My question to adam rittenberg answered:

Submitted by tomcat on October 8th, 2010 at 4:55 PM

I was happy to see denard at #1 but still wanted to talk shit about pryor:

Thomas from Corpus Christi, Texas, writes: Hi Adam,I'm trying to make sense behind your "player of the year award." You have Terrelle Pyror in front of the QBs from Indiana and Northwestern. However looking at the stats the other two QBs hold a considerable amount of advantage over Pryor. It's not like the Buckeyes have really been tested offensively this year from opposing competition. So my question is: To this date, minus one good game against Oregon last year, has he ever really been that impressive in College Football? Or are people still just believing in his High School Hype?

Adam Rittenberg: Thomas, I think Terrelle Pryor is held to an unfair and somewhat unrealistic standard by many folks because of his hype in high school. And while Indiana's Ben Chappell and Northwestern's Dan Persa have put up excellent numbers this year, so has Pryor, if you really study it. He's throwing the ball a lot better than he did in 2009, and he's carrying the rushing load for the Buckeyes as they try to figure things out at running back. Pryor has been impressive for stretches in all five games this season, even against Illinois. And while his passing accuracy against Miami wasn't great, he still made quite a few big plays against what's looking like a very good Hurricanes defense. I've always pointed out when Pryor doesn't deserve credit, like the preseason Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year honors he receives, but he has done a nice job overall this year and deserves to be in the Player of the Year discussion.


Meeechigan Dan

October 8th, 2010 at 4:58 PM ^

They all miss the point. These awards are to recognize performance, not "stretches" of competence followed by stretches of bad play. He is a physical specimen, but he is also as dumb as a rock and an average Big 10 QB at this point.


October 8th, 2010 at 5:03 PM ^

I do think Pryor's athleticism has made him above average - and his running has been effective this year. I also think he may be getting some slack from Rittneberg because of the belief that Tresselball keeps his numbers down. But even if that were the case, the award should still go to the players who are MAKING PLAYS, not the ones who just don't make mistakes and otherwise play pretty good.


October 8th, 2010 at 5:27 PM ^

And, I'll add to that, players who should be excused from having to live up to "unrealistic expectations." The expectation line should be at the same level for everyone. No excuses. High school potential doesn't play into this at all. It's how a player performs now, in relation to other players who are his peers. Terrelle Pryor is good. He's not exceptional. And he's not a Heisman caliber player. 


October 8th, 2010 at 6:02 PM ^

That doesn't make them right either, if any Buckeye fan is taking shots at Denard then they are probably scared of him and trying to rationalize his stats. If you watched OSU this year you would see that Pryor has played really solid, mistake-free and usually dynamic football. Plus, ask any OSU fan, we dont need him to be Troy Smith, we need him to be Craig Krenzel. MNC > Heisman.


October 8th, 2010 at 6:09 PM ^

It's a bit different than that I think. Buckeye fans are hoping that Denard gets his knee destroyed. The only thing Michigan fans are complaining about is the undeserved hype to Pryor. You basically agreed with us in your post, saying that he just needs to be like Krenzel rather than Smith.

Meeechigan Dan

October 8th, 2010 at 6:24 PM ^

You guys have as much chance at winning the MNC as 22 oompa loompas. Maybe a slight exaggeration, but the point stands. You are a flawed, overrated team that will likely lose two games in conference and get punked in a bowl game. Why? Tressel has never been able cope with high octane offenses run by a competent QB. The Tresselosaur is a dangerous raptor, but mammals (spread) befuddle it. Watching him trying to implement it is funny, watching him defend it is even funnier. 

Yes, I know about Oregon last year; blind squirrels and all that. The body of work is that modern football will swallow Tressel's career over the next decade.


October 8th, 2010 at 8:39 PM ^

Why? Tressel has never been able cope with high octane offenses run by a competent QB. The Tresselosaur is a dangerous raptor, but mammals (spread) befuddle it.

I'll concede that OSU had trouble defending Illinois, Florida and LSU, but that was 3-4 years ago. Since that time we held Texas to 24 points in the Fiesta Bowl (one that was averaging 44pts a game before they played us) and Oregon to 17 in the aformentioned Rose Bowl (which you can't just throw out as "luck" to prove your point, it happened.) Tressel added the LEO and Star positions into our defense to combat the spread after the 2007 season and it has worked perfectly. I am failing to see how "modern college football" is going to swallow Tress.


October 8th, 2010 at 9:43 PM ^

addition to the LEO, they're considering putting a CAPRICORN and a ARIES on the field. Perhaps simultaneously. I know, crazy, right? But the Vest is determined to shed that conservative label come hell or high water.

Pryor gets a lot of grief. Most of it undeserved. But I've identified a few of his problems with his naysayers. I think he can easily over come these,  so feel free to pass on when you see him.

First: he's fast as hell, but doesn't look fast. Americans like skill players whose legs go like Steve Austin's (The $6M guy, not the Stone Cold one). See Noel Devine, Reggie Bush, Denard, etc. Never mind TP's averaging  nearly 7 yrd per carry. Long striders with Heismans are scarce. Archie Griffin knew that, I guarantee.

Second: that throwing motion. It's weird. Almost looks painful. Never mind that the ball gets there often enough, fast enough, and catchable enough to give him a Top 15 passer rating. Forget that he's thrown 12 TDs to 3 Picks this year. Forget all the Ws he has under his belt. That delivery is getting absolutely no style points. Great QB arms look like Sam Bradford's and Carson Palmer's. Fluid. Daring. Inspiring. As if the ball is slung from the bow of Sagittarius himself.  

Third: His ears. Those are a problem too. I know he had nothing to do with them, but man, they're large. Little known fact but Americans like smaller ears in their star athletes. They like Derek Jeter's ears, for example. They like Tim Tebow's ears. Canadians frickin' love Sidney Crosby's ears. I could go on. Ears are important.

Fourth: No stirring late game heroics. No flawless execution of an 80-yard drive with less than a minute on the clock. OSU needs to play some teams closer late into the fourth, man. That defense should consider keeping teams around longer to help a brother out. He's not getting his opportunities. Clearly a bad strategy.

Fifth: No dreads. Obviously a problem.


October 8th, 2010 at 6:30 PM ^

You essentially just proved our point. Pryor is playing like an average Big Ten QB while Denard, Chappell, and Persa are playing way above that line. We aren't saying Pryor is playing poorly by any stretch, but to say he's in the mix for player of the year or the heisman is ridiculous. He's only being mentioned because he's the most recognizable face on an OSU team that is in the national championship hunt (ala Mark Ingram who never should have won over Gerhart).


October 8th, 2010 at 8:42 PM ^

Chappell could have had 600 passing yards against Michigan if he was average. Did you see all the throws he missed? Persa has played really well too, but if you are going to knock Pryor's stats for being against mediocre competition, why is the same thing not being done to Chappell, Persa or even to a lesser extent Robinson?


October 8th, 2010 at 8:53 PM ^

Maybe because Denard, Chappell, et. al's numbers against mediocre competition are a lot better than Terrelle Pryor's against mediocre competition?

Basically, to this point in the season (and really at any time other than last year's Rose Bowl) Pryor has never consistently demonstrated the ability to be anything but a competent to somewhat above average QB on a very good team. That's not to say he never will be (he's had flashes of brilliance), and he still has a chance to come up big this year. But based on resume, right now, he's not even in the same class as Denard or even Chappell. The ONLY reasons he's being talked about for Heisman is because preseason hype demands it, and because for whatever reason the  Heisman has turned into "most visible player on a national championship contender".


October 9th, 2010 at 3:00 AM ^

Terrelle has 2 more TD passes than Persa, the same amount as Chappell and 5 more than Denard. Pryor also has more rush yards and TD's than Persa and Chappell, obviously he doesn't touch Denard in this stat, but he does have the same amount of total TD's as Denard. I am struggling to see how that is "not even in the same class as Chappell, Persa and Denard"

He is probably in the Heisman discussion because he has 15 TD's in 5 games and around 1,500 total yards. Those aren't "average" numbers.


October 8th, 2010 at 6:30 PM ^

....I agree with you.  It's a little embarrassing for Michigan fans to obsess over Pryor.  He's a good QB.  Leave it at that.  The awards will sort themselves out at the end of the season based on actual results.  

On the other hand, it's a little strange for a Buckeye to be commenting on a Michigan Blog.

Hoken's Heroes

October 8th, 2010 at 5:01 PM ^

...I had a conversation with a USC fan (they are almost as obnoxious and arrogant as OSU fans) and I told him I didn't think TP would be able to handle RIch Rod's spread offense because I don't believe TP is smart enough to make those quick decisions. He disagreed. All I can say is that I am glad that TP did not go to Michigan. I don't think he would have killed as many on the field as Denard has done in only 5 games.

Scott Dreisbach

October 8th, 2010 at 5:08 PM ^

I have watched TP play several times, and I sit there scratching my head over the decisions he makes.  One play he makes a great decision, the next play he looks like the back up JV high school quarterback.  He is a phenomenal athlete and has all the physical skills to be a great QB, but my only explanation for his up and down playing is he just doesn't have it between the ears.


October 8th, 2010 at 5:19 PM ^

If you didn't want Terelle Pryor during 2008 you're crazy.  I would have gladly taken him for that year alone.

As for every year since then, I think it might be an effect of OSU playing more conservatively.  They're using the new Lambo to take the kids to school.  When you open up the playbook, you get results like you saw in last year's Rose Bowl.


October 8th, 2010 at 6:59 PM ^

... but honestly (just from a talent perspective, minus all the weird drama that follows whenever he opens his mouth) Pryor as a true freshman would have been a blessing compared to what we had.  He would be a true junior now, Denard could be a Redshirt freshman, and we'd be pretty unbelievable offensively. 

Not to mention, there would have been a recruiting bounce from getting him, probably better recruiting classes the past couple years, etc... 

I'm thrilled with the development of Denard and absolutely love the character, humility, and respect he shows for the game -- he thus far exemplifies what you want in a "Michigan Man". However, I just don't buy the argument that it's a good thing Pryor didn't come to Michigan. 


October 8th, 2010 at 5:04 PM ^

i am not sure that you can say "put up excellent numbers" and then say things like "his passing accuracy wasn't great" and "he's thowing the ball better than he did."  Its either about the numbers or its not.

Rittenberg is always in a tough spot, so i don't begrudge his occasionally weasling out of definite answers about nebulous things.


October 8th, 2010 at 5:08 PM ^

I think the main issue with that is a question of competence or relative competence. Pryor improving relative to himself in the past isn't relevant. Being dominant for stretches "if you really look at it" doesn't help either. If you're the best player and you're at defensive tackle maybe it doesn't show. If you're even a great player at QB it will show. If you're even a good player at QB for ohio state and just let it happen you might win a national championship. There really isn't anything distinctive about him. He's not the best at anything and he's not the best on average. He's played 25 and in his only marquee game the impressive thing that happened on the team was the defense was able to stop oregon.

Also it's worth debating Pryor's merits since his high school hype is having a strange effect several years later, possibly bumping more deserving candidates out of the limelight and away from awards. People whine about the BCS, the guy hasn't done anything spectacular since high school and he was the frontrunner for heisman. Scary stuff.


October 8th, 2010 at 5:18 PM ^

Blah Blah Blah. Rittenberg is drinking the Pryor Kool-Aid. He has to since ESPN shovels their Pryor-love garbage down our throats every day. In five games Denard has power-bombed anything Pryor has done, high school included.

Foote Fetish

October 8th, 2010 at 5:21 PM ^

Pryor will always be in that 'best of the big ten' discussion by virtue of his obvious physical gifts, the high school recruiting hype, and the general Tresselness of the team.  This will continue until such time as he is languishing somewhere in the pros, most likely with the Oakland Raiders.


October 8th, 2010 at 5:48 PM ^

Who says DRob comes to Michigan if Pryor is here in the first place?? We cant live in the land of what if's. Had BJ Daniels come here who knows what would have happened?

Fact is that we didn't land Pryor and that did open the door for DRob, that is all we can say and we see that it has worked out at least this year for both teams. How it all ends up, we should know in 2013 when both guys are gone and we can look at the results of each team under each QB.


October 8th, 2010 at 6:10 PM ^

And the entire narrative of Rich Rod's tenure is turned on its head.  One transition year, and boom, back to a bowl.  Not to mention, Michigan would have let the guy do exactly what he (presumably) does best--let his running ability set up the occasional pass. 

Futhermore, who's to say D Rob doesn't come with Pryor starting.  I mean, if anything Forcier and Gardner make different decisions, but Robinson would be the least likely to have been effected by Pryor's starting at UM.  Not that any of this matters, of course.

Meeechigan Dan

October 8th, 2010 at 6:26 PM ^

bouje, hating a Buckeye is never a stupid opinion. But, alas, Pryor would have been worth probably 5 victories over the last two seasons and perhaps two bowls. He is not as good, and never will be as good, a college QB as DRob, but he would have been huge for us.

But I will take fate.

The Name

October 8th, 2010 at 6:44 PM ^

Saying you're "glad" we didnt land Pyror is shortsighted. Even though this season Denard is dread and sholders (haha, I'm funny) above Pyror, having Pyror on our team would have been great the past two seasons. Who knows what other players we would have landed if we didnt struggle these past few years, and Rich Rod wasnt on the hot seat because of it.  

Also, assuming that we still got Denard, having both him and Pyror as 2 out of the 11 winged helments on offense would be a positive in my book.

In conclusion, I dont think that I would be happy about any 5* player choosing another team over Michigan... except Kevin Grady

Thought of the good analagy so I thought I would add it:

Saying you woudnt want Pyror would be like turning down yesterday's $1 Million jackpot because you won today's $5 Million payout. When it comes to athletic football players and money I'll take as much as I can get.


October 8th, 2010 at 7:51 PM ^

Also, assuming that we still got Denard

But you can't assume this.  We didn't just offer Denard the chance to play QB, we offered him the chance to compete for the job right off the bat.   If Pryor were around, he might have decided Florida was a better bet. 

Regardless, let's just be happy with what we have.   


October 8th, 2010 at 10:55 PM ^

I don't think Pryor would have been able to handle Barwis.  I think he would have transferred after one season, if he even got that far.  Pryor wants to be treated like a diva; there are no divas at the University of Michigan.

Blue Ninja

October 9th, 2010 at 2:16 AM ^

The hype doesn't match what we were or are now being sold. Coming out of high school he was the next great "can't miss" prospect, the next Barry Sanders under center so to speak. Still waiting to see that player.

Now he's being hyped up for the Heisman. Every year we're told how great of an improvement he's made and while he has certainly improved its improvement by steps not leaps and bounds like Denard.

Pryor was supposed to be the very epitome of a spread QB but he is being severly ouplayed by Denard and Martinez who tuly are playing like great spread QB's. Did you know last Saturday Pryor had his longest rushing TD to date? It was 66 yards. I can't believe that he has never rushed for more than that. I think Martinez had at least 2 or 3 longer than that Thursday alone.

While Pryor is fast he doesn't have that explosivness, quick burst of speed that he really needs to look fast. He's also not very elusive preferring to run over people which sooner or later is going to cause him trouble.

Now am I glad we didn't get Pryor? At the time I would have said no. Now in hindsight I say yes. At the time we needed him badly but I still can't think he would have made enough difference as a freshmen to have changed our win column by much more than 1 or 2 games. RR's offense is one of the most complex and difficult in CFB with the zone reads. Knowing what we know and have seen now of Pryor's mental skills do we really think he could have run this offense effectively or even close to what Denard does? I think not.