Sunday, October 5, 2008

TP's late TD beats Badgers

Terrelle Pryor is fun. Even when he is taking 15 yard sacks, he is fun to watch. Aside from Vince Young, his body control is far superior to any quarterback his size in recent memory. It is not just his size, strength, and speed. Athleticism in sports has as more to do with body control than it does physical ability.

A prime example of this can be found if you watch HBO's Hard Knocks onDemand. One of the "stars" of the Cowboys training camp was Todd Lowber. I had the pleasure of attending Ramapo College (or Rama-whaat in the words of Patrick Crayton) when Lowber was making highlight reel dunks off every opening tip of Roadrunner basketball games. He dunked on my head numerous times in pickup games. I have seen his 6'4'', 225lb frame up close and personal. He won the NCAA high jump contest after not having participated in track and field since high school. He ran a documented sub 4.3 forty at NFL workouts. He possibly was the most "athletic" player in NFL training camp this summer. He got cut. He may show up again because of his freak of nature type traits, but he got cut nonetheless. He was not able to control his body enough coming into his routes.

The thing that is so impressive about Pryor's ability is being able to control such a big body moving so fast. He is able to change direction in an instant, while brushing off a wouldbe tackler. Another impressive feature is that, at quarterback, he is in every play. He routinely is battling against 2, 3, or 4 tacklers, fighting for every yard. When Beanie does this, the next play can be a pass, or Herron can spell him. Pryor has to line right back up, and get it going again. This is often taken for granted, but it is very important to recognize.

There has been some doubt over his throwing motion, and the Buckeyes have even tinkered with his arm slot on his delivery. Either the cut on his hand last night forced him to make some adjustments, or he went back to his old style of throwing. Whatever the case may be, it was effective. He is tall enough to throw 3/4 motion over the line, therefore I do not have much problem with it.

He is going to have to continue to impress because...

The defensive line is a joke. This point has been beaten deader than dead, but the interior line is awful. They make Laurinaitis look like a bum. A lot has been made over him not being in on as many plays as in the past, but when you see running backs busting through for a 5 10 or 15 yard games the offensive linemen don't stop running. They come off their blocks and headhunt for number 33. It would be nice to find some guys who can occupy offensive linemen, let alone demand a double team.

The playcalling on both sides of the ball has been pretty putrid. In the second half of the game last night they let Pryor open it up a bit, and on the game winning drive, he made huge strides for Tressel having confidence in him to let him throw down field. Defensively, either the personnel is bad, or the scheme is bad, or both. The soft coverage is frustrating, and the lack of being able to stop anyone running the ball is infuriating. The fact that the opposing quarterback has all day to throw is annoying to say the least. This all goes back to having four competent and capable downlinemen.

Someone needs to show up with a pair of hands to catch Pryor's "frozen ropes." It looked like Hartline until he almost fumbled away the game. Some speed on the outside would help, keeping the DBs back a bit so Wells and TP can get a few extra yards.

All of this being said, The Buckeyes held the Badgers to 17 points. You can look up Wisconsin's home winning streak, record in night games, recent success over the Buckeyes, etc., but the fact of the matter is OSU won the game. Nobody bit on a double move by a guy with a new knee like Gamble, no one tried to choke the opposing quarterback like Reynolds, and the Buckeyes did not fade in a primetime national game(USC, LSU, Texas, Penn St.).

After the game at USC, every fan was left wondering... "what the hell is going to happen in next season's rematch? The starters will pretty much be gone, so the players that couldn't play over them this year are going to play. Pryor will still be green because of Tressel's loyalty to Boeckman. This is going to be a disaster." This game should be the start of hopefully putting some minds at ease.

For now OSU has to look forward to the Boilermakers at home, and a tough game against a former Tresselite in Dantonio, and OSU-shunned Ringer, before the game that will hopefully decide the Big 10 Champion against Penn State. It will be fun watching the maturation of not only Pryor, but his good buddy who may have been the deciding factor in bringing TP to Columbus, new starting center Mike Brewster. Their relationship on and off the field will hopefully catapult OSU over the proverbial hump.

Go Bucks.

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