Terrelle Pryor spent his twentieth year on this fine planet of ours slinging footballs around at a 56.6% completion percentage while amassing 2094 yards and 18 TDs through the air. Unfortunately with the good came the, well, less than that; Pryor also accounted for 11 interceptions including two in the gut wrenching debacle in West Lafayette last October. This on the heels of a 60.6% completion percentage having freshman campaign that included but six fewer aerial touchdowns though with 7 fewer interceptions.
Blame it on a coaching staff's initial reluctance to open things up to a still very immature in many ways sophomore. Blame it on an inability to loosen one's self up as on the field responsibilities increased. It's challenging, at best, to pinpoint the mechanisms behind a slight stock plummet on a player who's initial public offering was so ambitious. None the less, we (and the media alike in their christening of Pryor as the league's pre-season offensive player of the year for a second straight season) continue to assume the next logical progression will involve the metamorphosis into some kind of Vince Young-lite, the easiest, most convenient cognitive friendly archetype for us to force Pryor into. Reports (and video accounts there of) from the early practices would seem to suggest that perhaps the optimism is not entirely unfounded. Pretty much in spite of the reasoning behind why the then sophomore's quarterback rating fell some near 17 and a half points from Point A-to-Point B, it seems all but impossible to escape the line of thinking that some sort of positive, natural evolutionary process is at work.
While we're rapidly approaching the 2010 season's theatrical opening night, where the immeasurable hype can finally be gauged against some sort of what you see is what you get tangible result, we're still left with little more than speculation and idle words. But when you actually take heed of what's coming out of the quarterback and those around him's mouths alike, the air of high praise and confidence makes it awfully tough for anyone squarely in the Buckeye camp to not salivate, even if just a little bit. We saw Sunday the promise of an encore still yet to come (of which video has since surfaced). And while we may be remiss to hold an impulsive, emotional young quarterback to a pledge that could possibly become foolish to a fault to hold him to if certain things play out according to form (as Jason stated Monday), Pryor's teammates certainly seem to be echoing the maturation sentiment and dropping the kind of glowing marks you want to hear describe a player still very much in production but critical to the '10 title drive:
"I think when he first got here, I don't think too many people liked him, really. He was kind of a punk. But now I have the utmost respect for him. He's a great player and a great leader and I'd follow him into battle any day."
Ohio State safety/'star' Tyler Moeller told The Plain Dealer's Doug Lesmerises after practice Tuesday. With a player of Moeller's character and high regard revealing an impulsive, honest assessment of Pryor's growth like that, it becomes far more difficult to dismiss as merely the company line. Moeller wasn't alone as Andrew Sweat, Jake Stoneburner, and Travis Howard alike came out with glowing praise for TP2 2.0. Howard in particular added:
"As far as everything he's been through, he taught me a lot," Howard said of Pryor. "We got that bond together, that brotherhood."
Blood runs deep, etc.
Also amongst the cream of Tuesday's practice yield, in case you missed this, it bears repeating that the team's been practicing in a scenario which Coach Tressel is calling "the last play in the world". As we mentioned, the ball is placed at the fifteen with the offense getting one snap, needing a touchdown or suffering defeat at the hand of D. In Tuesday's version, Pryor eluded defenders, rolled out right, and fired a perfect strike through two defenders to DeVier Posey for the W. One more year? It's a crying shame it can't be four.