Pryor Ready To Light Up Scoreboard

Although it has shown flashes of promise, the Ohio State offense has been stuck in second gear for large portions of the 2009 season. Sophomore quarterback Terrelle Pryor expressed his confidence in his abilities and the team as a whole and feels things could soon be changing.

Terrelle Pryor feels that the Ohio State offense is ready to erupt and the explosion could take place as soon as this Saturday.

After a game where the Buckeyes had the ball for only 17:13 and had 40 offensive plays in a game where the offense scored just one touchdown, the sophomore quarterback said he remains confident that the team has the pieces necessary to be a dangerous offense as it takes to the road to face Purdue.

And he likes the allusion to an explosion waiting to happen as posed to him by a reporter.

"Some offensive teams don't get to their peak until the middle of the season," he said Wednesday night. "We're still looking for some stuff, but I feel we're starting to get timing down a lot better. The coaches are coming up with greater plays. We've got guys willing to play and fight.

"I can vibe with the explosion waiting to happen. I like the way you put it."

Now Pryor and the Buckeyes will have to show it on the field. The numbers so far this season by and large have not been pretty. OSU ranks 86th in the country in total offense at 338.33 yards per game and sit 108th in the nation in passing offense with 166.17 yards per game. At the center of that sits Pryor, who has shown flashes of being a standout player in his first full season as a starter.

Through the first six games of his sophomore season, Pryor sits seventh in the conference at 132.3 – a figure that is 15 points lower than last year's mark of 146.5. The statistic hurting that rating the most is Pryor's six interceptions, a figure that is higher than last year's total for the season (four).

Much has been made about Pryor's line this season, but quarterbacks coach Nick Siciliano said he is fully behind his starter and that there are no plans to have Joe Bauserman replace Pryor – or to move him to wide receiver.

"Obviously he's doing some things well for us or he wouldn't be out there," Siciliano said. "He's producing for us. He's not perfect every week or every game. We're just trying to get better every day."

Both Pryor and Siciliano said they feel that the expectations for Pryor have exceeded what he can possibly do. He entered the year as a dark horse candidate for the Heisman Trophy despite the fact that he does not hail from a high school program that has a lineage of grooming elite passing quarterbacks.

Awards like that will come, Pryor said, but the main focus right now is on winning games – no matter how it looks.

"I guess I was coming out as a Heisman hopeful or whatever, but sometimes it's good to see the team win better than getting yourself accomplishments," Pryor said. "That stuff will come, believe me. That stuff will come later on."

Looking back on the Wisconsin game, Pryor said the coaches have pinpointed a problem in his footwork that has been fixed this week in practice.

"I just keep getting more and more confident every week," Pryor said. "Last week we just didn't have the ball enough to even get into it, but I felt like sometimes my feet got a little antsy this week. I feel a lot more confident this week and I feel a lot better about my footwork."

Regarding his footwork, Siciliano said Pryor has progressed "200 percent" from where he was a year ago in that category. As the coach pointed out, there is a learning curve that Pryor is still working through as he tries to perfect his craft.

A player with Pryor's talents will always have some risk with the reward, Siciliano said, likening him to NFL quarterback Brett Favre, the league's all-time passing leader who has tossed his fair share of interceptions in his career. The task each week is to continue working on Pryor to help him become more poised and patient, the coach said.

"He can make something out of nothing," Siciliano said, pointing out Pryor's 27-yard scramble on the lone touchdown drive against the Badgers that saw him turn a broken play into a positive.

There is still obviously room to grow, but Pryor said he likes his chances this weekend.

"I find a way every week to get confident, but I feel really confident about this week," Pryor said. "I really feel like I've got something down with my footwork and I feel like our timing is real good this week. Coach is putting in some pretty good plays this week too and I think we can light up the scoreboard."

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