Scrimmage A Learning Experience For Pryor

Terrelle Pryor was limited by a black jersey for much of the team's jersey scrimmage, but that was not the only lesson the quarterback learned at the hands of the Ohio State defense. Find out what they were and how they affected the scrimmage in this update.

The last time Terrelle Pryor tasted defeat in Ohio Stadium, he was inconsolable as he walked off the field.

This time, the stakes were not nearly as high and his gaze was not as low as he trudged off the turf, but the Ohio State quarterback had a hand in two key plays that helped hand the team's annual jersey scrimmage over to the defense. After having been limited by a black jersey signifying that he was off-limits to opposing pass rushers, Pryor was let loose in the second half of a scrimmage that had been largely dominated by the defense to that point.

Faced with a third-and-3 from the 4-yard line, Pryor rolled to his right and tried to force a pass to Lamaar Thomas in the front corner of the end zone. Devon Torrence anticipated the throw and jumped in front of Thomas, hauling in the interception.

Then, on the final series of the scrimmage, Pryor was whistled for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty while jawing with defensive lineman Cameron Heyward with the offense poised to tie the game pending a point-after attempt. The penalty knocked the kick back to the 25-yard line, and Aaron Pettrey's attempt sailed wide right to hand the defense a 56-55 victory.

Pryor was not made available for interviews after the game, but Tressel pointed to those two plays as learning moments for his starting quarterback.

"You didn't want either of those things to happen," Tressel said. "I think those would have been good lessons because you could've got three points out of the one that ended up being a pick. That's a great lesson that when you're in the red zone you've got to come up with something."

For the game, Pryor was unofficially credited as going 8 for 13 for 72 yards with the interception. He carried the ball 12 times for -19 yards thanks to the sacks.

As for the late penalty, Tressel said Pryor was set up by a defense that had looked particularly stout for the majority of the scrimmage.

"I think the one at the end, those guys on defense did a good job that whole scrimmage of chirping," Tressel said. "You didn't really have a chance to chirp back for about two hours and all of a sudden you've got your first chance to chirp back and you're guilty. They did a good job of setting him up. That'll be a good lesson."

Pryor was not alone in defeat, however. The offensive line allowed 13 sacks to the defense – although only two of them came with the quarterbacks live – in a game played with a scoring system that allows points for plays such as defensive stops and first downs.

It was not until the back end of the scrimmage that Pryor and the other quarterbacks were live. With that change, offensive lineman Jim Cordle said the players in the offense huddle could sense a different vibe coming from the defense.

"They are not nervous about him running," Cordle said. "They know he can't take off because they'll blow the whistle. They can tee up and come after him and run around real fast, and they're not worried about their responsibilities as much. I think it changes for the defense."

Tressel said that it took until after the first series for Pryor to plead with him to take the black jersey of. Once he finally did, Cordle said Pryor exuded a new level of confidence that was then reflected in his play.

"He's definitely pumped," Cordle said. "He said, I've got it (off), it's time for real football."

On the final drive that ended in a touchdown run by Dan Herron, Pryor picked up 16 yards on a scramble around the right end that likely would have been blown dead had he been wearing the black jersey. Instead, it put the ball five yards from the goal line.

Tressel has used the same tactic with the black jerseys before with his quarterbacks. Early in his career, Troy Smith was often saddled with a black jersey in an effort to teach him to stay in the pocket and make plays. The move helped Smith develop into a more confident passer who earned the 2006 Heisman Trophy.

The head coach said he has similar motivations this time around for Pryor.

"When Troy was here and he was young, sometimes he allowed the fact that he had to be in black distract his thinking and that he was more disappointed in not being able to do something he was able to do, but in the long run it teaches you some lessons," Tressel said. "I think Terrelle will be a similar case."

In addition, Tressel pointed out, the move helps protect the quarterback from injury.

Black jersey or not, Pryor's penalty at the end of the game helped secure a victory for the defense. Despite that, tight end Jake Ballard said there are no hard feelings on either side of the ball.

"Attitudes are high and everybody is playing as hard as they can, so there's going to be some talking," he said. "It's just friendly talk. We're all on the same team when we get back in the locker room."


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