Wide receiver Keenan Allen spoke to the media on Wednesday, just as the team finished its preparations for Ohio State, a game he has been looking forward to, "since the start of the season."
Even with the time-honored cliché that teams take it a game at a time, Allen admitted that he was a little more amped up than usual for this one.
"I try to go into every game with the same mindset no matter who we're playing. Every opponent is the same. They wake up just like I do – they just have a different jersey on. I'm going to be more excited to play in this game, obviously, but my technique and my preparation will be the same."
When asked what he had seen in the Ohio State defense as a result of those preparations, Allen said that the Buckeyes' biggest strength was their ability to swarm to the ball carrier."[The Buckeyes are] definitely playing high class football," he said, "Everybody's around the ball, everybody wants to make a stop."
In order to score a victory on Saturday, Allen said that the team would need to score early – reversing a trend of the first two games – and that the defense would have to get off the field on third downs. Scoring early and starting fast has been an emphasis all week in practice, he said.
"You have to come out there and execute. Execute the play how it's supposed to be run, pick up on those blocks, communicate, and get it done."
After their matchup against Ohio State, the Bears will face another away game against #2 USC, a back-to-back that might demoralize most teams. Allen, however, seemed to embrace the challenge, and spoke confidently.
"It's definitely going to see what our team is about, and see what our character is. I'm definitely excited to see what kind of team we have."
"I do think people will be surprised [about the team], but we'll just have to make them surprised."
Ohio State recruited Allen out of high school, but he never took a visit and crossed them off his list fairly early. "It was kind of cold," he said. When told that it would be nice on Saturday, Keenan chuckled and replied, "Yeah, it's probably going to be nice now, but as far as living there…"
After slipping twice in two games on the turf at Memorial Stadium, Allen said that he will be switching to cleats with longer spikes to try to deal with the issue.