At national media day, we tossed Buckeye wideout Michael Jenkins a few questions and listened in as he fielded some from the national scribes.
BUCKNUTS: What were you thinking when it was 4th-and-1 against Purdue, right before your big play?
MICHAEL JENKINS: Everything happened really quick. It was kind of a no-huddle call. I didn't really realize it was 4th-and-1 until after the fact. I was just able to get open, Craig was able to throw a good ball and it was a touchdown. After that, it kind of didn't sink in until the next week what the magnitude of that catch was. It was a great play because it kept us undefeated.
Q: How many times do you think about that play?
A: I probably only think about it when I see it on TV now. That was a little while ago now. I mean, it was a great play. There are a lot of people that say it was the savior to our season, but it was just a throw and catch. Craig put it right there and it was a great play for us.
Q: What are your general thoughts about being in the Fiesta Bowl?
A: It's like nothing I've been through before. It's obviously going to be exciting. National championship game, last game of the year; that's what everybody wants to play for.
A: Nothing more. It wouldn't matter who we were playing. It is going to be a great game; they haven't lost a game in two years and we didn't lose a game this year, so it's going to be a battle out there.
Q: People are saying you can't hang with their speed and they have better athletes. What is your reaction to that?
A: We don't worry about what everybody else says. We'll do what we have to do: play 60 minutes of football, our defense is going to come to play, offense, special teams... we're going to go out there and play to win the game.
A: I'd say extraordinary just because it's the national championship game. If we was playing
Q: How many of their players did you play against in high school?
A: Just one. Andrew Williams, a defensive lineman.
Q: How much interest did you have in
A: Very little. They didn't really recruit me that hard. It was more
Q: There seemed to be a lot of distractions around this team this year with the magazine covers and things like that. Are there too many distractions in your opinion?
A: Nah, we're focused. We're a focused group around here. We're practicing hard everyday and getting ready for the national championship game, so we don't really let the outside things distract us."
Q: Talk about the chemistry between you and Craig (Krenzel) and what the two of you will do to get ready for
A: We'll do the same things we've been doing all year. Me and Craig had a lot of good things going this year. Our chemistry got going early in the season and it built from there and we were able to make some good connections out there. We're really starting to game-plan now and we'll do more with each day and we'll be ready during game time.
A: Well, they're pretty much the most basic defense we'll see all year. But they run really well do the ball; they're defensive front seven is extraordinary and it will be a great challenge for us.
Q: Do they have an advantage being here before? Some are predicting a Super Bowl-like atmosphere in terms of media coverage.
A: Yeah, that's to their advantage. They've been through it once and this is our first time, but I think our guys will handle all of it well. Being at
Q: What's it like to play in front of 100,000 every home game?
A: It's incredible to me. Playing in front of 105,000 fans every weekend is something special. And going out on that field and playing hard and giving it all you've got, I mean, that's why I came up here to play for.
Q: What's it like to be a player in a town like this that starves for college football?
A: It's great. A lot of exposure. Everybody knows your face, knows your hometown. Even when you're a freshman, or you're just getting recruited here, people know about you. They love Buckeye football up here.
Q: Did you know the tradition of Buckeye football growing up, or did the magnitude of it surprise you?
A: Yeah, I did. I lived in
Q: Can you talk about your growth and development as a receiver this year?
A: I think I've grown - each game, week-by-week. Especially from last year. I was put out there and was able have a little bit of impact and I think I was able to keep that going this year. I feel like I improved every week.
Q: How can your offense counteract
A: I think we've just got to run straight at 'em. Teams try to run a lot of sweeps, or run side-to-side, but those guys can run so you aren't going to get much out of that. You have to run straight at them - get the running game going - then play action and get those guys to bite and then you can get the passing game going. So, I think are coaches will do a great job of game planning and we'll show that in the national championship game.
Q: Do they (
A: They've got a lot of things down there, but we've got just as much up here. We've got speed as well. Power and strength up front on our defense and offensive line and we've got a lot of talented skill position guys at defensive back and wide receiver and running back (Jenkins seems to be getting tired of national writers making
Q: What's the team's reaction to receiving national criticism despite being 13-0?
A: We just let it blow over. We try not to listen to it. We've been winning games; we do what we got to do to win. It's not going to be flashy. We're not going to win by 30, 40 points, or throw it 50 times a game. But we get the job done with defense, special teams and offense.
Q: Is the team (
A: Yeah, I think everyone is real relaxed right now. We're getting after it in practice everyday. We're starting to game plan more and we're just, I mean, we're ready to go. Everybody's excited. It's the first time we've been to the national championship game since, when, 1968? So, it's a great feeling around here.
Q: Are you guys intimidated by
A: I wouldn't say intimidated. A lot of teams have played well with them. Especially teams I think
Q: So, they are beatable?
A: They can be beat. They make mistakes. They're human just like us and they can be beat.
Q: You put up some big numbers (57 catches, 1,031 yards, six TD's) despite playing in a run-oriented offense. Do you have a little bit of Keyshawn Johnson inside of you? Do you ever lobby for more opportunities in the passing game?
A: I never try and be greedy or ask for the ball more because I know when our running game gets going, it's pretty hard to stop. And I kind of like blocking down field for those guys and see them run for 30, or 40 yards. But when the ball is thrown our way, we have to make a play. We're not going to throw the ball a lot, but when we get the opportunities, we have to make plays and that's what we've been able to do.
Q: Has it hit you yet that you are going to be playing for the national championship?
A: With all you guys standing around me, it's starting to hit me now.
Q: Will you be back in a Buckeye uniform next season?
A: I'll make that decision after the Fiesta Bowl.