Living in Cincinnati, Ohio I am constantly inundated by Ohio State Buckeyes fans. For outsiders not from the Buckeye State, folks tend to feel that Buckeye fans are out of their freaking minds and tend to have an over-inflated viewpoint of their beloved football team. I'll admit, when I first moved here, I felt the same way. However, after thinking about it, I realized that Buckeye fans are JUST LIKE Oklahoma Sooner fans. They are the only football game that matters on Saturday or Sunday to a degree. Yes, that was a dig at the Bengals and Browns. Sorry.
As it stands, the next golden child taking snaps under center in Columbus is one Terrelle Pryor. The Junior signal caller physically has every tool you want in a quarterback; strong throwing arm, height, mobility, and wide receiver speed. With the growing perception in Ohio that his ability to "read" as in the defense has steadily improved, he is now drawing comparison to a former nemesis of my favorite college football team, one Vince Young. What made Vince great at the University of Texas more than his arm, his mobility, and congeniality with his teammates was that VY10 always had comment of the moment. Kenny and I had the conversation and came to the agreement that Vince Young was the greatest big game player in our college football lifetime.
TP2's biggest game was against an Oregon team who has shown the propensity to commit multiple crimes and play no defense. Are we REALLY ready to say he's the next Vince Young? There's only one person to talk to about this…Jim Tressel.
Jim Tressel in many ways reminds of Mack Brown prior to Vince Young's arrival in Austin. Although Tressel won that
Why do I bring this up? Because for the last 2-3 months, the only thing I've heard about Ohio State (who arguably might have the best defense in all of college football) is that this will be the year that Tressel takes the shackles off of Pryor and let's him loose. Okay...so what makes us think that would be a good thing for Ohio State and for TP2? Last time I checked Terrelle Pryor was about as accurate as Mitch Williams hurling off the mound for the Phillies. (Sorry Rev.) Plus, the biggest thing that ultimately helped Vince was that they changed up the offense to utilize Vince's strengths and cover up his weaknesses.
Texas ran essentially the spread option. Vince would literally do a read-option play from shotgun and based off the defense would do one of 3 things: 1) Give the ball to the halfback 2) Keep the ball and run 3) Keep the ball and pass to a specific receiver. That's it! He wasn't picking apart defenses by making multiple reads, he was picking apart defenses within the initial 2-3 seconds of the play itself. Less thinking, more instinctual. Ultimately, that formula made Vince the big game collegiate QB we all came to appreciate. (And that Heisman that Reggie Bush "lost" due to sanctions belonged to Vince a long time ago after he took it in the '06 Rose Bowl National Championship game vs. USC)
So after watching extensive film (YouTube) of Pryor and the Buckeyes offense of last year, they've been running the spread option as well. TP2 is rolling out more, and making plays with his feet, and making some decent throws. However, if you all are hell bent on calling TP2 the next VY10, then I need to see Pryor take Ohio State to juggernaut status. Taking Ohio State to, "We will not lose" status. I remember those days when Oklahoma played Vince at the height of his superpowers, and I just remember feeling helpless. That's how it is when you go up against great players. Texas fans (if they have an honest bone in their body) would admit this same feeling playing against Adrian Peterson or Quentin Griffin.
Trust me, I want Terrelle to take that next step. I know that JAG has already anointed Pryor as the 7th Buckeye to win the Heisman in 2010, and that Ohio State's expectation is national championship or bust. I'm still cautious to give the man the throne, but its his for the taking.
Can he do it? Let's find out.
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