Wednesday, September 15, 2010

PRYOR SHOULD GET A WINNING GRADE ON HIS DECISION MAKING

Photo of OSU quarterback Terrelle Pryor by The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell
COLUMBUS — Coming into the 2010 season many people were keeping a close eye on the decision making of Ohio State junior quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

Yes, he was superb in the Rose Bowl victory over Oregon, and all through the preseason it appeared that Pryor's comfort level and decision-making process was at an all-time high. But as we all know, making good decisions in practice and making the right decision in games are two totally different things.

Well, if the first two games of the season are any indication of the Buckeye signal caller's growth, then it's safe to say that he's passing the test with flying colors.

Sure, Pryor's 305 total yards per game and five touchdowns have been impressive thus far. But hey, we knew he had that type of game — his talent has never been in question. But it's his zero turnovers that jumps out at you. In the past, Pryor would force the issue, killing drives by making a poor throw into coverage instead of tossing it away and settling for three.

I think it's amusing that fans were actually complaining that the Buckeyes had to settle for five field goals in last Saturday's win over Miami. In recent years, Pryor would've tried at all costs to get the football in the end zone. And as in recent years, it would've cost the Buckeyes a victory.

However, with Pryor not trying to force a score in the red zone, the Buckeyes came away with 15 points. They won the game by 12.

"I think Terrelle did an excellent job against a very good defense," OSU head coach Jim Tressel said. "He did a good job decision making in the passing game. If your quarterback does a good job, you'll have a chance to have no turnovers. It won't always happen, but that's the guy that starts with his hands on the ball, he and the center, and so he did an excellent job from that standpoint.

"I thought he came up with some key plays and played with a lot of energy and continues to get better every day."

So did Pryor finally receive a winning grade from the OSU coaching staff, something that he has yet to obtain during his career in Columbus?

"No," Tressel smiled. "You know better than that."

Ohio State senior guard Justin Boren came to his quarterback's aid, though.

"For sure," Boren laughed, when asked if the coaches grades on Pryor are a bit too strict. "That's for sure. Terrelle's had some great games, that's surprising (that he hasn't had a winning grade).

"But you know, Terrelle does a great job, he does what it takes for us to win. He makes great decisions and he's a great leader."

TPS ... Whether it's by air or by ground — and for part of the game last week, by water — Pryor has been stellar this season for the Buckeyes.

In Saturday's 36-24 win over Miami, Pryor threw for 233 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for another 113 and a score. It was only the fourth time in OSU history that a quarterback has passed for more than 200 yards and ran for over 100 in a single game. Pryor has accomplished that feat three of the four times (Troy Smith did it once.)

Pryor trails only Michigan's Denard Robinson this season in Big Ten total offense. He is currently 15th nationally.

GAMETIME ... Ohio State will face Ohio University for the seventh time this Saturday at noon. The game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.

The Buckeyes are 6-0 in the series and have outscored the Bobcats in those six contest, 160-30.