Terrelle Pryor turned the ball over 4 times and could have been responsible for more if not for two dropped interceptions and one recovered fumble. Pryor's play was bad enough to cause the Buckeye Nation to cry for his benching during the entire second half. It was the third quarter and Pryor had already caused 4 turnovers when(on consecutive plays) he threw the ball right at Boilermakers. Thankfully, they dropped the interceptions. I said to myself, "If he goes out there again - I'm going to be upset(only I didn't say 'upset'). Well, he went out there again.... and again... and again. Down 23-7 late, Pryor finally led the Buckeyes on their first productive drive since the first quarter. The result:a field goal from the one and a half yard line. Purdue countered with a FG of their own - basically voiding the previous drive and eating the clock like a stint in the waiting room at your local Doctors' office. If there was ever an example of the fruitless futility of Tressel-ball - that was it.
Buckeye fans are undoubtedly too critical, too fanatical, too brash, and too 'football intelligent', or at least think they are, but when Jim Tressel addressed whether or not he had thought about benching Pryor for Bauserman, he said, "No" - drawing a mouth-dropping, forehead-curling reaction from the room, and from the entire Buckeye Nation. He didn't say," I thought about it" or, "I considered it", he quickly and confidently said, simply,"No". As a Buckeye fan this is a huge concern. Why? Well, let's look at some other statements, "Terrelle hasn't been perfect in games , but he's coming along". Jim, at what time during Saturdays game, exactly, did you fall asleep and decide NOT to watch the football game? Let us look at yet another Sweatervest quote when a reporter compared Pryor's meltdown to Todd Boeckman's' similiar 'turnover meltdown',"I'm not sure they're comparable at all", he said. Again, Jim, at what time during Saturday's game did you fall asleep and decide NOT to watch the football game? The concern comes from the clear lack of acknowledgement in terms of the staff admitting that there are offensive problems, and not being willing to talk about changes, or to make any changes for that matter. Now, I'm not saying that they should start Bauserman this weekend. I'm simply stating that there is a time and a place to sit a qb when he's struggling. That time and place was mid-way through the third quarter of Saturday's football game. I'm not sure I've seen a quarterback struggle more than that since I threw 4 interceptions against Westerville North in High School nearly 20 years ago. Terrelle's leash is longer than the Appalachian Trail. For me, I never played quarterback again!
Pryor appeared frustrated. He was uneasy on the sidelines between series, and it became evident that the pressure was building, and that pressure was clearly affecting his performance. It was a crescendo of mistakes more obvious than you would find in an 1980's 'B' horror flick. For a player that Tressel admits is 'harder on himself' than anyone else - you would think that it would have been the opportune time to bench Pryor before he self-emploded. We all saw it, but our coach did not. When asked about it he 'took the high road' as usual. Unfortunately, the fans and the reporters must take the low road - the yin to tressel's' yang, the base to Pryor's acid. This is why you're not going to find any sympathy here. I call it like I see it, and guess what Jim, I'm not done.
How many coaches have developed a nickname for their style of play? Not Many. Tressel-ball, as it's known in Columbus and across the Nation, is a style that focuses on conservative offense, zone coverage, base defense, little blitzing, and no trick-plays. It's a system that is built around playing it safe. The system is a lot like Tressel's answers after each painfull loss. Vague. Safe. Optimistic. Over-confident. Obtuse. It's like Tressel is living in a fantasy land where every negative result comes from the unheralded and vigorous effort from other team. I'm really starting to think that our coach is an alien... or maybe a robot... programmed to look like the nicest, smartest, most systematical being on the planet. My message to Jim Tressel: Without risk there is no reward. Jim has the talent to compete for the NC nearly every year. He can guarantee his job(at least for a while/see John Cooper's winning %), ten wins, and a top 25 finish with his system. He can win 97%(down from 100% SatAM) of the games where he's the clear favorite. He can compete with the best in the country by slowing the game down, and by limiting player assignment-type mistakes. What tressel-ball cannot do is dominate... react... adjust.... come-back! Apply pressure! Blowout the competition... beat more talented football teams... or to quote Cartman, "to announce it's presence of authoritye!
In the USC 'B' Deck report I stated that when Tressel-ball hurt us against USC it was one thing, but when it cost us a game against Toledo or Purdue it would be something else altogether. Well, here we are... 70th in total offense.... 86th in passing.... Threatening to drop out of the top 25 along with the only other program with a comparable big-game futility track record, Oklahoma. We scored the least amount of points against Purdue compared to any other team on their schedule(NIU,NW,Toledo). I am not going to sit here like our coaching staff and polish a turd with all this Purdue played great nonsense. If I hear the words 'Purdue's gameplan' one more time I think I'm going to have a subarachnoid brain hemorrhage.
When Pryor came to Ohio State, he said it was because he thought that Ohio State could better develop him to be a quarterback at the next level. Now, I'm not trying to throw Coach Siciliano under the bus, but I just can't help it. He might be the most inexperienced QB coach at any elite program in the country. Whether it falls on him, or Tressel, or whoever, it has become evident that Terrelle Pryor is no closer to being an NFL qb today than when he signed with Ohio State in the early spring of 2008. I'd say he's more likely on the same career path as Matt Jones, the former SEC Qb turned successful WR at the next level. I don't blame Tress for keeping his best athlete at the Qb position. It makes sense - especially at this level where the technique and mental aspects of being a Qb can be trumped by raw talent, and the need to get the ball in the hands of your best athlete on every snap. Why do I bring this up? It's simple really. If he's not develping as a quarterback - then why aren't we utilizing Terrelle in a different manner? If we're not confident, and I don't think anyone save robot-coach could be after Saturday's performance, but if we're not confident in his progression - then why not run him 50% of the time? Why not go RichRod/AirForce on everyone and showcase this kids' talent instead of accentuating his weaknesses? I don't see how it could be any less productive than 70th in total offense and 86th in passing.
Next week is homecoming in the shoe against Minnesota. The Nation will be out in full force. We may offer our share of constructive(or not so depending on your position)criticism, but Ohio State fans will always be there despite the coaching style, or the number of wins and losses. Nobody has dropped the curtain - the boo-birds have arrived but no one is leaving the theater - the show must go on. You've heard the term,'if it ain't broke don't fix it'.... well, it's broke. Guess who's in-charge of fixing it?
See everyone next week - in the 'B' Deck.
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