You already know Ohio State running back Chris "Beanie" Wells is the preseason favorite on the Heisman Watch. But just how well do you know the Buckeyes' bruiser? SI wanted to learn more about Wells so I recently spoke with him to get his thoughts on his injury history, whether he would ever date a girl from the University of Michigan and the possibility of entering the NFL draft after the season.
SI: Thanks for taking the time out to speak with us, Chris. First question: Should I refer to you as Chris Wells, Beanie Wells or Chris "Beanie" Wells?
Wells: (Laughs) It doesn't matter.
SI: But you have to prefer one, right?
Wells: Not really. Chris or Beanie is all the same thing. All of my friends call me Beanie. My grandmother calls me Christopher; Mom calls me Christopher.
SI: If all your friends call you Beanie, we'll refer to you as Beanie, then. How's the left foot?
Wells: It's doing pretty good.
SI: Is it a chronic injury?
Wells: It's something that I aggravated last year. Right now, it's feeling great.
SI: Tell me about the wrist surgery. You broke it last year and had surgery in the offseason to fix it. What exactly did they do?
Wells: I guess I developed a cyst that developed a hole in the bone. So they had to take some bone from my other side of my wrist and fill it in. I don't know how they took it out.
SI: What percent of games were you 100-percent healthy last year?
Wells: I don't think any, honestly. Playing football and playing running back, you're never going to be 100-percent. It's something you have to learn to deal with, to play with the nicks and the bruises that will come along with each game.
SI: What new wrinkles can we expect from the Buckeyes' offense this season?
Wells: A lot more running backs on the field. Brandon Saine and Daniel Herron are going to play a heck of a lot because those guys are tremendous athletes.
SI: The team has been fooling around with the pistol formation. What does it look like in practice?
Wells: It looks great. It's something we're adjusting to and something we'll get better at as the season progresses.
SI: How much do you think the team will use it this year?
Wells: I'm not really sure.
SI: How do you like it or not like it?
Wells: It really doesn't affect my game at all. I like it. Whatever the coaches throw in there, I'm willing and ready to work with.
SI: How often do you hear about losing the last two BCS Championship games?
Wells: That's something I hear all the time. It's something we have to deal with because it happened. But it's a thing of the past now. We're moving forward.
SI: Why should college football fans think things will be different with Ohio State this season?
Wells: There are a lot of hard-working guys on this team.
SI: You gave a speech prior to last year's Michigan game. Is that typical of your personality to do something like that?
Wells: Usually it's not. It was kind of out of my character to get up in front of the whole team and speak. I just felt that, at that moment, I needed to say something, and I did. I told the guys, "You don't want to regret anything. You don't want to be 10 years down the road and say, 'I wish I had done this in that game. I wish I went a little harder on this play. I wish I would've blocked that guy.' You don't want any what-ifs at the end of the game. You want to know you went out there and laid it all on the line."
SI: Now to the fun questions. In July you were named the Big Ten Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. Does it seem weird to you to receive an award for the season without having played a game?
Wells: (Laughs) It is kind of weird. What have I done? I haven't done anything this season.
SI: Do you get anything, a plaque or trophy, any kind of hardware for it?
SI: Would you rather run over someone or run by someone?
Wells: Run by them. It'll show them I'm fast. Since I'm a big guy [6-foot-1, 237 pounds], you wouldn't expect me to run by somebody.
SI: Would you rather win the Heisman or beat Michigan?
Wells: Beat Michigan.
SI: What's getting the most play on your iPod right now?
Wells: What's getting the most play on my iPod right now? I'm thinking. I'm thinking. I'm thinking. I really don't know. There's not really one song I listen to all the time.
SI: OK then, how many songs are on your iPod?
SI:John McCain or Barack Obama?
Wells: I don't know. I'm an undecided voter.
SI: The 2008 Ohio State football media guide says that you're "exploring" your major, which means you're still undecided, correct?
Wells: It says undecided, but actually I'm a communications major, broadcasting.
SI: Why broadcasting?
Wells: I like to be in front of the camera. I like to speak in front of people.
SI: What is the tattoo on your chest?
Wells: It's a cross with wings going through a football. At the top it says, THE LIFE I CHOSE? And on the bottom it says OR THE LIFE THAT CHOSE ME?
SI: What inspired you to get that?
Wells: It's the story of my life. Is this the life I chose or did it choose me? God, football and my family are my most important things. Is that how my hand was dealt?
SI: What is your guilty pleasure?
Wells: Eating Oreo cookies in the middle of the night.
SI: If you could schedule any nonconference team for this season, which would it be?
Wells: I'd like to play Florida again. When we played them [in the January 2007 BCS Championship game, a 41-14 Ohio State loss], I felt like we could've played a lot better. And I wasn't on the field as much as I would have liked to have been.
SI: Would you ever date a University of Michigan girl?
Wells: (Laughs, then pauses) I think I would.
SI: Back to some more serious stuff for the last few questions. How realistic is it that you'll rush for 2,000 yards this season?
Wells: I don't think it's realistic at all because we have a lot of great running backs on this team, and I'm sure they're going to get a chance to touch the football.
SI: I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't ask this: What are the chances that you'll enter the NBA draft next season?
Wells: (Laughs) Zero percent.
SI: How about the NFL Draft?
Wells: I don't think so at all.
SI: That's it, Beanie. Thank you for taking the time out to visit with us.
Wells: Thank you.
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