Tuesday, October 20, 2009

PRYOR NEEDS WORK, NOT A BENCH

Terrelle Pryor photo by Darla Dunkle-Hudnell

COLUMBUS — Is Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor struggling this season?

Absolutely.

Has Pryor progressed this season the way everybody in Columbus would've liked him to?

Absolutely not.

Should Pryor be benched in favor of backup quarterback, Joe Bauserman?

Ok, there's a better, more telling adjective that I would like to express in my answer, but instead, I'll just say — shoot no!

Sure, Pryor has made more turnovers this season than Pepperidge Farm, and his decision-making out on the field has been extremely erratic. But, to pull the plug on a sophomore who is going through some serious growing pains just doesn't seem to be in the best interest of the player or the program.

Such a decision seems like something a myopic fan would make, and as we all know, if a coach begins to listen to the fans in the stands — then it won't be very long until he's sitting there with them.

Buckeyes head coach, Jim Tressel, agrees that sitting Pryor just doesn't make sense at this point in time.

"I've only done that once with a young guy because I didn't think he really believed how important it was and all he could remember was the couple passes he completed," Tressel said Tuesday about benching a young quarterback. "(The young player) had amnesia about his turnovers. So only once have I really felt that that's what was needed, and it worked because he didn't throw another pick the rest of the year and it was a good deal.

"But that's what I thought was needed. I don't think that's what Terrelle needs. No one has a disdain for turnovers any more than Terrelle."

Yes, I know, most fans only care about one thing and that's winning, and if their beloved team isn't doing so ... then heads must roll.

Now, I have always been taught never to try reasoning with idiots, in fact, I think it's mentioned in the bible somewhere — maybe not verbatim. Nonetheless, I would like to ask all of the OSU myopians out there a few questions before handing them a laptop, and letting them email Tressel and the university until they're itty, bity wrists are stricken with carpal tunnel syndrome.

Question: Is Ohio State really that good of a football team this year?

Answer: No, not really. Now, don't get me wrong, the Buckeyes are not exactly Eastern Michigan or Rice — but they're not exactly Florida or Alabama, either.

Question: Is Pryor the reason why Ohio State's offense is ranked 91st in the nation?

Answer: I'll say he's a reason, not the reason. The offensive line — which has more holes than a golf course and less quickness than a golf cart — and the offensive play calling, actually have more to do with OSU's struggles this season than Pryor does. In fact, all of the big games losses the Buckeyes have suffered in recent years can be directly attributed to the men up front and the offensive X's and O's.

Question: Is Pryor getting the proper coaching at OSU to be a quality quarterback?

Answer: No! Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, Troy Smith, developed from an athletic running quarterback (sound familiar) into an outstanding collegiate signal caller, and he did it under the tutelage of former OSU quarterbacks coach, Joe Daniels — the same man who helped mold Dan Marino and Ken O'Brien into first round NFL draft picks.

Pryor, on the other hand, is being coached by Nick Siciliano — a man whose only experience working as a QB coach prior to this season came at North Carolina A&T — for only one season. I'm not saying that Siciliano is a bad coach, he's just an inexperienced one, and when you throw a young, inexperienced quarterback into the fray — one can't expect instant results.

Question: Would OSU be better off with Bauserman at the controls?

Answer: Again — shoot no! Pryor is bigger, faster, stronger, has a better arm, more experience and brings way more of a big play threat to the table than Bauserman does. With the offensive line's porous pass protection this season, could you really see an immobile player like Bauserman surviving under center?

Question: If Pryor had been unable to play this season for OSU, would the Buckeyes be 5-2 at this point in the season?

Answer: Um ... well ... SHOOT NO!

The Buckeyes would be at best 3-4. Ohio State without Pryor would have more than likely lost to Navy and Wisconsin, on top of USC and Purdue. And perhaps would've fell to Indiana without Pryor's four touchdowns.

Don't believe the Buckeyes would be that bad without Pryor? Just ask Oklahoma how losing their offensive leader can affect your team's season.

Final Question: Would you trade Pryor for Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen?

Answer: Most would say yes. But, do you remember what was being said about Clausen during his freshman and sophomore campaigns? Many of the same things being said about Pryor right now — overrated, poor decision maker, needs to be benched, etc ...

Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis chose to stick with Clausen during his growing pains, and now, the Irish QB is a leading Heisman Trophy candidate and the top NFL prospect at the position.

Look, whether you like it or not, Pryor is the best option the Buckeyes have at quarterback and he's here to stay.

If OSU fans take a deep breath, relax (even meditate) and accept that the Buckeyes are not a championship-caliber football team right now, they will realize that Pryor is a young player who just needs work — not a bench.