In a world where every ESPN prognosticator claims to know exactly what will happen to certain players in the upcoming season, I freely admit to having no idea what I will see from The Ohio State University's Quarterback Terrelle Pryor during this season. Honestly, his inconsistencies are vast, but his consistencies are incredible. They balance out, and I have no idea whether the good Terrelle Pryor or the bad Terrelle Pryor will win out. Over the course of the last two seasons, Pryor has shown an amazing ability to run with the ball in hand. Pryor's passing leaves a lot to be desired. Jeanette, Pennsylvania's Favorite Son, has so much talent, it's a matter of harnessing his passing ability so that it balances out with his running skills.
Over his two year's at The Ohio State University, Pryor has been sacked 43 times. By year, that's 21 as a freshman (where he did not play full time at QB), and 22 as a sophomore. While Pryor passing attempts grew from 165 to 295 from his freshman to sophomore year, his completion percentage did not drop beyond 4 percentage points (60.6 to 56.6). This shows that if given the attempts, and proper play calls, Pryor can be an effective pocket passer. He's a bigger Michael Vick (minus the criminal record), if Pryor was some how able to convince his opponents that he's as good a passer as he is a runner, the Buckeyes offense will open up in ways never before seen. The offensive line is much improved this season, which will hopefully give Pryor the most time he's had in the backfield as a Buckeye.
The second main reason Pryor could improve as a Quarterback is his Tight Ends, Wide Receivers and Running Backs. As far as Running Backs go, this is the best backfield since the 2007-2008 season where the backfield had Dan Herron, Brandon Saine, Beanie Wells, and Maurice Wells. This season has Herron, Saine, Jaamal Berry(who might be the best running back since Maurice Clarett), Full Back Zach Boren, Jordan Hall, Adam Homan, Carlos Hyde, and Rod Smith. There's threats everywhere in the backfield. Keep an eye on Rod Smith and Jaamal Berry who hit holes hard, and run fast. The Running Backs will allow for Pryor to focus on his passing, and not the run game. A reliable teammate in the backfield can do wonders for a Quarterback like Terrelle Pryor.
The Wide Receiver corps are also much stronger than a year ago. Dane Sanzenbacher, DeVier Posey, and Taurian Washington are all reliable hands to throw the ball toward. Sophomore Tight End Jake Stoneburner is going to break out this season as well. Never has Terrelle Pryor had four reliable receivers that he can throw the ball to. On top of that, a Tight End is a Quarterback's best friend when he's got to dump the ball down as he's being rushed. Stoneburner is poised to be Pryor's partner in crime if the Offensive Line falls apart.
Junior Mike Adams, Senior Justin Boren, Junior Michael Brewster, Senior Bryant Browning, and Junior J.B. Shugarts should be the starters on the Offensive Line. They average 304lbs each. That's a big Offensive Line, which is key in the Big Ten Conference. They can give Pryor time to check down, and go through his reads properly to find the right person to receive his laser beam passes.
The last main reason Terrelle Pryor will improve is also the number one reason he won't improve, his ego. Pryor has claimed this off-season to have stepped up as a man and as a team leader. When Pryor would throw an interception or fumble, he'd often react like a child who was punished. Pryor was a spoiled kid coming into college because of his extreme amount of accolades. Jim Tressel has humbled the young man in two seasons at The Ohio State University. If that humbling can continue Pryor is going to be the best Quarterback in Division 1 football.
It's often a difficult task to change a Quarterback. Mechanics can be modified, and so can the style of play but to change the person under the helmet is often an impossible task. I don't know if I have the confidence in Terrelle Pryor's mental abilities on the field to improve to the level he'll need to be at for The Ohio State University to win the National Championship. IF and I mean IF Pryor can stay within himself, and grow with his teammates while growing his game, this will be a very special season in Columbus, Ohio and within Buckeye Nation.
This is the year to see Terrelle Pryor grow. If he doesn't grow this season into a fully fledged Quarterback, then he might as well declare for the NFL Draft so the school can move on. I'd like to see 25 Touchdowns, 7 interceptions, and 14 sacks as the key numbers for Pryor this season. If he can be within one or two of each of those numbers, Buckeye fans better save their money for a BCS Title Game trip. Pryor will face the challenge of The University of Miami in Week 2 of the season. A win and great performance can catapult Pryor to a level he's never been at before. As a true Heisman Trophy Candidate and the leader of a BCS National Championship Contender.