Pryor Continuing On Evolution

Last week, Terrelle Pryor talked about being more relaxed after the Buckeyes' upset loss at Purdue. That appeared to make a world of difference on the field as Ohio State dispatched Minnesota on Saturday. Wednesday night, Pryor talked about keeping the good vibes going, discussing the big things he did well and some little things, too.

There's little doubt that the Ohio State football team had a winning performance on the field when it drubbed Big Ten rival Minnesota 38-7 on Saturday in Ohio Stadium.

As for quarterback Terrelle Pryor – who posted 343 yards of total offense and accounted for three touchdowns – well, he was close.

"His decision-making grade was very close to a winning performance," head coach Jim Tressel said. "Just got to do some of the little things, but we're getting there. We're working."

According to Pryor, who spoke to reporters Wednesday night as part of what is becoming a weekly meeting with the media, those little things continue to be big parts of what he's trying to do. Take, for example, run fakes after he hands off the ball to one of Ohio State's ever-changing cast of tailbacks.

"There's more to a winning performance than stats, like run fakes and stuff like that, things that you need to do," Pryor said. "Coach always explains to me, you need them thinking, maybe do a little fake-out and try to take someone with you as a decoy and maybe you can break a run or what not. That's really what a winning performance is."

So continues the education of Pryor, who – much to the excitement of Ohio State fans – could talk about the little things more in depth after getting more of the big things right against the Golden Gophers.

He had struggled the week prior against Purdue, losing four turnovers during the then-No. 7 Buckeyes' upset loss against the Boilermakers. After that performance, many wondered aloud whether Pryor's skills were being best used by the Ohio State coaching stuff, some going so far as to question if the former No. 1 prospect in the nation should be moved to receiver.

Pryor said he didn't listen to the criticism, instead staying on task and continuing to do what the coaching staff had asked of him. The result was what appeared to be a breakout performance for an athlete who looked more composed and confident in the pocket than perhaps ever before.

"I just felt real comfortable, and it's the same thing right now," he said. "The playbook was pretty good. The coaches narrowed it down to a real good, comfortable-type of playbook. I think we all felt real good about it."

According to quarterbacks coach Nick Siciliano, that was a continuation of progress Pryor has made in practices in the past weeks – growth that didn't always show up on the field as the offense barely played against Wisconsin and then couldn't get out of its own way against Purdue.

"The last four weeks, he's really practiced well," Siciliano said. "He has. That's a fact. Now, we didn't play as well as we could play every week, but he has practiced well and his demeanor has been a little bit more relaxed. It's just been great because he's been able to breathe a little bit. That's always helpful when you can breathe."

Everything came to a head against Minnesota, as Pryor directed an Ohio State offense that put up more than 500 yards for the second time this year. Pryor himself had just the third 200-yard passing and 100-yard rushing game in school history, his second of the season after the Toledo game.

"I was never worried about him during that game," Siciliano said, "because he was prepared, just like he always has been. He prepares, he goes out there and he tries to execute exactly what you ask him to do, and that's all you can ask."

Pryor himself spent time with reporters Wednesday night talking about how important it was to go through progressions, noting that he had been counseled on avoiding locking onto receivers and how one of the most important things he could do on every play was to know who could take away each pass he wants to throw.

And a few after saying he felt he could hold his own as a quarterback, Pryor gave another update on how he feels his progression is coming along.

"It ain't Tom Brady or Peyton Manning yet," he said. "But I mean, I feel pretty good in the progress. I get more comfortable every day and I feel more comfortable throwing my deep routes and I just feel more comfortable period. That's the main thing. Once you know who can take it away and who's your movement key, it's there."

With a nonconference contest against New Mexico State coming up, Pryor said he'd like to continue to keep the good vibes going.

"I just can't wait to get this week over and get to Saturday," he said. "Tomorrow is a big day too because we have to wake up early and go to the quarterback meeting just to learn more things. I'm always interested in learning more things just to provide my end for the team."


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