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Sophomore Slump?

I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but what’s up with Terrell Pryor? After a promising freshmen season in which he beat out All Big-Ten Quarterback Todd Boeckman for the starting job, 2009 has been a series of small steps forward, followed by much larger steps back. There is no question that he is an extraordinary athlete, but most Buckeye fans would agree that he’s not currently as far along as he should be. Last weekend’s loss to Purdue, which was painful to watch, was the low point of the year so far for Pryor, who threw two interceptions and lost a pair of fumbles.

It probably isn’t fair to be critical of only Pryor, because there are 10 other guys on the field that contribute to the play of the quarterback. And I know that the running game has been average and the receivers are young, but such scrutiny comes with the territory when you are the quarterback of the largest school in a football-crazed state. To make things worse for Pryor, he was the top high school recruit in the country, with coaches from every major school drooling all over him.

The expectations were sky high, and I feel for the kid, but he didn’t do anything to divert attention away from himself then, so he’s not going to catch a break from his viewers now. I mean, he drew out his college decision as long as possible and held a widely publicized press conference to announce his intent to play for the Buckeyes. He is just a sophomore, but it’s time for him to grow up and be a major college quarterback. Tim Tebow won the Heisman as a sophomore, and it may be unfair to compare Pryor to Tebow, but it is fair to expect some special things from a guy who was so heralded.

From what he has shown so far this year, it looks like Pryor could use some more time to develop. Unfortunately for Coach Jim Tressel and the Buckeyes, they do not have the luxury of another quarterback who can come in and play well enough to win big games. Anyone who watched Cincinnati play South Florida last Thursday night could see that the Bearcats did not skip a beat when Zach Collaros (from Steubenville) was forced to replace an injured Tony Pike (who was being mentioned as a Heisman candidate). Nothing against Ohio State back-up, Joe Bauserman, but I wouldn’t like OSU’s chances against the big boys of the Big Ten with him at the helm.

The good news is that Pryor is only a sophomore, and he is a spectacular athlete. Also, the Purdue fiasco was only one game, and Buckeyes still have a lot to play for. If Pryor can get it together and play well enough to beat teams like Iowa and Penn State, the Rose Bowl is not out of the question.

To play us out, here is a link to a decent song with an appropriate title. What Terrell Pryor chooses will significantly impact the rest of the season, as well as the general morale of a few hundred thousand people in Columbus.