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September 12, 2012
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VIDEO: Dueling QBs
BERKELEY -- This week, California junior wide receiver Keenan Allen earned the College Football Performance Awards Punt Returner of the Week nod, and his 69-yard return to the house, a play which earned him a nomination for the GEICO Play Of the Year.
On Saturday, he'll get to put his talents on display in front of over 100,000 at the Horseshoe in Columbus, Ohio, and he's ready to put on a show.
"It's definitely going to see what our team is about and see what our character is," said Allen on Wednesday. "I'm excited to see what kind of team we have and how we're going to end the start of the season ... I do think people will be surprised, but we have to make them be surprised."
[RELATED: Q&A With BuckeyeGrove.com
The past two weeks, the Bears offense has gotten off to slow starts, and Allen hopes that this week of practice has helped them solve the root problems.
"It's been an emphasis since the Nevada game," Allen said. "How you do it, is you've just got to go out there and execute -- execute the play how it's supposed to be run, pick up on all our blocks, communicate and get it done.
"We have to score. We have to score early. I think it's going to be important for our offense to start clicking early, instead of late, like we've been doing. Defense is definitely going to have to get off the field on third down."
[IN-DEPTH: Breaking Down the Buckeyes Defense ]
Part of the slow starts has been the adjustment to the no-huddle offense Cal has started to run. Allen says the system is "fun," but is not without its drawbacks.
"Sometimes it can be hard if you don't catch the signal or if you get the wrong signal, but that's why you have players beside you, communicating. That's why it's important for us to communicate," Allen said. "It's hard to see from the other sideline, through the players, so we have to get a good spot, we have to get on the ball fast. It comes with a lot of things."
[PREVIEW: Cal Defense Prepares to Contain Miller ]
-- Cedric Dozier wore a white jersey, indicating offense, despite having decided to switch to the other side of the ball at the end of fall camp. That could very well indicate that he is playing the part of Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller. Dozier played quarterback quite a bit as a senior at Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes, completing 17 of 20 attempts for 238 yards, while rushing 34 times for 291 yards, so he has the athleticism and elusiveness to simulate Miller.
-- Penn State inside linebacker transfer Khairi Fortt was in shoulder pads and did not have his knee wrapped or iced, nor was he limping. He could very well be getting close to making his Cal debut.
-- Tight end Spencer Hagan was no longer wearing a brace or cast on his right hand, but sported just a tape job around his thumb.
-- Tight end Richard Rodgers showed no ill effects of whatever injury he sustained last Saturday. No wraps, braces or anything on his foot.