Wednesday, April 13, 2011

TRESSEL: PRYOR IS NOT A TIGHT END; NO LEADER IN SPRING QB DERBY

Terrelle Pryor (The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)
COLUMBUS — Could Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor actually be a better prospect as a tight end in the National Football League?

According to ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr., tight end — and not quarterback — is where he projects Pryor to have the most success at the next level, stating last week that "I have thought all along that (Pryor) was a tight end."

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said Wednesday that those people whose opinions actually matter, think otherwise.

"You can never worry too much about someone's opinion, because there's lots of them" Tressel said. "When we had our pro day and our second pro day with Cameron (Heyward), we had all those (NFL) head coaches and assistant coaches and general managers, and as we were talking to them about Terrelle, you know, trying to pick their brains about what's the next step we need to make, almost every one of them to a man talked about the fact that he really made a quantum leap last year. Just the way he managed the game, the way they could tell he understood the game."

The Buckeyes coach also said that the NFL decision-makers stated that Pryor's five-game suspension to begin the 2011 regular season — for receiving improper benefits — will not hurt his draft stock in 2012 as long as he makes the most of his limited action.

"Most of them said that whether he plays seven games or 12 games really isn't important," Tressel said. "It's how well he plays in those seven games, and the refinement and the improvement and those types of things (which will determine his NFL standing)."

Tressel stated that although he hasn't been in the draft game as long as Kiper, he sees Pryor as strictly a signal caller at the professional level.

"I think his footwork, I think the quickness of his decision-making have to keep improving," Tressel said. "I would say this, I doubt if anyone in the draft of 2012 will be picking him as a tight end. I would venture to guess, and I'm certainly no Mel Kiper, my guess will be he's selected as a quarterback."

MORE ABOUT THE QUARTERBACKS ... The biggest battle going on in Columbus this spring has been at the quarterback position.

With Pryor still sidelined with a foot injury, as well as facing the five-game suspension to start the 2011 campaign, four quarterbacks are in a huge battle to emerge as the Buckeyes starting signal caller.

Senior Joe Bauserman, sophomore Kenny Guiton, red-shirt freshman Taylor Graham and true freshman Braxton Miller are the ones vying to become Pryor's replacement. All four have had their ups and downs this spring, and as of right now, none have stepped up and taken the reins.

"That's such a difficult one (to answer)," Tressel said Wednesday about which quarterback, if any, has emerged in Spring practice. "I kind of vacillate each day. I thought yesterday, and again you guys were there, I thought yesterday the guy who had the best day was Kenny (Guiton).

"But, we don't have a game tomorrow, so we don't have to make that decision."

Tressel did state that he is hoping through the final eight practices that one of the four quarterbacks will separate themselves from the rest, because reps will be at a premium come summer time with the return of Pryor (from injury).

"What you're trying to develop is that consistency over time and I think it is critical by the end of 15 practices that we do start thinking about some sort of a pecking order," Tressel said. "Because when we get back in August, those repetitions are going to be diluted a little bit because Terrelle will be back in there getting some reps. So we're not going to be able to spread out the reps like we've been able to do in Terrelle's absence this spring.

"It's a great question and I wish it was a scenario where someone was head and shoulders above the others, but at this point I don't see that."