Pryor Eager To Grow Up

As a true freshman, Terrelle Pryor guided the Buckeyes to an 8-1 record as the starting quarterback without the benefit of having spring football to go through. This year, Pryor is getting the chance to go through spring drills to improve his game, and according to the man himself there is plenty of room for growth.

More than 24,000 people have viewed the most-watched Terrelle Pryor highlight film on Youtube.com, but it is highly unlikely that Pryor himself is one of them.

In watching film from last year, Pryor has taken away one overall sentiment from the body of work he put forth as a true freshman starting at quarterback for Ohio State: his mistakes were appalling.

"It disgusts me," he said. "I can't believe I didn't know that (then), but now I know it."

So it has gone during the offseason for the Big Ten's freshman of the year who accumulated an 8-1 record as a starter that doesn't include a Fiesta Bowl loss to Texas where he started the first play at wide receiver but primarily served as the team's quarterback. Formerly the No. 1 recruit in the nation, Pryor's freshman year drew national scrutiny as he ascended to the starting spot and experienced some growing pains along the way.

Pryor knows he needs to improve this time around, but that's not just because most media pundits have been saying so since the middle of the season. A perfectionist by trade, Pryor has not been shy this winter about trying to become a better football player.

First up has been his footwork. Then his ability to become a more effective passer. Then some more work on his mechanics. Also, add increased leadership demands to his plate as well.

It has been a spring of fine-tuning for the 6-6, 235-pound Pryor who said he has put on seven or eight pounds of muscle since last season.

"Last year I didn't go through the spring process and now I'm going through it this year," he said. "It's helped me out a lot, going through the film work and getting defenses down and learning all the zone blitzes and stuff. It helps a lot."

As one of just two scholarship quarterbacks in camp this spring, Pryor has been subjected to more demands than ever in his career. Although the Buckeyes have a walk-on taking snaps as well, the OSU coaches ideally like to have four quarterbacks to split reps among.

With three in uniform, Pryor said he has never throw more in his entire life.

"My arm has been a little bit sore," he said. "Nothing major, just a little bit sore. Sometimes in high school camp and my senior year I threw a lot with different reps. I never threw this much. My arm is sore."

Pryor missed a few periods during an April 10 practice and had a bag of ice on his right forearm above his elbow. During Thursday's practice, Pryor had a trainer helping loosen his arm in between drills.

Head coach Jim Tressel said Pryor's desire to improve has helped lead to a little bit of overworking.

"He's one of those guys that he's in there throwing the ball in the indoor (facility) and he's an extremely hard worker," Tressel said. "I think he overdid it a little bit. I think sometimes guys have to learn on their own that you have to pace yourself a little bit. I'd rather have guys overzealous than us having to push them."

His ability to throw the ball remains a work in progress. During practice, Pryor has made some tough throws but has also looked inconsistent at other times. With a little more than a week left before the end of spring practice, assistant quarterbacks coach Nick Siciliano said he is happy with where his star pupil is.

"I'm real happy with the way he's progressed so far," Siciliano said. "I can't say that I'm not."

After watching film of Pryor's mechanics from when he first arrived to where it is now, Siciliano described the difference as night and day. The coach said that Pryor's overall appearance is smoother than it last year, and that is translating into a better overall quarterback.

"The one thing you guys don't understand is he works at it," he said. "He doesn't expect to just show up and have everything fall into place. He really works hard at it."

In order for the Buckeyes to make a run at another Big Ten title, they will need Pryor to make a big leap from his freshman to his sophomore year. The quarterback himself said he can feel the game slowing down, and his teammates have praised him for his leadership abilities. In that vein, backup quarterback Joe Bauserman – who has looked to be the better passer throughout much of the spring – has conceded on numerous occasions that he knows Pryor is the team's leader.

It's a fact that Pryor himself is aware of – and one that drives him.

"On the offensive side, that's my offense and I'm going to run it," he said. "That's how it's going to be.

"I had to grow up (last year) and it's just going to keep getting easier and easier and easier. I feel I'm going to become a great leader."


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