Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Terrelle Pryor Is Officially an "Alpha-Athlete" and Other Buckeye Bits

by Tim Bielik
BlockONation Analyst

Shaun King of ESPN's College Football Live was quoted as saying that QB Terrelle Pryor was an "alpha-athlete," and a recent piece of news might have just confirmed it.

Strength and conditioning coach Eric Lichter deemed Pryor as the fastest Buckeye with a reported 40-yard dash time of 4.33. That is not a misprint.

It's not too typical that your quarterback is faster than the defensive backs and wide receivers on your team. Then again, Pryor is not your typical dual-threat at 6'6'' and 240 pounds.

This is not to say that it means too much because the 40 time is just a stat and not necessarily indicative of "football speed," or how fast the player plays.

The one thing that will matter in Columbus is how Pryor can throw the football.

Early reports out of Columbus are that Pryor has worked hard on his throwing motion and footwork in order to try to put more zip on his throws.

Pryor can throw a decent long ball, but most of his throws seemed to sail and be soft. Then again, with the majority of plays going to Beanie Wells on the ground, the scheme didn't really give him much opportunity for repetition throwing in game situations.

With Wells gone, the offense is squarely on No. 2's shoulders. Thus, developing a better passing technique is critical to his development.

Regardless of his speed, it won't mean much if he doesn't have the throwing ability to keep defenses honest.

The player most experts compare Pryor to, former Texas superstar Vince Young, took time to develop as a passer before he became deadly.

Doing it in practice is one thing. Pryor has to prove himself in games in which he is, in his words, "a QB that can run" rather than a running QB.

Other Buckeye news

  • The three early favorites for starting linebacker spots seem to be Brian Rolle, Austin Spitler, and Ross Homan. Former teammates have raved at Spitler's ability, but that his status on the depth chart limited his opportunities.

    Meanwhile, fans have raved about Rolle's speed and his big-hitting ability and how he can be an assassin defensively for the Buckeyes in whatever role he has. Homan's experience as a starter may have him penciled in to the third spot for now.

  • WR Ray Small has the ability to be a star, but has to work on putting the mental and physical parts of the game together.

    He said that his problems are in the past and he is ready to go full gear in 2009. If he can, expect him to line up opposite DeVier Posey on the starting offense at wide receiver.

    He probably will remain the punt returner, where he excelled last season with several great returns, including an 81-yarder against Michigan.

  • Recent reports confirmed that troubled freshman RB Jaamal Berry is eligible to play in 2009. With the ineligibility of Carlos Hyde, Berry's assured status on the team ensures that the Buckeyes can be three-deep at RB.

  • Fall practice begins Aug. 10, and updates on what to expect from the Buckeyes came from the Big Ten Media Day this past Monday and Tuesday.

    Ohio State's player reps at the Media Days were seniors Jake Ballard, Kurt Coleman, and Doug Worthington. These players are expected to be favorites when it comes to deciding the team's captains for 2009.

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