Tag Archives: Terrelle Pryor

Weekend Words: Pryor’s NFL prospects and assorted minutiae

Former Iowa and NFL safety and current National Football Post writer Matt Bowen tweeted earlier this week he is down on Terrelle Pryor after watching three game tapes of the Ohio State quarterback.

Turns out he watched the Miami, Wisconsin and Iowa games, so it’s not hard to imagine he would come away with a negative opinion.

Pryor was erratic against Wisconsin and Iowa and had a handful of head-scratcher decisions and throws against the Hurricanes.

He admitted his numbers were terrible against Miami, although he rightly pointed out the Hurricanes’ defense was not the type a guy was going to have a highly efficient day with the way they pressed the Buckeye receivers. And he did complete a breathtaking deep ball to DeVier Posey that led to a touchdown, but I suspect an NFL scout is more worried about consistency than potential. Lots of guys can make throws here and there.

Pryor looked much smoother in the weeks after the Miami game, almost like a different player. He sliced up overmatched defenses from Ohio, Eastern Michigan and Indiana with precision passes and solid decisions (His injury sort of skewed things in the Illinois game), and it wasn’t a matter of those teams just falling all over themselves. He made his fair share of NFL quarterback reads and throws, delivering the ball smoothly and calmly all over the field.

Then he went to Wisconsin and seemed to let the situation overwhelm him. He never looked comfortable, as if the game was too big for him, and he sprayed the ball all over the place. After that, the coaching staff took the ball out of his hands for two weeks and the offense flourished behind the offensive line and tailback Dan Herron.

They tried to let him light it up against a subpar Penn State secondary but went back to the run to really do the winning damage in the second half.

He was up and down against Iowa, which was better than the Wisconsin game in that there were ups. Again I thought he was somewhat erratic (though several drops hurt), but he kept his wits about him down the stretch when he really needed to, so that was certainly a step forward from Wisconsin.

The bottom line is Pryor continues to be a project. Maybe it’s like a 30-something’s biological clock ticking, but we all seem to feel like the light has to have gone on by now if it is going to go on, that the ship has sailed on consistency from him. That’s silly, though. I never thought Troy Smith would put in a season in which he looked like Drew Brees until it actually happened, so there’s always time.

I still think the only position Pryor could play in the NFL is quarterback. I don’t think he has the foot quickness to play wide receiver, and he’s not physical enough to play tight end. Plus there are a lot of skills specific to those positions that he would have to spend time learning.

He has the physical tools to do the job, so eventually it will just come down to reps. He’ll either smooth out the inconsistencies in his delivery and continue to hone his decision making, or he’ll have to find another line of work.

And for what its worth, he’s much bigger with a better arm and more experience in a pro-style offense than the typical quarterbacks we’ve seen come out and move to another position such as Brad Smith or Antwaan Randle-El.

Also this week:

Spencer Hall pretty much sums up my thoughts on the great Iron Bowl Tree Massacre

There’s a thousand very stupid columns out there today about it and we’re not linking any of them, because this has no larger implications for society and especially not for Alabama, the state that wakes up 365 days a year crazier than a feral cat put into a running dryer. Like a syphilitic Lord Byron waking up craving opium and dirty women, they were mad yesterday, are mad today, and will be mad, bad, and dangerous to know tomorrow. If this part of the country weren’t full of at least seven states of similar insanity and decrepitude, it’d be a shame, but it’s kind of hard to pick the crazy one out of the lineup when they’re all pantless and ranting about the secret government wires in their head.

In summary: the rivalry is not out of hand, sports does not occupy too large a role in our lives, and everything remains as ghoulishly fascinating, horrifying, and magical as it was yesterday. Settle the fuck down.

He obviously has more first-hand contact with Alabama folks, so I’ll have to take his word on them, but I have to agree that this is not a sign sports is somehow creeping out of its little part of the world to ruin society.

Insane does as insane do, there are just more sad insane people than there were last week…

Also from Orson, some suggested rule tweaks for NFL.

I like the dropkick idea (presume he means make it legal beyond the line of scrimmage again because it is still legal behind the LOS, just nobody does it because place kicks are more accurate), and I would go a step further.

Let’s outlaw pure kicking specialists. To be eligible to kick a point-after-try or a field goal, one must have been on the field on the previous play, so he must be competent at some other football skill. That would add some intrigue, wouldn’t it? Kicking is not so difficult that several of your best skill players couldn’t learn how to do it relatively consistently, and I’m sure I’m not the only person who finds it melodramatic when a kicker who was otherwise not really involved in the game comes in with the ability to decide the outcome.

I’m also a proponent of a weight limit. Shrink the linemen to 300 pounds or less and you would have more versatile players on both side of the ball, not to mention healthier players.

Mobile offensive linemen are more effective than bulky ones except for one thing: Defensive linemen in the NFL are so big they overwhelm the athletic advantages, and there are few enough NFL roster spots that those coaches can hold out for guys that are the size they want without sacrificing as much skill as coaches at any other level must (or they would be collecting them, too).

Bring in a weight limit and we could see the return to more cleverly designed blocking schemes of old: Traps and sweeps and other misdirection plays. Running would be easier, making play action more effective and opening up the door to more big plays down the field as opposed to the boring ball-control passing the game has been trending toward for quite a while…

 

Misadventures in parking on campus. Who hasn’t wondered this themselves?…

Another thought on Rich Rodriguez from Chris at SmartFootball:

To me it’s simple: Rich Rodriguez never fully embraced being a head coach; he always thought of himself as offensive coordinator

Makes a lot of sense considering the hair-brained way he seemed to approach everything else, from offseason work to defense to special teams, where no one seemed to ever quite have a handle on what they should be doing or how to do it…

Speaking of RichRod: Really Maryland?

The student section at the Schot rocks now, so that’s cool. I was there for the beginning of its long, slow death in the last days of the Jim O’Brien era. Amazing how they managed to move the students behind the benches after years of saying they had determined it was physically impossible because of the set up of the lower bowl…

And finally, the NYT on the death of the actor who played “Uncle Leo” on Seinfeld:

“Jerry! Hello!” Mr. Lesser, as Uncle Leo, would cry whenever he’d encounter his nephew in a social situation on “Seinfeld.” His greeting was usually accompanied by an elaborate palms-up gesture of welcome, and followed by a meandering digression of increasingly unbearable inconsequentiality..

Enjoy your Ohio State-Purdue basketball double-header today (Men on CBS at 1, women on ESPN2 at 5) and be sure to check out BuckeyeSports.com for recaps.

TatGate at Ohio State: Some Next-Day Reflections

Yesterday at the Schottenstein Center, head coach Jim Tressel and athletics director Gene Smith were in the interesting position trying to defend their players’ intentions without condoning their actions.

They had to try to convince reporters and the public that although the overhaul of the compliance department that took place after the Maurice Clarett saga in 2002-03 has mostly yielded great success, it still allowed for this significant failure.

It’s sad that things are this complicated, but at the same time, it’s somewhat understandable. The NCAA often is demonized for its role in these matters, but the rules are in place for a reason. There is no wiggle room in allowing players to benefit – at least in a direct financial way – from their stardom because controlling from where the benefits come would be nearly impossible.

And it’s sad the players, the program and its fans are suffering because of a lack of explicit detail in the lessons from the compliance department, but I think it’s also fair to reason that they still should have known better. They must have been told they are prohibited from using their status as football players for profit, and since they received their rings and other items because they are football players, the correlation seems pretty clear.

I’m also dismayed but not surprised to see the continuation of the misinformed, misguided notion that the NCAA and schools are exploiting high-profile athletes.

Generally the worst fate that befalls the biggest stars is a deferred payday. The rest of the players – the great majority – are getting a pretty great deal in this whole thing.

As anyone who worked their way through school or is still paying off college loans can attest, a free education is nothing to scoff at. And scholarships come with much more than tuition checks. Players are fed at training tables and have access to world-class training facilities and equipment, not to mention a practically endless supply of academic help in the form of tutors and counselors. They get a living stipend, too. They get enough trinkets and gadgets from bowl trips that they don’t even know what to do with all of them.

Those benefits go to the starters and the bench-warmers, alike, so one could make the case the majority of players get more back from the university than their services provide.

Then those who do the most to uplift the school on its athletic fields will in most cases be able to cash in by the age of 23 in the form of big pro contracts. Many others will find the path to success in other professions also greased by the name they built up on the university’s dime, and odds are pretty good any player who choose to take advantage of the educational opportunities presented to him is going to be a lot better off when his career is over than if he would have spent those formative years eating and sleeping football in some kind of hypothetical minor league.

I am sure it is frustrating to see the school profit off of your likeness, but profitable likenesses don’t lose value overnight if you simply follow the rules. College kids in all kinds of fields can watch professionals performing the same tasks they’re practicing and look longingly at what might be them some day if they put in the work in the mean time, so I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the ones who get to play a game they love and receive plenty of love back.

 

Meanwhile, here are two other thoughts and links…

Regarding the players’ being allowed to play in the bowl game:

Having read the interpretation of the rule in the news release, I get why the players are allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl, but that still doesn’t mean it makes sense.

As I understand it, the option did not have to be accepted. They could have still had the players sit out. Surely they don’t think there’s a chance the penalties will be removed completely, so I see no justification from an Ohio State standpoint not to take advantage of the bowl game to get one game of the suspension out of the way.

Tressel has spoken more than once about the importance of being a good business partner when things like this arise, but I find this a lot more important than agreeing to play a game at night.

Even if that means the players still miss four games next season, how beneficial would be getting them back for the Michigan State game as opposed to not having them in East Lansing? I’d say there’s a significant difference. The appeal of that option grows even more if you consider the possibility of the suspensions being reduced to even three games. That would mean the players could return for the game at Miami (Fla.) in week three if they got one game out of the way in New Orleans.

This is purely speculation on my part, but this action leads me to wonder if the school is already thinking those players won’t be back in 2011 anyway since all who are out for multiple games are draft-eligible and probably draft-worthy, too. If that is the case, giving them a chance to showcase themselves one last time plus improve the school’s chance to pick up an image-improving win along the way makes some sense, but it also seems an unusual outcome for Tressel to go along with.

Regarding the punishment in general: 

If four games is the going rate and they must miss another game for not reporting it in a timely fashion, I’d say the Buckeyes have been treated fairly.

But I do think 30 percent might not be a good standard to apply to all sports. Four games of a football season carry an awful lot more weight than even 10 games of a basketball season, for instance, especially if some of those contests are against also-rans on the preconference schedule.

I’ve seen comparisons made to the Cameron Newton situation, but I’m not sure how apt those are. For one, the Newton situation is ongoing. My understanding of what happened prior to the SEC Championship Game is Auburn declared him ineligible as a precaution when the allegations regarding his father and Mississippi State were confirmed and the NCAA reinstated him because it had no reason not to, at least not yet. In the process, they had to reveal that embarrassing loophole in the rules that prevent Newton from being punished for his father’s actions, at least the ones they have proven so far.

Dez Bryant complained on Twitter about his own season-ending ban last year, but again this is a completely different situation. Bryant got nailed for lying to NCAA investigators. That has to carry a heavy penalty because the organization’s lack of subpoena power. Was he treated fairly? By the letter of the law, yes, but I can see where one could argue the specific circumstances could have yielded a softening of the penalty when it was revealed why Bryant lied. That didn’t happen, however.

And some links: 

Gene Smith referenced a fund that makes money available to players in hardship situations who need things outside of what is provided through their scholarship. The Lantern wrote an informative piece on that that ran in early December. Of particular note, OSU used money from the fund to help Abdallah family after Hurricane Katrina.

Smith said yesterday he hopes to beef up that fund and add more provisions for its use…

DeVier Posey’s mother spoke with The Columbus Dispatch, defending her son and the other suspended players and arguing scholarships don’t go far enough…

Braxton Miller, the five-star recruit who could be thrust into a much bigger role than anyone anticipated next season depending on how things shake out, spoke with his local paper, the Dayton Daily News, about his take on the incident and how it will affect his approach to spring practice. (He graduated already and will enroll in January)….

And finally, Bill Greene spoke with most of the rest of Ohio State’s 2011 recruiting class, as you can find in this premium link at BuckeyeSports.com.