Terrelle Pryor’s HS coach: Tressel should let him run more

Ohio State sophomore quarterback Terrelle Pryor’s high school coach doesn’t like the way Jim Tressel is utilizing his former star.

From ESPN.com:

“They need Terrelle to run more,” former Jeannette (Pa.) High School coach Ray Reitz said. “They’ve put the reins on him and they need to let him go free. When I watch Terrelle play right now, I see a robot.”

Reitz, now the coach at Latrobe High, said Pryor was recruited on the premise of a more diverse offense.

“All I know is they promised him that they would teach him a pro-style system with both a shotgun and under center,” Reitz said. “Jim Tressel is a great coach and he’s been running his offense successfully for 30 years. But I’d like to see some zone-read plays where with one mistake [by the defense], he can be gone. With some zone-read plays, they wouldn’t be able to take away all the outside runs because he’d being a threat to go between the tackles.”

Reitz said he believes that Pryor is being affected by criticism — though he would never admit it.

“It’s gotten to the point where I turn the volume down when watching TV now,” Reitz said. “I believe the criticism has seeped into his mind. I’m sure there are some mechanical issues. But all I know is he was accurate when he was in high school.”

Reitz said it would be a mistake to move Pryor to wide receiver — a move which Tressel said does not figure into his plans.

“He would be a great wide receiver or even a great linebacker,” Reitz said. “But that doesn’t mean you should move him from quarterback. In fact, I don’t think he’d agree to a move to wide receiver. Give him time to grow. Put the ball in his hands and if there is a breakdown let him run. It doesn’t look to me like he’s relaxed. It doesn’t look like he has rhythm. It doesn’t look like he’s comfortable.”

Tressel’s questionable game planning and playcalling aside, Pryor hasn’t shown that he can handle even the basic fundamentals of the position yet. His footwork is sloppy, his mechanics aren’t sound and he isn’t accurate. So this notion that Tressel isn’t using him effectively is a moot point right now because Pryor needs to figure out the basics of the position first.

But I agree with Reitz that Pryor shouldn’t be moved to another position yet. If he continues to regress at quarterback, then Tressel can re-assess the situation at the end of the year. But Pryor is only a sophomore and is still learning so at least for the time being, OSU should continue to try to shape him as a quarterback before moving him to another position.

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Should Ohio State bench Terrelle Pryor?

Gerardo Orlando of Cleveland Scores wonders whether or not Ohio State should bench highly touted sophomore quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

As an Ohio State fan, it’s hard to imagine watching Pryor play quarterback for two more seasons. The Buckeyes are loaded on defense, and they have a solid offense as well, even with a mediocre offensive line. All they need right now to compete is a quarterback who can hit open receivers and avoid turnovers. They don’t need a Vince Young or even a Troy Smith. Put Craig Krenzel on this team and the Buckeyes are competing for a national championship. Instead, we have the Terrelle Pryor train wreck, and an excellent defense is being wasted.

Pryor chose Ohio State because he wanted a program that could help him develop as a future NFL quarterback. That seems like a pipe dream now. The kid needs to focus on just being a competent college quarterback.

What should Tressel do? Would sitting Pryor help? Tressel needs to consider this if Pryor continues to turn over the football. He owes it to the other players on the team.

In the meantime, short of benching Pryor, Tressel needs to rethink what he’s trying to do on offense (the issue of Tressel calling the plays will be addressed another time). We can see he’s already tried to incorporate the option more into the offense, but we’re seeing that Pryor’s instincts aren’t much better there. Perhaps with practice he’ll get better, as the option at least plays to his running ability. Tressel should toss aside a good chunk of the playbook and go to a much simpler offense. Focus on running the football, the option, and other Wildcat-type plays, and have Pryor make much simpler throws that play off the running game. Dig up old tape from Oklahoma and Nebraska from the 1970’s, or even most of the Woody Hayes years. Keep it simple until the kid shows he can handle more.

Buckeye fans often get frustrated with Tressel’s conservative play-calling, but opening up the offense is not the solution here. He has to pull things back and start over. And, if Pryor can’t cut it in a simpler offense, then Tressel will have to make a change.

Well said. I could get into all of the things Pryor is currently struggling with, but the article does a nice job going into detail about the sophomore quarterback’s issues with arm strength, accuracy, mechanics, pocket presence, decision-making and leadership.

I find it interesting that Pryor was between Ohio State and Michigan two years ago and he might have been a better fit for Rich Rodriguez’s offense than Tressel’s. Not that Pryor has run the option well at OSU, but at least Rich Rod could have exploited Pryor’s running abilities.

That said, hindsight is always 20/20. If Pryor isn’t cut out to be a collegiate quarterback, then Ann Arbor wasn’t going to solve his issues.

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