Barkley and Pryor Overhyped?

Lee TawilContributor ISeptember 13, 2009

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 12:  Terrelle Pryor #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs with the ball while defended by Taylor Mays #2 of the USC Trojans at Ohio Stadium on September 12, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

It was supposed to be a classic clash of two titan teams when USC faced Ohio State on Saturday night. After all, both teams are ranked in the top ten with young quarterbacks with bright futures. The Trojans start true freshman Matt Barkley, and the Buckeyes start sophomore sensation Terrelle Pryor. As I watched these two youngsters, I couldn’t help but think about how raw these guys are. These two quarterbacks are supposed to be in the top few in college football, and yet they seem so lost out there. Between awkward deliveries and sub 50% completion rates, I wonder how scouts can decipher between the good ones and the average ones. I understand that both of them are underclassmen, but I felt as if I was watching high school football. Yes, I saw some flashes of potential from both of them, but not enough to bank my next few years on them.

Following last week’s blowout victory, Matt Barkley said it was too easy for him. Did not seem that way to me this week. Of course he is playing against one of the nation’s top defenses in Ohio State, but he is going to need to grow at a ridiculous rate to be considered a good college quarterback by his senior season. His arm looked weak, and he seemed ill-prepared. Anytime the blitz was sent his way, he panicked and threw the ball to the dirt. The smartest thing he could do is continue to get Joe McKnight the ball. He is an electric, Reggie Bush type player, who can make Barkley look a lot better than he really is. In the final game-winning drive, McKnight accounted for more than 75% of the yards that USC had. Having that security blanket should help the maturation process immensely for Barkley. As long as McKnight stays healthy, Barkley could grow a lot, as he will take most of the pressure of the freshman QB.

As for Pryor, he is a player known for his athletic ability. He is supposed to burn defenses with his legs, and be a duel threat that confuses opposing defenses. Then I look at his rushing stats, and I see an average just above 3 yards per rush. He is going to destroy the weaker teams in college football, but he cannot look as bad as he did against the top competition. Of course his stats should decline, but not to that level. Again, like Barkley, I see flashes of brilliance out of Pryor, like his 18 yard run in which he carried three defenders for about 5 yards. I just want to see him produce on a consistent level before he earns his stripes. He doesn’t have that natural throwing motion that all of the NFL QBs have, but i am sure he will correct that with time. If he doesn’t, I don’t see him doing much on the next level.

Between Barkley and Pryor, you have two guys that have such high expectations to produce for their respective teams. Right now, they are nowhere near the level they need to achieve in order to live up to the hype. But time can do some amazing things to people. I guess we will just have to wait and see.