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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Illinois is wasting Arrelious Benn

In junior Arrelious Benn, the Illinois Fighting Illini houses one of the most talented receivers in college football.

Of course, you wouldn’t know that based on the way Ron Zook and quarterback Juice Williams waste Benn’s talent every week.

Zook said this summer that the Illini needed to find more ways to get the ball into Benn’s hands, which included giving him touches on the ground and in the return game. But so far, Benn has only received one carry this season (he gained eight yards on the play), which came last week in a 30-0 loss to Ohio State.

Granted, Benn suffered an ankle injury against Missouri in the opening week of the season, which limited his production against Illinois State in Week 2. But his ankle was fine last week when he caught just four passes for 33 yards in the loss to the Buckeyes.

One factor that has affected Benn’s opportunities in the offense has been the play of Williams. Despite Zook and the Illini’s attempt to make Williams the face of the program this summer, the senior has struggled dramatically in the first three games and appears to have regressed as a passer.

In Columbus on Saturday, Williams struggled with his decision-making and accuracy, and even when he found open receivers he didn’t hit them in stride. Benn was given little opportunity to make plays after the catch, which is something that could benefit Illinois’ passing game immensely.

If Zook sticks with Williams and the quarterback continues to struggle, we may never see Benn reach his full potential. And for a receiver with NFL-caliber skills, that’s a major disappointment. Zook needs to find ways to get Benn more opportunities to showcase his talent in Illinois’ offense.

Couch Potato Alert: 9/26

Alabama vs. Georgia
This game has actually exceeded all pre-season expectations, since the matchup now pits two top-10 teams against each other. Nick Saban is leading his Crimson Tide into Athens for a program temperature check. How much have they improved will be determined “between the hedges” against the undefeated Bulldogs on Saturday night. Coverage begins at 7:45PM EST on ESPN. Click here for the official Alabama-Georgia smack thread.

Illinois vs. Penn State
Both schools will open conference play on Saturday evening at Beaver Stadium. The key matchup pits swift-footed Fighting Illini quarterback Juice Williams against the #1 defense in the Big Ten. After throwing for over 400 yards against Missouri in the season opener, Williams has since struggled with his passing efficiency and will go against a defense that has only allowed two passing touchdowns on the season. Joe Paterno is trying to avenge a tough loss last year in Champagne. Regional coverage begins at 8 PM EST on ABC.

Major League Baseball
How exciting will baseball be this weekend? Well, considering five teams (Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets, and Milwaukee Brewers) are competing for three playoff spots, the excitement level is pretty high. The weather could be the biggest opponent for the teams on the East Coast, as the forecast calls for 80-90 percent chance of rain throughout the weekend. It’s difficult to imagine the amount of chaos several rainouts will bring to the end of the season. But there’s a good possibility that one, two, or three teams will have to play a 163rd or makeup game to break a tie on Monday or Tuesday. Check your local listing on ESPN, Fox Sports, and TBS on game coverage this weekend.

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