Ohio State’s Pryor Under Fire

Terrelle PryorThe numbers weren’t very good. Pryor completed just 5 of 13 passes for 87 yards with a touchdown and a pick last Saturday. That still is good enough for a 104 QB rating (double what the Browns are getting these days) which may be more of an indictment of how unreliable that particular stat is. The offense failed to do anything well. Five times Ohio State went 3 and out. Add to that Pryor’s interception on third and ten, and another whopping six play drive that covered 11 yards and you get an abysmal seven drives covering 27 yards.

The running game was stuffed on Saturday, as Wisconsin employed a USC style strategy- load up the box and dare Pryor to beat you with his arm. Force him to make quick reads and put the ball downfield. It worked for the Trojans. Of course it might have worked for Wisconsin too, had OSU not returned two picks and a kick back for touchdowns.

We keep hearing about how well Pryor and the offense in general look in practice. If you remember, we heard all spring about Terrelle’s progress and in particular his arm strength. We have yet to really see it translate to the field. He certainly doesn’t float the ball quite like he did last year. I’ll give him credit for that. Most of his passes do have more on them. That doesn’t mean that they are particularly on target, or that he is throwing to the right read.

Pryor, picked by the media as the Big Ten preseason offensive player of the year, is not really living up to those types of expectations. Yes, he is a sophomore, but Saturday was the 16th start of his career. Tim Tebow did something that no other sophomore QB has ever done, so we won’t even make that comparison. So I ask how does Terrelle stack up against the other quarterbacks from the 2008 class? He was far and away the most sought after QB in the class. The other top recruits from that year-

Dayne Crist (Notre Dame) and Mike Glennon (North Carolina State) were the second and third rated QBs according to ESPN. Both are stuck behind established players and haven’t played enough meaningful snaps to get any kind of read on their performance.

Kyle Parker (Clemson) was redshirted his freshman year, but given the reigns this season. His numbers- 74 of 152 for 895 yards with 5 TDs and 5 interceptions. That is good for a QB rating of 102.42. The Tigers are 2-3 in his 5 starts however.

Blaine Gabbert (Missouri) took over for Chase Daniel and the Tigers haven’t really blinked. Gabbert’s numbers- 104 of 174, 1295 yards, 11 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Missouri is 4-1 and hoping to bounce back after a tough loss to Nebraska last week.

Andrew Luck (Stanford) another redshirt player won the starting job this season for the Cardinal and has guided them to conference wins over Washington, Washington State and UCLA. His numbers for the season- 76 of 133, 1,166 yards passing, 6 touchdowns and 2 picks. Luck is more mobile than the others on this list, but nowhere near what you would call a running QB. His rushing totals- 30 carries for 170 yards and a score.

Tyler Wilson (Arkansas) is now backing up Ryan Mallett. You might remember Mallett. He was the QB that transerred from Michigan after RichRod came in. Mallett is technically a sophomore after sitting out the required year for the transfer. Mallett played meaningful snaps in 6 games for the Wolverines as a freshman. This season for Arkansas he is lighting up opposing defenses. He was not a part of Pryor’s recruiting class however.

Those are the other QBs that were in ESPN’s top 100 players. Of those players, you would probably give the edge to Pryor, although a strong case could be made for Gabbert. The difference between Pryor and those other QBs (aside from games started) is of course his ability to make plays with his legs. Perhaps that has been the most disappointing thing about Pryor and the offense this season. It seems that we have a uniquely talented QB that we aren’t using to the best of his ability. We’d all love for Terrelle to be a dual threat kind of QB. But perhaps he isn’t quite ready for that. Maybe at this point in his career he should be. Regardless of that he is the best option we have on the team, and we will only go as far as Terrelle will take us.

One thing is certain, if the offense doesn’t find a way to move the ball against tough defenses then Ohio State will not be winning even a share of the Big Ten title.

  • WhereIsBernie

    That’s a good day by DA’s standards.

  • kmzipsgolf

    Keep in mind that the QB state in the college game is calculated differently than in the NFL game.

    Anyways, it isn’t always bad reads that gets Pryor. A lot of it is throwing the ball after the WR has made his break, opposed to before or during the WR’s break. If the ball is let go as the WR is making the break, the coverage can’t jump on it. But if the WR makes the break and then the ball is thrown. The coverage is already jumping the route based on the receiver’s move. If the play is set up for a 10 yard hook, he needs to let the ball go just as the receiver is making his cut, not after.

  • OSUnoOffense

    Isnt Jacory Harris a sophomore? He’s showing a whole lot more of what Pryor is supposed to be than Pryor is… Pryor is starting to remind me of Belisari. Nothing going on between the ears.

  • Matt#2

    He doesn’t appear to be check off receivers – like his head and legs don’t do that kind of motion. He probably never needed to before. Can you imagine how many big plays he probably made in high school just busting tackles and stiff-arming little guys?

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com/ Rick

    @ Matt#2- Don’t forget that in high school he had Jordan Hall as a tailback beside him. Pryor alone would be a handful at the HS level, but make defenses have to account for Hall as well? That just doesn’t seem fair.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    Jacory Harris is pure sex, so he’s got that goin for him. At this point I’d take the kid from Missou over Pryor, but I think long term Pryor’s got more potential than anyone out there.

    Steamin’ Willie Beamon v 2.0

  • MadCowz99

    I wouldn’t necessarily say that if the offense can’t move the ball against tough defenses they won’t win a share of the Big Ten title. You can’t out a team with this kind of defense. Their offense stunk for most of the USC game and they still almost won that game because of the defense. And there isn’t a single opponent left on the Buckeyes schedule who can play offense like USC. Iowa and Penn State play tough defense, but with an opportunistic defense like Ohio State’s, who even needs Pryor.

    That said, Pryor has been a disappointment. But so as the gameplanning around his abilities. If he can’t throw the deep ball effectively or consistently, then they should be running more quick routes like in the West Coast offense. And they absolutely need to work cutbacks more into their running game. Their two biggest offensive plays against Wisconsin last week were on cutbacks. Every defense in the country will over-pursue when Pryor runs the ball, why wouldn’t you take advantage of that?

    This offense will get better when Tressel realizes he’s not an offensive coach. Which will never happen. Which means Ohio State won’t run an solid offense ever. Unless Pryor or someone else becomes like Troy Smith and forces Tressel to open up the playbook a little.

  • S-Dub

    Pryor probably doesn’t run as much as Troy did because the coaches are worried about his fumbling. It’s at least a fumble per game. That isn’t good.

    A friend of mine, who is a Michigan fan, that knows A LOT about football gave me his assessment of Pryor. He thinks he’s a tremendous athlete but just isn’t smart enough to play QB. He’ll probably succeed in college but won’t ever play QB in the pros.

    I agree with that assessment. I just hope he’s good enough to be Vince Young for us.

    That QB from Mizzou’s stats are inflated due to that system. Just look at Chase Daniel and, Phil Savage’s boy, Martin Rucker.

  • mendy

    ok, no wfny since 1… i’m being WAY too productive at work fellas, what’s going on here?

  • TSR3000

    I am a diehard Michigan fan so naturally I hate Pryor and think he is a tool.

    That being said I think he is good enough for OSU to continue its dominance over the Big Ten for the next couple years. OSU’s defense and special teams has not regressed and while Pryor is not living up to the hype, he doesn’t have to win games for the Buckeyes.

    As a Big Ten fan this frustrates me b/c I am sick of OSU winning the conference and then getting murdered against tougher competition in the bowl game.

  • Nicko

    That happened twice. And the LSU game they should have never been in the Championship game anyways. They weren’t that good that year and needed about ten things to go right after losing to Illinois which all happened (even somehow moving a two loss LSU team up six spots the final week).

    On another note, Pryor isn’t good.

  • ben

    generally, I don’t start really judging college QB’s until they’re juniors. This is especially true when you have a QB like Pryor who really is learning a different game.

    In high school, the dude was unstoppable. Literally, you didn’t stop him. Things are different in college where the talent pool is better (obviously) and the coaching and game-planning are MUCH better.

    If it still looks like he’s not catching on next year, I’ll start being a little more harsh. I believe that if TP starts playing like we all believe he can next year, the Vest will open up the book accordingly.

  • Piqua Jack

    I am tired of hearing about Pryor, looking at Pryor, and watching an offense built around one media/coach hyped player. There’s a tailback on the team that if it weren’t for Beany being one year ahead of him and then the Prince and Bam being recruited in his second year, would have started all four years. And who knows what? Beany was worth it and just bad luck or poor choice of schools by Saine, but the Prince being spotlighted – along with “Bam” (check their stats) is a huge mistake and great injustice to Saine. Wait until the pros.

  • Ike

    The fact of the matter is that Pryor has simply not taken the next step that everyone expects him to. The frustrating part is that he shows glimpses of it and then takes a step back. In this year’s spring game, he looked leaps and bounds better than he did his freshman year; then he comes out in the regular season and disappoints. I hate to say this about a 19-year old kid but we lost to USC because of Terelle Pryor. Hands down; if Tressel starts 2-3 other Big 10 QBs against USC, OSU wins that game.

    And no big-time college QB should struggle against a team like Wisconsin. At least no future NFL QB. Sometimes, I tend to blame Tressel for the vanilla playbook, then Pryor throws to a wide open WR and the ball skips twice and stops at the WR’s feet. He’s still struggling with the most basic of throws.

    The part that pains me the most is that if Pryor wants to really be a great passer, he’ll have to stay at OSU for 4 years…there’s a better chance of the Browns beating the Steelers this Sunday.

  • SoCal Buckeye

    This kid looks worse this year than he did last year. My opinion is that he is over-thinking everything, he’s not allowing himself to relax and react as things happen on the field. Maybe Pryor should to try out for the Basketball team.

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