Pryor Ready To Lead

Any quarterback will be asked to lead his team by nature of playing that position, but how much will Terrelle Pryor have to lead the 2009 Ohio State Buckeyes? Pryor, head coach Jim Tressel and quarterbacks coach Nick Siciliano offer their insight into the situation.

It might not be his team yet, but Terrelle Pryor views this as his offense to lead.

As a true freshman, Pryor was thrust into the quarterback position on an Ohio State team with 28 seniors and the limelight that comes with the situation. Now, the Big Ten's reigning freshman of the year is getting ready for a sophomore season where he is the unquestioned leader of the offense.

But the question is whether or not Pryor will be a captain on this year's team. It appears that that he will fulfill those roles whether or not he has the title.

"It's the seniors," he said after pausing for the right words. "I don't want to say anything. If I was elected to do that, it would be great. It's up to the seniors. They've been here for five, six years and they should be captains and lead the team. I'll lead the offense because it's my offense, it's Joe Bauserman's offense. We're going to lead the team offensively the way we need to and make sure we get it done."

In other words, Pryor will be the captain of the offense by default because he is the quarterback. That is a mentality he began to grasp last season when he was thrust into the starting job following the third game of the season.

"In practice I'm working on being a leader," he said. "I think I'm picking up pretty well. I'm just trying to make sure they hustle to the ball, make sure they clap out of the huddles, little things like that. It brings the team together, and especially the offense together. The offense has to be clicking all the time and that's what we're working on."

Anyone who questions his commitment to his teammates needs only to look at his right arm. Emblazoned there is a lengthy tattoo featuring buckeye leaves, buckeyes and the OSU Block "O" logo. The quarterback got the tattoo following his freshman season with the Buckeyes to symbolize his devotion to his teammates, he said.

"These guys right here are my brothers," Pryor said. "I'd die for them and I play for them. There's nothing like being a team and being with these types of players. They're hungry. (I'm) sweating with them and bleeding with them, sweating with them in the runs."

During the Big Ten football kickoff July 27-28, Tressel said he would be reluctant to name Pryor a captain because he did not want to put too much pressure on his shoulders.

The Buckeyes were picked as the preseason No. 6 team in the country in the USA Today/Coaches poll, and Tressel credited some of that simply to how well-known Pryor is across the country.

"A lot of times people do some of their voting on who's returning," he said. "The people outside of our region are very aware of Terrelle returning and the notoriety he has and the ability he has. That right there might cast a ballot in some coaches' minds.

"The thing you love about Terrelle is all he wants to do is all he can for this team. He cares deeply about them. He cares deeply about his performance. He's a competitive guy."

Surrounded by two dozen media members while seated at the end of the temporary bleachers erected on the field at Ohio Stadium for the team's annual photo/media day, Pryor said he is accustomed to the pressures that come with being the most recognizable face on the team in just his second year.

"I've grown to control it because I've been going through it since the 10th grade," he said. "It's second nature now. You'd rather have it than not, but that's what comes with it.

"This is what I do. I play football and I love doing it. I wouldn't pick anything over it besides family. I would die for this. I'd die to play football. This is what I want to do and this is what we do."

This year's team has 15 seniors on scholarship including Ray Small and Robert Rose, who did not open fall camp with the Buckeyes. Quarterbacks coach Nick Siciliano said he is seeing a more mature Pryor, but does not feel he has to be the main leader on the team in order for OSU to be successful.

"We've got some pretty good senior leadership," Siciliano said. "That's really where you're going to find out where your team is at is based on your seniors. Of course we're going to ask him to help out in that mold because he is a quarterback and that is part of the job description, but he will be fine when it's all said and done."

Pryor said he is ready to lead his guys however the team needs him to do so.

"This is where I live now," he said. "This is my home. It's in my blood, now. I love Ohio State football, scarlet and gray."

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