In the comic books, there are superheroes............ and then there are sidekicks. Though the superheroes have their confidantes to assist them at any time, when the rubber meets the road, it’s the superheroes that can turn a doomed outcome into a snatch from the grasp moment. Sidekicks and spectators are simply relegated to looking on as miraculous things come to fruition.
So goes the same story with the Ohio State football team this year. What everyone is trying to determine is whether Terrelle Pryor is Batman, or if he is merely Robin moonlighting in tights and scarlet and gray trimmings.
Despite all of the articles and headlines already written about the true sophomore who is ready to completely take the reigns of an Ohio State program that needs a man of steel leader, he really has not yet blossomed into what many think he will become.
To Pryor's credit, he is just starting his football career and has a couple of years still to be judged on. Unfortunately for him and the Buckeye faithful, the verdict is already out in the courtroom of public opinion on a program that has flopped in big games as of recent. Does my "Spidey Sense" feel that there is an appeal on the docket in the form of one highly-touted Super Soph?
There is no doubt Terrelle Pryor passes the "look" test, both on paper and as a physical specimen. One afternoon watching the phenom practice or gazing at his measurables in a media guide is enough to determine that.
The fact of the matter remains, that the man child Pryor has only just completed less than one full football season under his belt. The true test will perhaps come this year when everyone is expecting him to make that drastic improvement that comes from your first year of starting to the next.
In order to take that next step, Mr. Pryor not only needs to have the ability to leap tall buildings, he has to also have the desire to put the time in to reach that potential that has been cast.
So far so good on that front: If you believe everything that has been written about Superman, you must know that he has been working diligently on dealing with his kryptonite. He has spent countless hours in the film room, worked as hard as anyone in the weight room, and even had to deal with a spell of tendinitis in his shoulder from throwing so many footballs around (Who’s ever heard of that)?
Those passes that fluttered in the air with a shot putter's motion were all but a recent memory in practice and the spring scrimmage in the horseshoe. The first read then run mentality that was evident last year has also given way to multiple progression decision making in the pocket.
True to superhuman form, lasers now shoot from his arms and he all but possesses X-ray vision to see his way through multiple coverages. Can I lay it on any thicker?
Enough about all of the hype: It is time for the wonder-teen to lay the foundation of what his legacy will become, not live on his pre-season press clippings and foretold glory. There will be plenty of situations that his football life will live through this season to lay the foundation for what he will become.
When these times come, will the caped football crusader put the team on his back and pull out victory like Vince Young? How about engineering a fourth quarter comeback like Colt McCoy, or single handedly will his way to victory with guts and determination similar to Tim Tebow?
Will the ball bounce the other way? Might Mr. Pryor, in the throws of a legendary moment, lay a golden egg? I struggle to remember a college football legend squandering the chance to cement a legacy because those moments are lost in all the historic moments that statues are made of.
There have been many good football teams in the history of college football that were a summation of their parts. Only a few great football teams have one player that can make the difference between a good year, and a championship year by summing up all parts.
Terrelle Pryor has the ability to be that kind of player, but the pen sits pressed against the page of the sophomore chapter in his book. The script is unwritten with him being the scribe.
Will Ohio State reach the pinnacle of the football world again, or will it be another season of winning "just another Big 10 Championship"? Worse yet, will the Silver Bullets be overcome by Trojan warriors? Might the Scarlet and Gray fall prey to a den of Lions in Happy Valley? All of a modern day, football Gotham City is anxiously awaiting the answer.
Time to strap it on Terrelle, for whether you like it or not, all of embattled Buckeye Nation awaits you. An Ohio State program that is sending up a bat signal to reclaim national respect is calling you.
It is time to head out into the dark night at 8PM, September 12th, and face Pete Carroll and his cast of villains. Lay claim to victory in this contest and there will be plenty more villains to slay on the way to laying the groundwork for things that comic books are made of. Fall short, and you might find yourself cast as a sidekick to history.