Legs Are Pryor's Second Choice Of Weapons

To the surprise of many, the favorite weapon in Ohio State freshman quarterback Terrelle Pryor's vast arsenal is his right arm rather than his two legs. He showed that Saturday against Troy, but his head coach and teammates had already noticed.

Terrelle Pryor's measurables give the immediate indication that he is not your average player. The combination of being 6-6 and 235 pounds along with a 4.4-second 40-yard dash does not come along on a regular basis, but that's not all that is unconventional about Ohio State's freshman starting quarterback.

How about his overriding desire to stick in the pocket and throw the ball to a buddy rather than take off at the first sign of trouble?

These days college football is full of young, athletic quarterbacks who test defenses with their ability to run, a phenomenon that has been around the game in varying frequencies for many years, but most of more often than not, passing is just a secondary concern for such players.

Ohio State fans can conjure up images of a callow Troy Smith, of course, or even go farther back to the likes of Steve Bellisari or Stanley Jackson for reminders.

Pryor showed several times in his debut as the team's starting quarterback last Saturday that he is a different breed, though, especially for a youngster, by using his legs not just to sprint past defenders but rather to give himself a better lane to throw.

Often those lanes could have worked just fine as paths to run the ball, too.

"He's got a lot of confidence in his feet to move him laterally, but yet still stay in a throwing position," Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said Tuesday. "So many times you see a quarterback start into a running mode and then he can no longer see or deliver as accurately, but (Terrelle) has an ability to stay perpendicular to the line of scrimmage and still keep his eyes up the field."

Rumors of Pryor's propensity to pass first trickled out throughout preseason practice, both from players and Tressel, but the first real public proof occurred Saturday, when he was 10-for16 passing for 139 yards and four touchdowns.

"To tell you the truth, I'd rather throw than run," Pryor said, echoing statements not heard from Smith until his senior campaign, when he won the Heisman Trophy. "That's just me. If I have to run, I'll run to get a first down and get out of bounds just to protect my body. If I have to take a hit, I'll take a hit. It's what the team needs. We have to sacrifice our bodies for each other to get to that level and our goal."

Now the rest of the college football world knows what was already obvious to the Buckeyes.

Ohio State defensive back Kurt Coleman was among those who assumed Pryor was a run-first quarterback until he got to Ohio State, but he saw in preseason practices that was not the case.

"He always stayed in the pocket and looked downfield for wide receivers," Coleman said. "That's what's impressed me the most: He's always tried to make the wide receivers make him look good, and he's done a great job at that. "I knew he could run. He's so athletic that he's always going to find a gap or a crease just to break the run."

One of Pryor's main targets, senior receiver Brian Robiskie, said after the game Saturday that generally seems to be the toughest thing for a young quarterback to learn.

"When stuff breaks down (a young quarterback) wants to hurry up and get out, but you could see it with him back there today with him making stuff happen with his feet and then having faith in his receivers to get open and then getting them the ball."

His receivers know that and respond.

"I think our biggest thing as receivers is just to keep fighting to get open and hopefully he'll find you," Robiskie said. "That's what he did today.

"I think that regardless of what situation he's in, regardless of where the receiver is, if you're open, he's going to find a way to get it to you."


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