Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Photo of Michael Brewster, right, and Terrelle Pryor by The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell
COLUMBUS — When Ohio State center Michael Brewster takes the field on Saturday against the Miami Hurricanes, he'll have plenty of family and friends in Orlando that will be cheering for him, and only him, to do well.

"Even my friends that are Miami fans are like 'I'm going to be rooting for you, but I still hope you lose,' " Brewster said.
Brewster, who grew up in the Orlando area, admitted when he was in the ninth grade, he dreamed of joining the Hurricanes. While attending Edgewater High School, Brewster was heavily influenced by a former defensive coach, who happened to be a Hurricane fan.

"I was dreaming that I wanted to play at Miami some day," Brewster said. "But all the coaches got fired and stuff got cleaned out, so I guess after that Ohio State took the lead on me."

Brewster said while being recruited by the Buckeyes, he took notice of the game in which Miami would visit the Horseshoe during his junior year.

"It's definitely a plus to have those big games on your schedule. You want to be on the biggest stage and everyone in the world is going to be watching this game," Brewster said.

Brewster said Head Coach Jim Tressel addressed the team after Sunday's practice and talked about the recent struggles the Buckeyes have experienced in it's past early-season showdowns.

"Coach told us on Sunday, he said 'You know, guys, we haven't really done well in these early big-stage games the past couple years, and it's going to be a great challenge,' " Brewster said. "He wants us to rise to that.

"This is really going to be the test," Brewster said about Saturday. "This is going to show what we're made of."

Tressel said the most improvement that he's seen from Brewster since last season is the center's expanding knowledge of the position.

"To play the center position, and the way (offensive coordinator and line coach) Jim Bollman does things, the center has so much responsibility," Tressel said. "Michael now has played a bunch of games and had to make decisions and he's really grown that way."

Brewster, a 6-foot-5, 293 pound junior, has accumulated 24 starts since taking over the starting center job early in his freshman season. He said the offensive lineman must be prepared for a fast and physical Miami defense that registered eight sacks in a shutout victory over Florida A&M last week.

"They're definitely a very good defensive line," Brewster said. "They're pretty big, fast, and they move well. But our offensive line is no pushover, either. We have a lot of experience ... we have some confidence ourselves and we know we just need to perform.

"We really need to give Terrelle (Pryor) time so the receivers can get open and he can find them."

Plenty of talk has been brought up over the past week of the 2002 BCS National Championship game that saw Ohio State defeat the Hurricanes in double overtime. Brewster realizes that the victory was one of the greater moments in the program's history, but that game is no longer relevant.

"Nobody on that (2002) team is here now and we're trying to do what they did that year," Brewster said.

Brewster said he's well-aware of the talk that's been going on from a few Hurricane players, but he would rather avoid the chit-chat and let the scoreboard do the talking.

"We've been reading the stuff in the media and some stuff in the locker room that's been said, but to be honest, it's not about what they're about to do, it's about what we're going to do," Brewster said. "We just need to worry about ourselves and control what we can control. That's all we can do.

"We don't want to do our talking to the media. It's not the way we do things ... I guess the big thing is we do our talking between the white lines. That's what we're going to do Saturday."