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TheeOSU: A Look Into The Two Year Terrelle Pryor Window

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Much has been made about tOSU and their chances of making it back to the BCS championship game after a brief hiatus.

The talk centers around two things, their Germans marching in the shade trees of the French countryside schedule, where their only real road test is taking on Wisconsin at Camp Randall, and the assumed maturation of Terrelle Pryor.

First, the schedule: Marshall, Miami (not an easy game by any stretch, but they should win), Ohio, Eastern Michigan, at Illinois (I didn't think I was going to have to type "at"), Indiana, at Wisconsin, Purdue, at Minnesota, Penn St., at Iowa, Michigan.

I think they drop a game, but I'd be hard pressed to guess which one. After losing to Purdue last year, it could be anyone, unless....

Pryor not only improves as a passer, but also becomes the team leader that defines the greats just as applicably as their stats. As a Texas Longhorn fan I'm quite curious to see how Terrelle Pryor, aka "the next Vince Young" is progressing and what his chances are of truly achieving the level of greatness so many predicted when he chose Ohio St. over Michigan and Oregon. Can you see a VY led team losing to Purdue?

Much like Young, Pryor is one of the most gifted signal callers athletically speaking that the sport has ever seen. Also like Young, at this stage in his career he is still progressing as a passer while also mired in a scheme that often times seems ill designed nfor his skill set. Not to turn this into a VY/UT thing, but I think the same things that were necessary in VY's emergence are of importance with Pryor.

This is where coaches earn their money. While Jim Tressel might look like Professor Prick, I think he's a solid guy and a damn fine coach. However, I have to question his use of Pryor up to this point. Unlike, say, Urban Meyer who turned Alex Smith and Tim Tebow into first round picks based largely on designing gameplans that played to their strengths, Tressel seems to be schematically at odds with what he should be doing with Pryor. I find it hard to believe that he can win a National Championship with Craig Krenzel, but not TP. He's shown stubborness before with the Justin Zwick over Troy Smith decision, but this is different.

Tressel seems to realize the talent he has at QB, but just can't maximize it. As evidenced by Pryor leading the team in rushing yards and attempts last year, but only with a 4.9 ypc average, Tressel seems incapable of designing runs for Pryor, rather than allowing Pryor to pull the ball down (often times prematurely) and running. Obviously some of this is on Pryor, especially with his run/pass decision making, but another cause for concern is Pryor's completion percentage actually regressing from 60.6% in 2008 to 56.5% in 2009. I put that on coaching mechanics more than anything else.

Realizing that TP is only a Jr. many might suggest that if they don't get it done this year, they can go with the "there's always next year" mantra. Cubs fans, imo. No, I don't believe that's the case. Looking at the depth charts of the big boys, and OSU's personnel losses, I believe 2011 is the year of the Longhorn and Gator. OSU has to play with a sense of urgency this year and take advantage of the parity in the top 10 teams.

It will be interesting to see if Pryor and Tressel can answer these questions: Does Pryor become the type of guy that can put a team on his back and will it to a win? Will Pryor be enough of a passing threat to keep defenses out of the box? Can Tressel build a scheme that plays to his QB's athleticism, while also creating a reliable short yardage run game?

It doesn't matter how many pot leafs Pryor gets on his helmet, if he doesn't win a National Championship, it's all irrelevant. He better do it this year too, while the scheduling and parity is in his favor.