OSU Figuring Out How To Use Pryor

Ohio State fans have been clamoring to see what true freshman Terrelle Pryor can do on the field from the moment he stepped on campus in June. As it turns out, the Buckeye coaching staff is also wondering, and as the team inches closer to the season opener the evaluations are ongoing for Pryor.

At every step of the way this fall, the questions have been asked of the Ohio State coaching staff.

How much will Terrelle Pryor play this season, and what sort of role can he expect to have on a team boasting a returning senior quarterback?

Now a full 10 days into fall camp and just 15 days away from the season-opening game against Youngstown State, the Buckeyes are still seeking answers to those types of questions themselves. The first real chance to find out what Pryor might be able to provide will come tomorrow, when the Buckeyes host their annual jersey scrimmage.

"I think that there's a lot of guys in that class that we'll see after Saturday," OSU offensive coordinator Jim Bollman said. "We'll make a lot of assessments depending on how that goes."

Perhaps owing to the secrecy that has surrounded much of Pryor's time on campus, the scrimmage is closed to the media for the first time since the 2005 season.

Pryor is working as the third-string quarterback behind incumbent starter Todd Boeckman and redshirt freshman Joe Bauserman, who has apparently impressed the coaching staff with his growth since the spring.

Should he see playing time, it is likely that would be in a role similar to the one Florida utilized for Tim Tebow during the 2006 season. However, Bollman cautioned against drawing direct parallels between Pryor and the reigning Heisman Trophy winner.

"I think they're different," he said of the situations. "I think to a certain extent that's done with a lot of personnel. I think sometimes when you've got a different tailback in there, what type of different things do you do with that tailback? No matter what position it is, if those people or person is in the game, there can be some adjustment to what they can do."

However, junior center Jim Cordle admitted that the Buckeyes had been spending more time working out of the shotgun than in previous years, forcing him to work on perfecting the snap.

"I guess we're going a little more shotgun this year," he said. "I don't know how it's going to play out because we're working on new stuff as compared to last year."

He declined to speculate as to what kind of new looks the offense might have, citing the fact that the Buckeyes were still not yet halfway through camp.

One consensus seems clear though: Pryor has plenty of natural ability with the ball in his hands.

"The other day we were in five-man pro and he take it 45 yards down the sideline for a touchdown and outruns the guy who had the angle on him," senior left guard Steve Rehring said. "From where I was standing on the field, it was impressive. It looked like he was going to get hit, but he took it past him and got the angle."

Rehring then drew a comparison to a standout former OSU quarterback who eventually became a Heisman Trophy winner.

"It's like Troy (Smith) during his sophomore year," he said. "He's confident in his abilities. He still has to learn, ‘On this play, this is your first read, now that's your second read, now throw the ball away.' Right now he's learning the system. Sometimes he tries to make too much happen, but he can take it 20 yards down the field."

In the next week or so, Bollman said the OSU coaching staff will have to start putting the pieces together for the season and projecting which players will have an impact this year. Those meetings will determine what sort of role – if any – Pryor will have this season.

While not quite all signs are pointing to yes just yet concerning Pryor's ability to play a significant role on the offense this season, Bollman admitted the freshman had been impressive thus far.

"We're still in a general deal right now, (but) you can really see his athleticism when he gets a chance to get out there and run around," he said. "He catches your eye, that's for sure."


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