Sunday, January 2, 2011

ARKANSAS PLAYERS COMPARING TERRELLE PRYOR WITH CAM NEWTON

Terrelle Pryor (The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)
NEW ORLEANS — When the Arkansas defense turns on game film of Ohio State's offense, one of the first things that jumps out at them is the incredible similarities between Buckeyes quarterback Terrelle Pryor and Auburn's Heisman Trophy winning signal caller, Cam Newton.

"They are basically like the same type of quarterback with the same type of arm," Arkansas senior defensive end Damario Ambrose said. "They are like clones. It's kind of weird."

It's also kind of bad news for the Razorbacks if Pryor is in fact Newton's "clone."

Back in mid-October, Newton torched the Arkansas defense for 328 total yards — including 188 on the ground — and four touchdowns (3 rush, 1 pass), in the Tigers' 65-43 win over the Razorbacks.

Cam Newton
(AP Photo/Dave Martin)
Ambrose said the Razorbacks are quite aware that this could easily be a repeat of Auburn and Newton if they don't come prepared. He also stated — that even though Pryor announced he would return in 2011 — the coaches are going into Tuesday night's Sugar Bowl with the mindset that this could be his farewell party, and that the Buckeyes quarterback may want to go out with a bang.

"We have been practicing against some of the plays that Auburn ran," Ambrose said. "Of course, our coaches emphasized it. Potentially, this could be one of Terrelle Pryor's last games (at OSU), so he might run the ball a little more this game. You never know.

"We have been preparing by going against the offense that Auburn ran and different things. We are prepared for it."

Arkansas junior linebacker Jerry Franklin also talked about how similar Pryor and Newton are, and that they must use the experiences they've gained this season to try and contain him.

"Terrelle Pryor really reminds you of Cam Newton," Franklin said. "Their running ability, with the ability to throw the ball as well as they do, as you watch the games they have a lot of similarities. When they do decide to take off and run the ball, they can make a big play.

"Going through the whole season, we've been facing those kinds of dual-threat quarterbacks, who can either beat you with their legs or go downfield and beat you with their arms. So, it makes us feel a little bit more comfortable having seen that all season long."

Arkansas defensive coordinator Willy Robinson feels confident that they can stop Pryor, unlike they have with Newton and many other dual-threat passers this season.

"When you talk about the guy that's their leader and the guy that wants the ball in his hand, then it becomes a situation where they've got to get a first down to get the win, it's going to be the quarterback — Pryor," Robinson said. "He's not unlike any of the quarterbacks we've played in the SEC. You go from Newton, to the Mississippi State kid, to the kid that's at LSU, to the kid that's at Ole Miss, those are all really good athletes that are big athletes that can not only run the football, but throw it as well.

"We've kind of had some background in it. Our folks probably didn't feel like we've done a good enough job, sometimes, defending those types of guys. The lessons learned? We like to be able to think that we have the ability to match against this kid when he does run the football and then when he gets himself back there in those passing situations, let's make him hurry and get a little impatient back there."

In games this season against those four dual-threat quarterbacks that Robinson was referring to, the Razorbacks have surrendered 324.5 yards per game and eight touchdowns. So, history against guys "like Pryor" isn't exactly on the side of Arkansas.

Of course, history against teams from the Southeastern Conference (0-9 in bowl games) isn't exactly on the side of Ohio State, either.

Something's got to give.