Saturday, January 1, 2011

TERRELLE PRYOR FOCUSED ON ARKANSAS, READY TO GO FORWARD

Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor fielded questions from the media on Saturday in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
NEW ORLEANS — For the first time since being suspended by the NCAA a little more than a week ago, Ohio State star quarterback Terrelle Pryor fielded questions from the media on Saturday morning inside the ballroom of the media hotel in New Orleans.

Pryor talked about a number of issues on Saturday, from dealing with the suspension, how it's affected him and whether or not he's going to return for his senior season.

Pryor — who is suspended for the first five games of the 2011 regular season for selling various memorabilia items — said the punishment he's received will not affect his play come Tuesday night in the Sugar Bowl against No. 8 Arkansas.

"It's not affecting me," Pryor said Saturday. "I mean, there have been long days going through the process, but we all got through it. All of our teammates have had our backs. It was just a minor problem in the locker room that we had to fix."

Pryor said the hardest part of the entire episode is hearing people continuously bashing him for his actions. He said that's where his teammates have stepped up and provided support for him.

"You shouldn't worry about what other people say, but you do take a lot of what other people say into your mind," Pryor said. "They're saying it for some reason. That's the hardest thing is hearing people say some cruel things about you. You know what you did and you take responsibility, but guys are still out there nailing you and talking about you.

"That's when my teammates have come in and had my back and told me that it's going to be all right."

Pryor announced that he will return for his senior season in 2011, but admitted that it will be quite a transition having to sit and watch for five weeks.

"I've never sat out a game in my life," Pryor said. "So I don't know how it's going to affect me next year yet."

Of course, next season doesn't mean anything come Tuesday night. All that should matter to Pryor and the Buckeyes is the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Pryor said he's anxious to get on the field, because in essence, the gridiron right now is his only sanctuary.

"I prepare the same as always. I think we've come to play," Pryor said. "The best way to get into my focus zone has just been to practice. I'd be most stressed at home. Being on the field has been the least stressful place.

"I'm just looking at it as, we've got a game to play. Let's play it."