Michael Bennett handled hundreds of questions Monday and Tuesday at the Chicago Hilton with poise. They kept coming, too, one after the other, first at a podium and the next day at a round table.
Finally, a sports writer hit Bennett with a couple questions he hadn’t heard. The Ohio State senior defensive tackle from Centerville High School paused before answering, a luxury he won’t have when he’s chasing Big Ten quarterbacks around this fall but a good strategy during the whirlwind of interviews at Big Ten Media Days.
“Michael, is there anything we haven’t asked you in the last two days?” the writer asked. “Is there anything you want us to ask?”
“No, I think you guys have covered it,” Bennett said. “A couple times.”
“What’s the favorite question you’ve fielded?”
“I love answering the questions about the linebackers and the young D lineman. I get to watch them grow. When you see the young guys, you think, I don’t know how they’re going to pan out. Then they get better and more mature. That’s a really exciting feeling to see your teammates grow.”
Bennett earned All-Big Ten second-team honors while starting 13 games last season for a unit that ranked fifth in Big Ten games in scoring defense (22.8 points per game). He’s a preseason All-American this season and one of eight returning starters on defense.
It won’t go in his biography that he accompanied coach Urban Meyer, quarterback Braxton Miller and tight end Jeff Heuerman to Chicago, but he knows it’s a big honor.
“Especially since I’m the only defensive player here,” Bennett said. “It’s an honor to get to represent the Silver Bullets. Coach (Luke) Fickell texted me and talked about that before I left, that they wanted me to be the voice of the Silver Bullets. I’m trying to do that and let people know the Silver Bullets are one unit.”
Bennett answered plenty of questions himself and a few about his Twitter talents. His @Mike63Bennett profile has more than 7,500 followers and he keeps them entertained with thoughts about coffee, elevator doors, why he doesn’t want his mom following him on Twitter and other funny observations.
• “You guys don’t know how antisocial I look trying to think of something to tweet.”
• “You can interview me. Just don’t touch me. I don’t like being touched.”
• “Those motion activated sinks never freaking work for me. I have enormous hands and you can’t detect them? Unacceptable.”
Bennett provided even better insight on the Ohio State defense. He came to Chicago hoping to give media and fans an idea of the players who will surround him in the huddle.
“Everybody asks about the safeties and corners being weak last year and the linebackers,” Bennett said. “I can’t express enough that those guys have made such an improvement, and the D line has been coming up with them. It’s a whole different defense than last year.”