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Thursday, June 20
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

IU prepared for OSU’s Pryor

IU freshman quarterbacks Dusty Kiel and Connor Creevey were used in practice this week to simulate No. 9 Ohio State’s dual-threat passer Terrelle Pryor.

But IU coach Bill Lynch said just strategizing for the sophomore quarterback – the preseason Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year – is a challenge in itself.  

“Over the summer, when you get a chance to watch tape, you start realizing what an incredible athlete he is,” Lynch said. “He’s a great football player and we haven’t gone against a guy like him this year.”

Standing at 6 feet, 6 inches, Pryor can easily see above the line of scrimmage and throws the deep ball as accurately as any passer in the Big Ten. Last year he completed 60.6 percent of his passes for 1,311 yards and 12 touchdowns with only four interceptions.

But where Pryor really stands out is his ability to run the football.

He has been timed to run the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds – the fastest of any player on the Buckeyes – and displayed his mobility against its four opponents this season. Pryor is the team’s leading rusher with 235 yards on the ground, an average of six yards per carry.

Weighing 235 pounds doesn’t hurt, either.

“Pryor is an interesting guy because you don’t see him get tackled very often,” Lynch said. “Eventually you can kind of corral him out of bounds, but he does not go down very often. He’s so strong that he can straight-arm defensive lineman.”

IU co-defensive coordinator Brian George said he has seen only one player in college football with similar natural skill to Pryor: former Texas quarterback Vince Young.

“His ability to not only throw the ball, but to run the ball, brings a whole new dimension to what they do,” George said. “We need to continue to do a better job being
assignment-sound. We have to bring it up another notch this week.”

And while Pryor is the focus on offense, there is not one particular player on Ohio State’s defense that outshines the rest.

Since losing to USC on Sept. 12, the Buckeyes have not allowed a single point to opposing teams.

Against Toledo, the Rockets did not run a play in Ohio State territory until the 4:26 mark in the third quarter. Typically high-powered Illinois quarterback Juice Williams was almost non-existent one week later, throwing for only 77 yards and two interceptions without a touchdown.

“They are a very good defense,” IU freshman running back Darius Willis said. “They are similar to Michigan in that they are fast-flow, wrap fast and are very disciplined in the job that they need to get done.”

Ohio State junior linebacker Brian Rolle leads the team with 33 tackles on the season, and senior safety Kurt Coleman is next on that list. However, Coleman will miss
Saturday’s game because of a suspension resulting from a late hit against Illinois.

IU offensive coordinator Matt Canada said the Buckeye defense is as complete as any team in the country.

“They run to the ball well, are very athletic on the back end and their linebackers make a bunch of plays,” Canada said. “Up front they are big and strong. There is not a weak link to them and that is why they aren’t giving up any points.” 

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