At Fiesta Bowl Media Day this week, starting Cornerback Malcolm Jenkins discussed how he challenged Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor when he first got to campus this past summer. How he would say anything to get him upset but that he continued to challenge Jenkins corner position in 7x7 until he was successful.
By Steve Patterson
Q. How do you prepare for the game? What is the preparation?
Malcolm Jenkins: We are never going to get a look in practice as good as Colt's. I think the emphasis for me and the rest of the secondaries especially is make sure we are not looking at the wrong things as far as keeping our eyes on the back field and let guys get behind us.
And our technique -- because a quarterback, as accurate as Colt is, every step counts. Whatever it is that you do will be important in this game.
Q. Malcolm, a couple times you said "just like high school" after a game, have you heard Terrelle say that?
Malcolm Jenkins: I mean, you can't really argue with him. He was just in high school last year. If he comes in, he is doing amazing things as a freshman. It is kind of just like high school. I played in my freshman year too. The biggest thing for me as far as college and high school was just the mental aspect of it. Coaches are a lot smarter, players are a lot smarter. As far as your talent, he is obviously well-matched as far as college.
Q. Did it show you his confidence and make him cocky at the same time?
Malcolm Jenkins: I think we have groomed him where he can be confident in himself. When he first got here, especially with me, he earned everything he got. I made sure I got in his head, and once he started doing well in those situations, that's when he started gaining his confidence. Now he's where he is now. He has done very well. At the same time he is still trying to fine-tune his game and he has accomplished great things.
Q. Did you tell him "you are not in high school anymore"?
Malcolm Jenkins: Oh, yeah, all the time. The first time we did a 7x7 in the summer, I was calling him out every play. He didn't back down. He threw the ball at me six times in a row. He didn't complete any. He is just that type of guy. He will not back down from a challenge. At the same time, he is always trying to get better.
Q. What were you saying to him?
Malcolm Jenkins: Whatever I could say to get him mad.
Q. Do you get tired of the speed argument from the Big 12, the PAC-10, you guys have to prove yourself? Does it weigh heavy on you?
Malcolm Jenkins: I heard it last night. I think the misconception of the whole thing is they talk about speed with perimeter guys. When you talk about the interior guys that these other conferences have, smaller but faster guys, we have the bigger muscle guys. So I think in the interior, I think there is a little bit of difference in the speed. But if you are talking about just perimeter guys, I don't think there is any difference.
Q. Coach Tressel has been able to do something a couple of his predecessors couldn't do, which is everybody thinks of Woody Hayes and Ohio State should be great every year. He has been able to get you guys there and stay there. What do you see from the inside of the program that keeps you guys -- you are not just a one-done BCS. You guys are here pretty much every year?
Malcolm Jenkins: It is just the type of guys they recruit. The people he puts around the program. He is more of a guy where he thinks he can get good kids who work out and are a value to the system. You will continue to be good as far as his formula. I think he does a good job of getting us to believe in him and what he has for us as far as game plan. He works as far as us being responsible in the classroom and responsible to your community, and all that kind of stuff spills onto the field and how you play football. I think that's been one thing that him especially, he has done a great job of doing at Ohio State.
Q. Texas players were talking about the state pride of playing for Texas. They have a lot of DIA programs in the state. Is there a connection there in terms of state pride with your program too? You kind of grow up wanting to be Buckeyes?
Malcolm Jenkins: You can walk through Columbus, Ohio and you will see the state pride. It is ridiculous. I am from New Jersey. How people live and die for the way we play on the field, I think that's one thing that us and Texas have in common, is just how deeply rooted our fans are.
Q. Are those expectations a little out of whack with how hard it is to win a national title?
Malcolm Jenkins: I can see it because I am not from Ohio. I don't have a biased opinion. So I come into it, like, we lose three games a year, it is still a pretty good year. Not in Columbus, Ohio. We lose one game and they are disappointed.