Thursday, July 06, 2006

Ohio State Wide Receivers Preview

I'm going on vacation to Suttons Bay, Michigan on Saturday, so I decided to do this a bit early.



Key Losses:

Santonio Holmes (Drafted 25th overall - Pittsburgh Steelers)



Projected Starters:

1. Ted Ginn Jr Jr. (6-0/175)

After an exhilirating freshman campaign, Ted Ginn was considered by many to be a disappointment in his Sophomore season. He showed flashes late in the season of why he was considered to be one of the top two playmakers in the country last season, but also lacked consistency at times, often failing to run his routs perfectly and rarely showed the passion to block the opposition on running plays. However, things appear to have changed for the better this Spring. Wide Receivers coach Brian Hazell and fellow WR Anthony Gonzalez had the following to say about his Junior year transformation:

"He's like a totally different player," said Hazell. "He's always been fast, but now he runs good routes, reads defenses, does all the little things that make a good receiver. Those things, combined with his speed, could turn him into a great receiver next fall if he continues to work at it and improve," said Hazell.

"Teddy is playing extremely well. He really is. It's the best I've seen him play," added fellow wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez.

Due to the loss of Holmes, expect Ginn to get much more touches this season to do what he does best: Make plays. Ginn showed just what he is capable of in last year's Fiesta Bowl, when he scored the team's first two touchdowns, one on a deep streak pass where he left the defender in the dust, and another on a 67 yard reverse. Jim Tressel put it best after the game: "The last thing you want to see is have your defense running one way, and Teddy running the other." Look for Tressel to actually do that next season (instead of just saying he will do that). Ginn was still electric in the return game, returning plenty of kicks back for touchdowns, yet getting phantom flags on most of them. If he can sure up his route running, there's no reason for Ginn not to be an All-American caliber player this season.

2. Anthony Gonzalez
Jr. (6-0/190)

Gonzalez was probably the most underappreciated of all of Ohio State's offensive performers last season. When talking about the Buckeye's receivers situations, people usually ask if Ginn will be able to replace Holmes, but that is unfair comparison, because they have two different styles of play. The more appropriate comparison would be to Anthony Gonzalez, because looking at the players, they are incredibly similar. Not only do both have blazing speed, but they both have incredibly soft hands and run fantastic routes. Gonzalez has a hand for coming up with the big catch when the team needs him most, and making smart decisions. Case in point: the bowl game against Notre Dame. It was a 3rd and 11, with OSU trying to finish off the Irish, only needing a first down. If the team didn't get it, there would be a good chance at an Irish comeback. After Troy Smith showed off his footwork, he fired a pass to Gonzalez two yards short of the first down marker, and Gonzalez had the presence of mind to fight for the first down. This isn't even mentioning when he came up with the play of the year against Michigan, which I don't think I need to repeat, because all of us saw it. Gonzalez could make a strong argument for the #1 spot, but we're giving it to Ginn just based on reputation.

3. Roy Hall Sr. (6-3/240)
At 6-3/240, Hall is an extremely tough guard for any cornerback. Last season, he spent some time filling a Kellen Winslow-mold, working at both TE and in the slot. Match that with great hands, and you have a great possesion receiver. Due to his difficulty to matchup, and his great hands, expect Hall to be a big threat in 3rd down and goal line situations all throughout the season. The only question here is his consistency and potential. Word from Columbus is that Brian Robiskie is giving Hall a serious run for his money at the three spot, but I'm taking Hall's size over Robiskie's talent (yet inexperience) for now. I guess we'll see how things shake up come November.

Top backups:
Marcel Frost (Projected Starter - TE)
Rory Nicol (TE)
Brian Robiskie (WR)
Brian Hartline (WR)

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