Pryor Shows Passing Abilities In Spring Game

A record crowd for the Ohio State spring game saw Terrelle Pryor enjoy a big day through the air. The sophomore quarterback completed 13 of 18 passes for 191 yards and two long touchdowns while showing off an improved passing attack that has been under work since he first arrived in Columbus.

Terrelle Pryor knows that the nation thinks he can not throw the ball, but a record crowd for a spring game saw some evidence to the contrary.

In the span of 30 seconds, the Ohio State quarterback tossed two touchdowns that each went for more than 40 yards. During his freshman season, Pryor had just one touchdown pass that went for more yards, and it came against the worst Michigan team in program history.

But in front of a national spring game-record crowd of 95,722, Pryor completed 13 of 18 passes for 191 yards and the two scores in what amounted to two quarters' worth of action.

"Honestly, the media and all Ohio or whoever is saying I can't throw the ball as good, you saw it today," he said. "The world saw it today. I can throw the ball. I'm a quarterback who can run."

Each of his touchdown passes came in the face of a wind that nearly reached 20 miles an hour and showed off different aspects of his game. The first came on a soaring throw to a streaking Taurian Washington, who had gotten behind starting cornerback Chimdi Chekwa.

With one foot planted just inside the Block ‘O' logo at midfield, Pryor showed off his arm strength and threw the ball from his own 46-yard line, where Washington had to make a slight adjustment to come up with it in the end zone. Officially, it went for 44 yards.

One onside kick and 30 seconds later, Pryor connected with Ray Small down the opposite sideline. After the catch, the wideout made two defenders miss and danced into the end zone to complete the 42-yard touchdown pass.

The second one was an example of how far Pryor said he feels he has progressed as a quarterback.

"I saw a Cover-2 (defense) and a strong-side rotation," he said. "I saw Ray, he made a good move. I saw the corner right there and said, ‘I'm going to throw this in there.' "

Asked if that is different from how he felt as a freshman, Pryor said, "It's a lot different. I know the defenses. That's amazing."

Although Pryor led the Big Ten in passing efficiency while being thrust into the starting role as a true freshman, he largely got by on his athletic ability more than anything else. His 1,311 passing yards marked the second-lowest single-season total to lead the Buckeyes in the last 12 seasons.

This spring, the focus has been on improving his footwork and helping improve his mechanics. The spring game was the first chance for the public to see the improvements.

"I think I played exceptionally well," Pryor said after the game. "I'm getting better at the little things, footwork, throwing the ball in there and learning the offense and getting better. I think we got a little bit better today."

During the first quarter, Pryor was in a non-contact black jersey and completed 3 of 5 passes for 33 yards while being sacked once. With the black jersey off, Pryor was live to run in the second half but instead stayed in the pocket and completed 10 of 13 passes for 158 yards and the two scores while being sacked twice.

Head coach Jim Tressel admitted that the Buckeyes only showed off a small portion of their offense but said that Pryor will be tasked with some of the same things he was asked to do in the spring game.

"There was enough stuff that you're going to see that type of thing as we go along the season," Tressel said. "To have a day throwing crisp into that wind, I thought was very positive. I thought when you put in the time and efforts that Terrelle does … you're going to get some results. Terrelle's an extremely hard worker."

No wide receivers who made catches were made available for postgame interviews, but defensive lineman Doug Worthington said the day was an example of the progress he has seen in Pryor since last season.

"He's been putting in a lot of hard work," Worthington said. "Sometimes when not even asked he goes out there and throws the ball. He knows what he can do. I think TP is getting very, very confident, and when you have confidence with that kind of talent, it's going to be a great, great combination."

This summer, Pryor said his focus will remain on improving his footwork and learning from past mistakes through work in the film room. Making strides in those areas will help him to become a better passer in the fall, he said.

"I may not even throw the ball this summer," he said. "I may just work on footwork and watch a lot of film because my arm will always be there. I lift a lot and I'll always have that strength. I'll just keep learning the routes, take my footwork with it and I'll be fine. I'll keep studying film every day and get better at that."

If the level of growth displayed by Pryor this spring continues over into the fall, Buckeye fans might have another reason to get excited about the season.

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