the move is still unsettled, as other players have now stepped up at guard. Doug Datish is playing there and handling it quite successfully, which means Sims could stay outside. It all adds up well for State, regardless.

Replacing Simon Frasier with Alex Barrow could be the surprise of spring. He may not be ready for the starting role, but his elevated play will guarantee he sees the field probably more as a pass rush specialist. That leaves Redgie Arden, Jay Richardson, Vernon Gholston and David Patterson. The job will likely be between Richardson (a better run-stuffer) and Patterson (a better pass rusher and more experienced). DL Coach Jim Heacock has been fairly vocal about the lack of progress this spring, in particular at getting a pass rush. If continued, don't be surprised if OSU ends up dropping one of their DEs on occasion, allowing LBs Freeman and Carpenter on the field at the same time.

Marcus Freeman turned in the best spring by many accounts. Both Anthony Schlegel and Mike D'Andrea were held out of contact this spring, which allowed Carpenter to slide into the middle while giving Freeman plenty of action on the strong side. Freeman responded by making an uncountable number of big plays. A.J. Hawk was earlier this year clocked at an incredible 4.45 forty time. Stating the obvious...expect more blitzing.

Sirjo Welch received some hard looks at corner. He has some improvement to work on by his own account, including a bad habit of looking for the ball before following the receiver. He still had a solid spring and is now in a position to garner starts. When it comes to replacing Dustin Fox on the right side, the top candidate, Tyler Everett (who is moving over from safety), didn't practice this spring. This leaves a battle to be determined in the fall between Welch, Everett and possibly Ted Ginn if needed. Look for Welch to earn the start with Everett rotating in and playing nickel as well. Safety Donte Whitner will get a chance to see if he can handle to CB spot as well. The academic woes of usual-starter E.J. Underwood have made the position an open question mark.

Josh Huston has been granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA and will likely be the 2005 starting kicker. The spring game showed some problems with the kicking game (despite a solid overall spring by Huston), much of which had to do with the long snaps on a muddy field. Keep an eye on this snapping aspect.

The spring game was so vanilla it was hard to determine anything in terms of what fall may offer. Opponent's scouts make this game a tenuous situation for showing their true worth, so it says little about the fall's possibilities. The defense has shown the main concerns in terms of questions at CB and a DL that has not asserted itself up to this point. Head Coach Jim Tressel has abandoned the old Woody Hayes style offense most Buckeye fans have become accustomed to for the last 50 years. The new look more resembles a sleek, exotic machine based on speed and precision, and such seems to effectively light up of the scoreboard. Accordingly, the offense cruised past the defense in the final weekend jersey scrimmage by a lopsided score of 95-39. Some of the best spring report cards went out to receiver Albert Dukes, DE Alex Barrow, LB Curtis Terry and kicker Josh Huston.