May 13, 2010

Expert Roundtable: Pryor's Development

Two summers ago we began a series of roundtables focused on answering important questions surrounding the Ohio State football program as the team prepared for the 2008 season.

Things went so well over that summer, we decided to continue our Expert Roundtable series as a regular piece to the site, with the hope of answering important questions as they arise during all stages of the calendar year.

Now as summer steadily approaches and spring football is in the rear view mirror, there is still quite a bit to be discussed. And, of course, the BuckeyeGrove.com staff all has their own individual ways of looking at things.

Of course, when it comes to Ohio State junior quarterback Terrelle Pryor, all issues regarding his progression are hot discussion topics and we talk about the signal caller in our latest Roundtable.

Roundtable Question 2: Where does Pryor's personal game need to grow the most for him to take that next step?

  • Kevin Noon, Managing Editor

    Terrelle Pryor needs to learn to trust himself more as a runner and a passer. I know that he picked Ohio State because it gave him a better chance to advance to the next level as a quarterback rather than just as an athlete. But he has hampered himself in the present looking toward the future. He has good instincts and just needs to learn how to trust them. We saw him run a lot more zone read during the Rose Bowl and while the game plan called for a much more wide open passing game you could see the light bulb burning brightly for Pryor.

    If we get back to the days of where he is trying to pass when there is no pass there and give up the run or the opposite of where he comes out of the huddle with his mind made up that he is going to run we are going to see the Pryor of old but I think now he is learning to trust himself more and in doing so the coaches are trusting him more and that has allowed Pryor to turn the corner. This year will go a long way however in defining Pryor's legacy at Ohio State.

  • Ari Wasserman, Staff Writer

    It is funny when you look at the Rose Bowl performance from Terrelle Pryor and realize the reason why the Buckeyes were even in that game was because Jim Tressel shut down the sophomore quarterback and won games by not taking chances and protecting the football. I am not sure what happened in bowl practice, or if it was just Pryor stepping up in a big game, but he was an entirely different quarterback in the Rose Bowl win over Oregon.

    Now I will be the first to point out some of Pryor's shortcomings, especially when it comes to his throwing motion and issues with timing of receivers, and that's exactly where I think he needs to undergo the most improvement. There is no denying that Pryor hasn't reached the pinnacle as a passer, but when he can start beating teams through the air when they stack the box is when he is going to be the most dangerous. For the most part last year, Pryor didn't show the ability to do that.

    Pryor did grow quite a bit when it came to protecting the football - he had to after the Purdue game - but the way he threw the ball around in the Rose Bowl, there was no answer for him. If he could just build on that improved presence in the pocket, hit receivers on timing routes (easier said than done), and then use his feet as a weapon to continue to keep defenses off balance, he will be a quarterback to remember in Buckeye history. However, if he continues to struggle as a passer ala last regular season, he will always be a great athlete playing quarterback.

  • Andy McLachlan, Staff Writer

    It is hard to believe that we are entering Pryor's junior season. It seems like yesterday when I was Pennsylvania covering Pryor's state title basketball game. The electrifying quarterback has already dealt with highs and lows during his two years in Columbus and now leads a team with national title ambitions in 2010.

    Despite his strong presence, I have never considered Pryor to be a "leader" of the team. Sure he is the voice of the huddle and makes key decisions on the field but he has also had the luxury of stellar defenses and talented running backs. We saw signs of Pryor's youth on the field last year (Purdue game) and off the field (Vick comments) during his sophomore year. These incidences indicate that there is still some maturing to do before the opening kickoff in a few months.

    We tend to make comments about how players become "Tresselized" in interviews. In the position that Pryor is in, it would benefit him if he began to follow Tressel's script. Now this will make things more frustrating for myself and the rest of the media but Pryor plays to win games, not to give us great headlines.

    Buckeyes fans are ready to see the next chapter in Pryor's career, hoping that this one will lead to a national title. While the talent is there, TP will need to become more of a leader through his play and the way he carries himself. Great leaders always put the team first. They always do what is best for the team and as a quarterback; Pryor is beginning to demonstrate that. There is just some more work to do.

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