Since the Purdue loss last Saturday, everyone has thrown their opinions in on what is wrong with Pryor and the Buckeyes. You can't escape it! Go to ESPN.com, talk of Pryor abounds. Head over to SI.com, they have an opinion. Even Pryor's head coach voiced his opinion on the source of Pryor's problems this week. You have to wonder what that does to a young man, and how that hinders his confidence (both in himself and the team).
In yesterday's press conference, reporters and fans expected the same sort of words from Tressel. The timing was right, right? If there was ever a time when Tressel would start to be open about the flaws of Pryor it would be after a 4 turnover performance from the young man in a loss to Purdue. Wrong! Instead, Tressel came out and talked about his progress and the positive signs of the future. Exhibit A and B:
“I think as you watch his footwork, it’s significantly better,” Tressel said. “If you watch his progression of understanding what we need to do and where we need to go – whether it’s run check offs, or who he should be reading and so forth."
“I don’t think that anyone could question the explosive potential, both running and passing, that Terrelle brings,” Tressel said. “Have we done everything that we could to maximize that? Probably not. Has he done everything that he needs to do to maximize that? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean we won’t keep working on it.”
Well, Tressel is saying that because he knows this is a critical juncture in the progression of his young quarterback. It would have been easy for him to throw more criticism at Pryor, just as the media has done all week. In fact, coaches do it all the time so people don't point the finger at them. Spurrier is guilty of this a lot, but when you think about it, he has not seen a quarterback really progress in his time at South Carolina. So yes, Tressel is doing something very important to help Pryor go to the next level. Like him at this stage or not, Tressel is dead on with his support of Pryor. Bauserman is not the answer. Criticism in the media is not the answer. Rather, the answer is supporting a young man that is very frustrated and confused in his identity and his ability.
I have said this before and now I am saying it again, Pryor's confidence has to be the number one priority. The playbook and mechanics mean nothing if Pryor continues to look so fearful of making mistakes. You could see that this weekend. With "Buckeye Nation" in his ear and teammates on his shoulders, Pryor looked defeated with every turnover he made. If that continues, the games at Penn State and at home against Iowa could be very ugly.
So in a week where people are second guessing everything, I can honestly say Tressel is dead on with this one. Supporting his quarterback publicly was needed, and Tressel showed the coach and the man he is by doing it. Real leaders do the toughest things in the toughest times, and Pryor will be better down the road because of this tough decision. So just like Tressel, now is a time to be a real Buckeye fan. Anyone idiot can react to a loss or complain about the problems, but now is time to support a quarterback for the future. He may not be giving us a lot to hang on, but with his potential and the majority of his career left, its time to cheer him on. It may not be easy or the obvious thing to do, but an outpouring of support could change Pryor's confidence on the season.