- BOWL HISTORY: Ohio State is 19-22-0 all-time in 42 bowl game appearances, after last season's 31-26 win over Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl was vacated. Ohio State has won two straight bowl games and six of its last nine bowls, before the vacated win is added to the picture. The Buckeyes (6-6) and Gators (6-6) will meet for the first time since the 2006 national championship game when Florida pounded Ohio State 41-14. PLAYERS TO WATCH: C Mike Brewster is a Florida native who has made 48 straight starts for the Buckeyes and is the leader on the line for Ohio State. The OSU running game starts with Brewster's work coordinating the blocking schemes. - The Sports Xchange
Full Michael Brewster News Wire
Instead of staying in his home state of Florida to play in the SEC as one of the top offensive line recruits in the country, Brewster took his game to Columbus. The Buckeyes' coaches moved him from guard to center, where he had no experience, as a true freshman and asked him to start in just the fourth game of his career when the line was shuffled around due to injury.
He started the final 10 games of that year, and every game since, in front of classmate quarterback Terrelle Pryor. A solid player in 2008 and 2009, Brewster took a step forward as a junior. He was a finalist for the Rimington Trophy as the nation's best center in 2010 and was named on multiple All-American teams, yet earned only second-team All-Big Ten honors from league coaches (but first-team by media members).
It is obvious Brewster has the size, strength, and athleticism to start for a long time in the pivot at the next level and he excelled against his peers at the 2012 Senior Bowl. His ability to form a wall in pass protection and move his quick feet to create lanes inside for his running backs give him a chance to be one of the top interior lineman selected in the 2012 draft.
Pass blocking: Possesses quickness and strength to protect the passer at the next level. Takes two or three steps back immediately after snap if uncovered. Good anchor despite relatively svelte build. Twisting ends run into a wall when greeting him, also has a strong punch to shock oncoming defenders. Will take defenders to the ground if off-balance. Usually extends his arms quickly after the snap to maintain distance but allows defenders to get into his chest at times. Feet stay planted after initial contact, giving up penetration against better tackles on occasion.
Run blocking: Positional blocker with good feet to wall off outside shoulder of defensive tackle. Can move to either side of the defender while engaged. Gets low in short-yardage situations despite his height, gets good push. Still learning to get off initial down-block to reach linebackers on combo blocks.
Pulling/trapping: Best in tight quarters, but shows some mobility behind the line when pulling. Most adept at attacking players straight-up, lacks great flexibility and elite quickness enough to adjust to inside targets and negate them.
Initial Quickness: Rarely beaten off the snap in pass protection. Gets hands onto his man's jersey quickly after both traditional and shotgun snaps. Quicker one-on-one defenders can occasionally get a second step forward to bring interior pressure.
Downfield: Athletic enough to take out mike linebacker off the snap if asked to do so. Possesses the tenacity and strength to eliminate any type of defender in way of his ballcarrier. Hesitates instead of attacking targets on combo blocks, though, and lacks elite quickness to adjust to targets in space.
Intangibles: Graduated from high school early to enroll at Ohio State but did not partake in spring practices due to surgery on right shoulder. Decided to return to school despite the cloud hanging over the program to become a better center and a team leader. Played through ankle injury in 2009.