Championship teams not letting bright lights interfere with game

Championship teams not letting bright lights interfere with game

Ohio State defensive lineman Michael Bennett said the Media Day atmosphere isn't his cup of tea. (Source: Brian Tynes/RNN) Ohio State defensive lineman Michael Bennett said the Media Day atmosphere isn't his cup of tea. (Source: Brian Tynes/RNN)

DALLAS (RNN) – When Ohio State's players run onto the field Monday night, they will soak in the atmosphere of having made it to the championship game of the inaugural College Football Playoff.

It's a moment they will have to savor because they will only get one.

With so much hype given to the speed of Oregon's offense and the matchup problems that creates for defenses, any reveling in the excitement will have to be done before kickoff.

“You don't have time in the game to enjoy the experience. You have to focus on what's going on and not let your mind wander too much because they're going to catch you out of position,” Ohio State defensive lineman Michael Bennett said. “But this week leading up, you can enjoy the experience as much as you want because you're prepared and then after the game you can enjoy what you accomplished.”

Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer understands the importance of games like Monday's championship and has been telling his players to take some time to think about where they are and what they are doing.

“I think more than ever we are making sure that these are life-changing experiences for them and make sure they do enjoy it,” Meyer said. “(We) changed that at the Big Ten championship game when we first got there. I think they're having a lot of fun. I think they truly enjoy it.”

Multiple players said the attention being focused on them from reporters is uncomfortable. Oregon linebacker Tony Washington called it a “necessary evil.”

Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones said it took him the better part of an hour to block all the contacts on his phone, including his teammates. For the time being, only calls from the Buckeye coaching staff and his mother can get through.

Washington and Bennett were both singled out at Media Day with their own podium and were surrounded for the full hour.

“I, personally, don't (enjoy Media Day),” Bennett said. “But it is what it is, and I try to give as much credit to my teammates as I possibly can because we got here together and we did this together. I wouldn't be up here if it wasn't for them.”

The game holds a deeper importance for Oregon because the Ducks are chasing the first national championship in school history and trying to boost their reputation.

Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Doug Brenner, a native of Portland, OR, said the game holds special meaning for the state, perhaps more so than it does in Ohio, because it's a chance for the school and the state to get attention it otherwise wouldn't.

“Everyone is watching and paying attention,” Brenner said. “We were joking with the guy who welcomed us who said what an honor it is to participate in the first College Football Playoff championship game. It is – it's such an honor – but we're not here to participate, we're here to win.”

Copyright 2015 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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