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Evaluating the Mechanics of Big Ten Quarterbacks - Terrelle Pryor

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Now let's travel to Columbus to put a young talent under the microscope.

Terrelle Pryor (Ohio State)


Who says you can't get by on looks alone?  As a true freshman Pryor skated his way out of trouble time after time -- running sweeps better than true halfbacks.  When he did throw, it was almost like watching a wounded duck try to fly; his wobbled stance and flapping sidearm delivered off-target spirals, that ballooned across the middle.  

While Pryor's natural size, speed, and elusiveness will continue to feature prominently in the Buckeye playbook, it is essential that he evolve as a passer in his Sophomore season.  Particularly, throwing on the run.

Snap (A-):

  • Security/Ball Placement (A): Pryor keeps his non-throwing hand flush with the football up until the time of the release, and tucks the ball down on roll outs.
  • Retreat Speed (A-): Terrelle is quick on the drop, although (not surprisingly) most of his fallbacks are short, quick slants.
  • Footwork (B-): Pryor's steps are dicey.  He chops at the turf rather than pushing off of it. 
  • The Fake (B+)Pryor puts his hands out and leans into the back, appropriately selling the handoff.  Pulls back a little too quick, so the effect is short lived.
  • Adaptation (A): Pryor's mobility helps him to gracefully evade the pass rush, although he sometimes collapses when his primary and secondary receivers get jammed on call backs.

Release (B):

  • Survey (A-): Pryor benefits from his height in this category.  He keeps his head up and out, although, he doesn't appear to scan much after the snap.
  • Stance (B-): Pryor's stance is too narrow.  His leading foot is barely in front of his back foot, making him vulnerable to a tackle, and limiting his power.
  • Step (C+): This is one of Terrelle's greatest challenges.  He only steps on deliberate long-balls.  Otherwise, he shifts his foot -- relying on his upper and not his lower body to contribute momentum to the pass.
  • Wrist/Throw (B-/B+): In 2008, Pryor lifted the ball up in a U shape motion before flicking his wrist, an "extra" step that appeared to decrease the forward energy that was transferred to the ball.  Spring game footage shows a more fluid transition and better release.  Hence, the range of scores.

Overall: B+

[Editor's Note: I used practice film from 2009 as well as actual live game footage to complete this evaluation.]

Big Ten Report Card:

  1. Ben Chappell (B/B+)
  2. Daryll Clark (B+)
  3. Tate Forcier (B-)
  4. Ricky Stanzi (A-)
  5. Terrelle Pryor (B+)