Boeckman Already Mentoring Pryor

The Buckeyes will likely use two quarterbacks this season, and they could not be much different. Senior returning starter Todd Boeckman will get the bulk of the snaps, but incoming freshman Terrelle Pryor will factor in as well. As it turns out, the senior played a big role in Pryor's decision to come to Ohio State.

Todd Boeckman might have been one of the most crucial players in the Terrelle Pryor sweepstakes, and it's doubtful he had any idea.

At least, that's how head coach Jim Tressel tells the story.

"Terrelle has a real passion to learn from Todd Boeckman," Tressel said. "That was one of the pluses that we had going for us, was that we had a senior quarterback coming back that Terrelle thought he could learn from."

According to Tressel, Pryor contacted him almost immediately upon committing to OSU and asked for Boeckman's cell phone number. The coach obliged, and Pryor quickly got in contact with the reigning all-Big Ten quarterback.

The two have since been nearly inseparable, Tressel said.

"Ever since then, they've had some communication," he said. "Then when he got here this summer, Terrelle's been kind of like his shadow. He's going to room with him in the preseason."

Boeckman said Pryor has been asking him questions throughout the team's summer 7-on-7 workouts. He has also spent time with the freshman in an area particularly important for a young quarterback: the film room.

"I've been in there with him a few times," Boeckman said. "It's tough because it's a whole new experience. You're not used to spending all that time in high school in the film room and doing little things like that. I think it helps slow the game down for you and gives you a better idea of what to expect."

That time in the film room will prove to be vitally important, according to ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit. After speaking to a group of top-level prep quarterbacks at the annual Elite 11 camp in San Juan Capristano, Calif., Herbstreit said he preached one core message to the next group of promising young quarterbacks.

That message was to spend as much time in the film room as humanly possible.

"It's not about who can throw the ball the furthest or who can run the fastest," Herbstreit said. "As a true freshman, sometimes that's hard to grasp because everybody's been telling Terrelle Pryor and every quarterback, ‘You're the greatest. Just keep running, keep throwing, keep doing your thing.' It doesn't work when you're playing at Ann Arbor or Iowa City or Penn State. Everyone runs fast."

The fact that Pryor has apparently sought Boeckman's tutelage is somewhat surprising given that on the surface the two are near polar-opposite quarterbacks. On one hand is Boeckman, an experienced, gritty veteran who likes to throw the deep ball and would rather move the ball through the air than with his feet.

On the other is Pryor, a fleet-footed prospect who nearly accumulated as many yards rushing (4,238) as he did passing (4,340) during his prep career. Because the two bring different skill sets to the table, Tressel said the plan is to find ways to use Pryor in ways Boeckman is not as effective.

The obvious comparison – and one made dozens of times during the Big Ten Football Kickoff in Chicago – is to Florida in 2006, when Chris Leak and Tim Tebow comprised a two-quarterback system that led the Gators to the national championship.

"As you look at how Florida used Tebow with Leak, they didn't put Tebow in to do the things that Leak can do: They put Tebow in to do some things that weren't Leak's major (attributes)," Tressel said. "You would think the same would be true if there were some things that Terrelle can do that perhaps Todd doesn't do, maybe you do it."

The two are linked for the 2008 season. Boeckman will be the starter when the Buckeyes open up against Youngstown State on August 30, and it is expected Pryor will rotate in as his performance during fall camp merits.

And although Pryor seems to be a greater overall athlete than Boeckman, they will remain the apprentice and the master as long as they are both Buckeyes.

It's the ideal situation for the freshman, Boeckman said.

"Obviously he wants to learn and become a better player," he said. "We've got a ways until August 4 to see what he can do with a football in his hands in a whole different atmosphere.

"I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be a lot of fun. I want to compete and hopefully he wants to compete and push me to become a better player."

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