Pryor was never a good fit, or the revenge of Todd Boeckmanby Brad Allis on Jun. 09, 2011, under Uncategorized
By Brad Allis
It seemed like an odd pairing to me at the time, but who knew it would be a disaster? In the end Terrelle Pryor tarnished the image of one
of college football’s elites and possibly ended the career of one of the most recognized coaches.
The tradeoff was this, a program in ruins for 6,187 yards, 57 touchdowns and 33 wins.
Sure Pryor led them to three straight BCS bowl games, but the Buckeyes had been to three straight BCS bowl games the three years prior to Pryor. The only difference is that before Terrelle Pryor the Buckeyes played in a pair of national title games.
I understand the desire for Pryor. He was one of the nation’s top football prospects. He had unique speed and athleticism that the Buckeyes sorely lacked in their lopsided loses in the national title game.
The problem was that it did not make sense. Quarterback was not the problem. The Buckeyes did not come up short because they lacked athleticism under center, they lost because they lacked speed on defense. Troy Smith had plenty of athleticism and he played in a national title game. Todd Boeckman was not as athletic as either player, yet he also led the Buckeyes to a national title game.
Pryor did not solve those problems, but he created a whole new slew of problems in Columbus.
It is hard to say if Pryor had his hand out from the start, but it is obvious that he craved the spotlight and felt he was entitled. He stretched out his recruitment as long as possible, soaking in the attention even though many felt that he has chosen Ohio State long before he announced his decision.
Since arriving in Columbus the details are murky, but there are reports of multiple cars, selling and trading memorabilia and possible signing autographs for $500 to $1,000 a pop.
One “former friend” claims Pryor made upwards of $20,000-$40,000 for taking a Sharpie to mini football helmets and other gear for a Columbus businessman.
Pryor came to campus and quickly displaced senior quarterback Todd Boeckman. All Boeckman did was pass for 2,379 yards an 11-2 record and an appearance in the BCS National Championship game.
Let me repeat that PRYOR DISPLACED A SENIOR QUARTERBACK WHO GUIDED THE TEAM TO THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME!!!
Other than Steve Spurrier who once benched the nation’s leader in QB rating, no one would dare bench a senior starter who had taken his team to a national title game. Sure Florida worked Tim Tebow in as a true freshman, but Chris Leak was the starter and took most of the snaps.
The next year Pryor took 2/3 of the snaps and the Buckeyes won one less game. Reports are a number of upperclassmen were upset at the treatment of Boeckman who lost his job after a 35-3 loss to USC. Boeckman threw to crippling picks in the game, including one that went for a Rey Maualuga touchdown, but that was not the reason the Buckeyes lost. They lost because USC had more overall talent and athleticism.
Pryor was not the answer.
He was never the answer.
The fact is Tressel and Ohio State never used him right. He was born to play either the read option or the spread attack. While the Buckeyes implemented hints of those schemes, they kept things conservative.
Pryor should have been used like Auburn used Cam Newton or Florida used Tim Tebow. Instead he was Troy Smith V 2.0, only without the hardware and likely without the pro career.
Pryor should have stayed close to his home in Pennsylvania and replaced Pat White at West Virginia. He seemed like a perfect fit for Rich Rodriguez at Michigan. In fact, the best thing Pryor did at Ohio State was not helping the cause in Ann Arbor.
Pryor won over 30 games, but so could have about 25 quarterbacks in the class. The Buckeyes don’t win games by the arms, or legs, of their passers. They win games because of their system. Of course that system is stocked with future NFL players, something Pryor may or may not be.
Even worse is that Tressel handled Pryor with kid gloves and in many ways took a blind eye to his quarterback’s antics. Pryor was called
“immature” by older players and on at least one occasion stormed off the field after getting called out by a senior.
Once Boeckman was benched it was even worse.
Pryor was a good player, maybe even a great player. He was a decent leader but he never bought into the program. He thought he was bigger than the program.
That does not fly at most programs, but really does not fly at Ohio State.
Pryor sought out the spotlight. Even if legally obtained, he drove flashy cars. He was known to have an impressive list of celebrity friends including LeBron James. He was a star on a team that sometimes lacked stars.
He was 21st century flash to a program that wore the same uniforms they had under Woody Hayes. The team that had no logo on their helmet and was more known by their coach’s attire than anything, suddenly had a 21st century star.
And apparently Pryor was paid like a star.
Of course he was not the only one. At least four other teammates were caught up in the same memorabilia for tattoos scandal and it would be foolish to think they were the only ones, or that it started the past few years.
But it was e-mails to Pryor’s mentors (insert handler, representatives or “people” there as well. And come on, we all had handlers at 17) and not the Ohio State compliance department that got Tressel in trouble. Actually it was those e-mails and subsequent lies to the media and NCAA that eventually led to Tressel’s downfall.
It was an odd pairing from the start. Pryor did not fit Ohio State and Tressel did not fit Pryor. Everyone said Tressel had a soft spot for Pryor, and I have a feeling that Tressel felt a player like Pryor would take Ohio State to places they have never been.
He was right. But instead of the college football mountaintop, Pryor is likely taking them to probation.