Created on Friday, 13 September 2013 Written by RUSTY MILLER, AP Sports Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — What's brewing with the 2013 Ohio State Buckeyes ...
End Zone: OSU Buckeyes 9-12
Michael Bennett knows a thing or two about faking injuries, though not the sort that would help Ohio State pause a California offense stuck on fast forward.
"I've tried to fake not being injured," the Buckeyes defensive tackle said.
As for playing make-believe the other way around — a brand of gamesmanship regrettably gaining traction against hurry-up teams — Bennett is not sure how that would work. Would he nuance it? Would he, like Cal against Oregon in 2010 or Steven Seagal, dismiss the pretense of acting altogether and fall like a tree, only to rub some dirt on the alleged injury and sprint back out for the next play? Would he have to watch a soccer game?
"I feel like in soccer they actually have time to practice faking injuries," Bennett said.
Good on OSU if it resists the trend, which Bennett says he and his teammates will.
Such fakery is below any team worth its salt — or the salt pills they'll need to keep up with teams like Cal, which averages 97 plays per game and recently gave two thumbs down to the Northwestern Thespians.
Too many games have turned into B-movies. Saturday, the Buckeyes hope to prove they're one of the best teams in the country. For real.
BUCKEYES BUZZ: They play the same position and are good friends, but there are a lot of differences between Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton — starting with their personalities.
Miller is soft-spoken and humble. Guiton is a kidder, a joker, brash and loud.
"Every now and then, I'll be talking trash to the offensive linemen in practice and Kenny will stick up for them. He's pretty vocal about it. I didn't know he trash-talked in games, but in practice he's a funny guy," DT Michael Bennett said. "He'll like point at me and he'll say something — I don't remember what — and I'll say something back and he'll say something after the play. He's just a funny guy. Because he does his job, he can joke around and then completely lock in for the play and then be joking around again."
WR Corey Brown said Guiton is a world-class trash-talker.
"Kenny's crazy. When he comes into the huddle, he's loud, obnoxious. You can tell he's real confident with everything he does. He talks a lot of trash on the field. When Kenny's in the game it kind of hypes other people up," Brown said.
Asked what he says to the defense, Brown pleaded the Fifth because they are phrases not used in church.
"I can't say the words verbatim," he said with a laugh. "It's rated R."
Bennett doesn't take it personally when he takes a broadside from Guiton in practice.
"He's not trying to cut deep. He's not trying to make me question myself," he said. "We're just messing around in practice, just trying to make it a lighter, make practice more fun."
Bennett says he ends up laughing out loud during almost every exchange.
"Every time. I'm not getting mad about his trash talk. I laugh every time he says something," he said. "But it makes the play more fun because he's saying something and I'm like, 'All right, now I've got to sack him.' And just go a little harder."
LATEST WORD: On his weekly radio call-in show, Meyer said Miller had a great no-contact workout earlier on Thursday and is healing at a rapid pace. But he also reiterated that it was unlikely any decision will be made about Miller playing in the Cal game before game time.
LEAVIN' ON A JET PLANE: The Buckeyes fly out of Rickenbacker around noon on Friday for the game at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, Calif. They'll arrive at their downtown Oakland headquarters around 3 p.m. local time after a direct flight of more than 5 hours. Then they'll leave immediately after the game, with an expected time of arrival back in Columbus at 5 a.m. ET.
Meyer said he solicited advice from his peers who travel across time zones.
"When we found out we were playing Cal, which was obviously a long time ago, my direct preparation was to contact other people who have made that trip," Meyer said. "Every one of them said to go out on Friday."
The Buckeyes didn't have to travel far a year ago, playing all of their nonconference games at home and never going farther away from home than Madison, Wis., during Big Ten play.
"The only exposure I had is at Notre Dame we used to go out (to play Southern California) the day before," he said. "We just thought after consultation and conversation about it, we just said we'll go out on Friday."
It's a serious trip, with no sightseeing or educational tours involved.
"We'll just get out there and go about our normal routine and our normal business," WR Corey Brown said. "We'll play the game, and we'll be on that flight home before you know it."
BAND-AID: Ohio State's marching band hopes to be the Best Band On The West Coast this weekend.
It will be making its first regular-season road trip with the Buckeyes football team since the 2006 game at Texas when Ohio State plays California.
In a story on Cleveland.com, band director Jon Waters said the whole enterprise will cost around $450,000. The band convened at 4 a.m. Thursday morning, flew cross country to Los Angeles, did some sightseeing and then put on an evening performance at the Bel-Air Bay Club. On Friday, its 230 members will take six buses north to a rehearsal with the Cal band in the afternoon, then will play before an Ohio State alumni group in San Francisco at night.
And we're not even to gameday yet.
Thanks to a new way of funding such trips, the band will play at every Ohio State road game this season except Oct. 5 at Northwestern, because it's the Wildcats' homecoming and there was neither time nor room for the visiting band.
The band will fly home immediately after the Cal game on a red-eye, arriving early Sunday morning.
STRIPING THE STADIUM: Like Ohio State has done numerous times in the past to mixed reviews, Cal will try to organize fans in certain sections to wear the school's gold and blue colors on Saturday.
As the folks at Ohio State have known, it's difficult to get people to wear a scarlet when they want to wear gray — or even green. And if it rains, all those plans get washed away by anyone with a purple windbreaker or yellow poncho.
Bears' fans were directed to the school's website to learn what color they should wear for the "Stripe Out."
This much is clear: It's hard to beat a whole stadium wearing a bright color, such as Penn State on a "White Out" night or more than 100,000 wearing maize at The Big House, as was the case last Saturday night for Michigan's home game with Notre Dame.
TRIPPING: Teams react to hitting the road differently. Some rise to the challenge, others shrink into a shell.
With Ohio State making its first trip away from home, there are always concerns.
"We already know what we need to do. We know what type of trip it is. It's not a vacation for us. It's not fun and games for us. We're going out there with a purpose," S Christian Bryant said. "We're going out there to win another game. Hopefully we come out 3-0."
The Buckeyes have won nine of their last 15 road-openers. Coach Urban Meyer has won eight in a row and is 10-1 as a head coach, the only loss coming in his first year at Utah in 2003, 28-26 at Texas A&M.
There's always a fear of the unknown.
"Especially for the young players," Meyer said. "This isn't the flight to East Lansing or the bus ride somewhere. This is a big one. You're just worried about it. But we have mature guys."
There are other considerations when a team travels, such as how far it is traveling.
"It's going to be kind of interesting because I know a few guys who probably haven't been on a plane before, or flying out that far," LB Ryan Shazier said. "This is my first time going to California, so it's going to be a pretty long plane flight for me, too. We're going to see how some of the guys are going into another environment. It'll help us build for this season when we have to travel."