Michael Bennett compared video of his play last season with this season and realized something was wrong. The Ohio State senior defensive tackle was considered a possible first-round NFL pick at the start of this season, but his production didn't reflect that ability.
Michael Bennett compared video of his play last season with this season and realized something was wrong.
The Ohio State senior defensive tackle was considered a possible first-round NFL pick at the start of this season, but his production didn't reflect that ability.
"I was passive at the beginning part of this year," Bennett said. "I didn't want to look bad, didn't want to make a mistake, didn't want to get hurt. That's not how you play football at a high level."
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So he told himself that he would play differently against Michigan State.
"I said: 'You know what? In this game, I'm just going to go out and play as hard as I can, and whatever happens, happens,'" Bennett said.
What happened was probably Bennett's best game of the season. He had four solo tackles, including a sack. He would have had another sack, but the ball squirted free and Michigan State recovered for a gain on the play.
Ohio State's other starting defensive tackle, Adolphus Washington, said he wasn't surprised by Bennett's big game because it was foreshadowed in practice.
"I noticed that at practice on that Tuesday," Washington said. "Mike had one of the best Tuesday practices I've ever seen, and it showed up in the game."
Bennett has been credited with only 19 tackles, but statistics aren't always the best measure for a defensive tackle.
"He provides double-teams inside to make cleaner pictures in the run game for the linebackers," co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash said. "He does get after the quarterback and may not get the sacks, but he's in the face of the quarterback. He's a guy that the offensive line or offensive coordinator from an opponent always has to account for.
"Although he may not have the stats that Joey Bosa has, he has done an outstanding job being disruptive in both the run game and pass game so far this year."
Coach Urban Meyer cut short his appearance on his radio call-in show because he was feeling ill. … Meyer said that special-teamer Craig Fada has a sprained ankle but is expected to play on Saturday at Minnesota. He said that running back Bri'onte Dunn (leg) will be a game-time decision. … With Dontre Wilson (broken foot) out for several weeks, Meyer said that freshman running back Curtis Samuel will take over as the primary kickoff returner.
Minnesota coach Jerry Kill missed time last year because of seizures caused by epilepsy, and awareness of that condition will be highlighted at Saturday's game.
Coaches will wear Epilepsy Awareness pins, and Minnesota's helmets will have that displayed on their helmets. Fans will be given towels supporting Epilepsy awareness.