Five Things: Troy

By Chris Lauderback on September 21, 2008 at 2:30 pm
The present. The future. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

Thoughts on Pryor
All in all, it was obviously an impressive debut for Pryor though any objective fan can see there's still plenty to work on. I think the best news is that the kid realizes this and will undoubtedly do what it takes to get better. Plus, he's got that 'it' factor that special leaders bring to the table. You see him on the sidelines constantly pumping up his teammates? L-E-A-D-E-R.

Focusing on the good, TP certainly helps make one of the worst offensive lines OSU has ever had look a little bit better. Besides the fact we had seen Todd's ceiling and knew it wasn't good enough, this was the other main reason I wanted Pryor out there. At times he was a little quick to scramble but overall I was pleased with his desire to move in the pocket to buy time versus moving with the intent of always turning the play into a rushing attempt.

The best example of this was the 3rd and 17 play early in the 2nd quarter where Pryor took the snap, immediately spun to avoid an unblocked blitzer, rolled to his left, pump faked an oncoming defender and fired a strike to Robo that would've been good for the first down had Robo not drunkenly stepped out of bounds before finding space to make the catch (more on that later). What a big time play for the freshman QB to buy time while still scanning receivers downfield.

Pryor also did a nice job of spreading the ball around. Looking at the numbers, it's pretty amazing that with only 10 completions, he was able to hit six different receivers including at least one to a tailback, fullback, tight end and wide receivers.

On the "areas of opportunities" side (for all you corporate slaves), Pryor got caught trying to do too much at times, most notably that horrible decision in the waning seconds of the first half. From the OSU 28, instead of throwing the ball away to set up a 45 yard FG try, he zig-zagged his way to a 16 yard loss that erased any chance to score before intermission.

Examining his actual passing, I thought he threw a couple nice balls, especially the TD to Nicol in the back of the end zone, but he also displayed a tendency to float the ball and he stared down receivers on a couple occasions. That said, I have no doubt that as he gains confidence in his decisions to throw the ball, he'll be less tentative (at least two instances of unnecessary double pumps) which will automatically improve the zip on his throws. The future is certainly bright.

The Crowd vs. Todd Boeckman
Let me preface my comments here by saying I agree the home crowd should not be booing its players. That said, I don't really think the majority of fans were booing Todd. Think about it, the fans can't exactly call Tress on his cell and communicate their thoughts so they do it from the stands. In my opinion, the first round of boo's were a message to Tressel that he was making a bad decision by putting Boeckman in the game. Then, after Boeckman's first-bounce-fly "pass" to Hartline, those boos were essentially a "We told you so!" directed at the Vest.

To his credit, I thought Boeckman handled like he should've as evidenced by his post game comments when asked about basically losing his job:

First of all, after getting a win like this against a great team, that's great, and I'm really excited about that. I'm happy for Terrelle, he had a great day. He did some great things out there. He's getting better every time he's out there and he made some great plays out there. I'm excited for this team and for him.

Pretty good stuff coming from a guy who's been here since just before fire was invented and now he's on the outside looking in after being an all-conference performer last year.

What's the Story with Robo?
Through four games, I'm struggling to wonder why we were concerned about him possibly turning pro after last season. Sure, the terrible O-line and muddied QB situation hasn't helped the passing attack, but he has yet to have a receiving game better than 41 yards.

First, if he's hurt, he needs to sit and heal. If he's not hurt, then he needs to step it up. I don't want to beat a dead horse, but what the hell happened on that bomb that would've been a sure 89 yard TD? In the postgame, he would only say it was a drop. It wasn't even close to a drop. You can't "drop" a ball that you only extend one arm out to grab. The ball didn't appear to tail away on the replay so what gives? I almost hope he's hurt because anything short of that is not a valid excuse, especially from a freaking captain.

Injured or not, Robo also hurt the offense with appeared to be a big mental error on Pryor's aforementioned fabulous scramble on 3rd and 17 in the 2nd quarter. The replays weren't that great but I didn't see any reason other than lack of awareness for Robo to step on the sideline and negate a great play and key third down conversion. Dude needs to wake up or move over. With his obvious problems of gaining separation, I'd love to see what some of these other kids can do.

Boom vs. Saine vs. Tressel
Hats off the Boom Herron for another solid performance behind an ineffective line that's already in patchwork mode four games in to the season. I've said it a thousand times but I just love how he commits to a hole and hits it quick. No Lydell pussy-footing out of this kid. Even better, when there is no hole, he's now exercising a little patience as he did on a little 11 yard burst in the 4th quarter. Yesterday's season highs of 20 carries and 94 yards proved he's the best back on this team not wearing #28.

Even with the high-school line, Boom has averaged over four yards per carry in each of the last three games (4.2, 4.6, 4.7) and though it's unscientific, he seems to settle into a groove helping the offense achieve a little flow every now and again.

Lost in Herron's emergence is the fact Saine is shaping up to be a bust. I know he missed 20+ fall practices but at this point I don't see much other than a track star attempting to wear shoulder pads. Sure, he might evolve into a specialist catching passes out of the backfield but I just don't see much else in his future and this is admittedly after I had him pegged as Tressel's first choice to fill in for Beanie immediately after the injury. He might be fast, but I just don't see any burst and I damn sure don't see much elusiveness. What do you all think? What's Saine's ceiling in a no-Beanie world?

One last thought on Boom..What's the deal on Tressel not letting him get 100 yards? On the last possession, he gave Boom a first down carry that was negated by a false start but then he gave Rasta back to back carries to run out the clock. I thought that was weak as hell. Boom earned the right to try for the century mark and I don't want to hear about avoidance of injury.

The Most Important Play in Football
As Tressel has told us over and over since 2000, the punt is the most important play in football and the statement proved prophetic yesterday.

Everyone's got a quarter-chub over Trapasso's three punts pinning Troy inside the 7 paving the way for the 4th quarter surge created by short fields however the phrase also rang true as Troy was able to hang with OSU in the first thanks in part to some terrible punting from AJ.

His four first half punts were all crap including a touchback when punting from OSU's 45 yard line, a 36 yard shank out of bounds with OSU backed up to their own 11 yard line, a lucky bounce on a 43 yarder setting up Troy at their own 25 then another unnecessary touchback on a punt from the Troy 44 yard line.

So, while we're all glossing AJ for the big second half, just remember this aspect of OSU's game is just as inconsistent as other facets. Plenty of room for improvement. It certainly isn't a coincidence that Troy was able to stay with OSU when they had some room to operate versus when they were pinned deep.

I'm out of room for Five Things but just one more quick observation: Ben Person might be the worst offensive lineman in the history of the school. His man made at least three successful swim moves to blow up plays, none more obvious than the 3rd and 4 option play around the eight minute mark of the 3rd quarter resulting in a four yard loss. Seriously, if you have DVR go back and watch that play and tell me how dude belongs on the field. There, just had to get that off my chest.