Maturing Terrelle Pryor Sounding like the Man in Charge

Article excerpt

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Terrelle Pryor understands that the oft- unforgiving Ohio State fans are expecting him to deliver a national championship in this his third season as the Buckeyes' quarterback.

They don't want excuses like the tender knee that healed slowly after an early-season injury against New Mexico State in 2009. They don't want this to be another year of learning, a stepping stone to future success.

What they want, of course, is for the Jeannette native to assume command of an Ohio State team that has great expectations.

On Sunday, Pryor talked and looked like a man in charge of his team while confidently answering an array of question in the south end zone at Ohio Stadium during the Buckeyes' Media Day.

As Ohio State coach Jim Tressel manned the podium, Pryor took a seat near the stands, listening intently. At times, a once-guarded Pryor seemed anxious to engage the media.

He was quick to point out that his summer workouts yielded a more confident quarterback -- one his teammates have embraced as a team leader.

"I'm going into preseason camp having worked very hard at watching film and finding out what kind of edge I can get," Pryor said. "I really feel like a quarterback now."

Pryor insisted he's a complete quarterback.

"I can still run the ball," he said. "But,I'm much smarter, and I've grown, so it's going to be an interesting year for me."

Pryor, whose ability to escape a pass rush was hampered last season by his lack of confidence in his knee. will be challenged to evolve into more of a pocket quarterback, particularly if he hasn't recovered mentally from the injury.

"It's nothing that's devastating for me," said Pryor, who last season passed for 2,094 yards, 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. "It's nothing that can hold me back from playing. It was sore, and sometimes I had to take some pills before I stepped onto the field. I was trying to get wins.

"When I injured my knee, there was a lot of pain. There were a couple of games were I couldn't run. Every time I tried to cut, it felt like my leg would just give out. …