When the Ohio State Buckeyes take the field against Marshall tonight in the season opener, Jim Tressel needs to turn Terrell Pryor loose.
With the exception of the Rose Bowl, Pryor has been kept on a pretty short leash. Last season, after struggling in a couple of games, Tressel went in to virtual lockdown mode with Pryor. The Buckeyes turned to their running game down the stretch and Pryor didn’t attempt more than 17 passes in each of the last 3 games. The moved seemed to pay off. Pryor settled down and when Tressel let him off the leash in the Rose Bowl, the former #1 recruite responded with a brilliant performance, going 23 for 37 for 266 yards and 2 touchdowns vs. 1 interception. He also added 20 rushing attempts for 72 yards. It was easily the best performance of the QB’s career.
Running will always be a part of Pryor’s game but if the Buckeyes hope to win a National Championship this year, he is going to have to get things done with his arm. The key will be for the Buckeyes is to build off of the momentum they created in the Rose Bowl. Games like tonight’s clash with Marshall are the perfect opportunity to let Pryor air it out. No opponent should be taken lightly but it will be much easier for the Buckeyes to over come mistakes against the Thundering Herd than say, the Crimson Tide.
I have all the confidence in the world in Terrel Pryor to take the next step this season but Tressel and company would be foolish not to let him stretch his legs (and his arm) in these cupcake games against teams like Marshall.
Otherwise when it is time to rise to the occasion, Pryor might not be ready.