It's still the off-season and college sports news is, at best, sparse. So to pass the time we're making up our own news. In that vein we're previewing portions of the University of Michigan Football Team's upcoming 2010 Schedule.
Specifically, we're previewing the most dangerous players on each team Michigan will face this year. Some will be on offense, some on defense, and all of them will be players worthy of your scorn. We've got a full 2010 football schedule, so we'll break down the key cog to each opponent one at a time. As you can see to your left, we've got a handy hatin' guide for Michigan fans to peruse and get your hate on when you start thinking of the teams on Michigan's 2010 Football Schedule.
Today is the final installment of our guide to hateration, holleration up in this dancery, and we're looking at perhaps the most obvious opponent to hate in the entire countdown. I honestly tried to choose someone else so that it wasn't him. I looked at the Buckeye's outstanding linebacker Ross Homan and his 108 tackles on the season. There was also the terror of Cameron Heyward (46 Tkl, 10 TFL, 6.5 Sck) on the Ohio State defensive line to consider. But when I sat down and looked at the stats over the last two years and thought about who, really, has the ability on this OSU team to put a dagger through Michigan's heart or alternatively gack up the game all by himself, there's no question it's the Buckeyes' Junior Quarterback Terrelle Pryor.
Who Is He, Exactly?
A 6'6" pain in the ass who wears an Ohio State uniform. Unless you lived under a rock in 2007-2008, you know that Pryor was the most highly sought after quarterback recruit in the country. He had offers from every major program in the country and was, at the time, the number one target on Rich Rodriguez' recruiting spreadsheet for that class. At 6'6" Pryor was also listed as a four star basketball prospect, but he decided to forgo roundball to focus on the gridiron when he enrolled in college.
As everything started to play itself out in the recruiting process it basically came down to two schools: Michigan and Ohio State. Pryor, a Pennsylvania native, was seen at Michigan and Ohio State games more often than most of the actually team members playing that year. For Michigan fans he was the prize to be had in that recruiting class, mostly because he was the only quarterback on or off campus that had a prayer in hell of running Rodriguez offense with any level of competency. So, naturally, Michigan fans got their hopes up. When we will learn?
Pryor, to the surprise of only the most optimistic Wolverine fans, eventually chose "the University of Ohio State" at the standard obnoxious hats on a table press conference. This isn't a dig at Pryor, it's a dig at all attention starved high school recruits (Including one William Campbell). Once Pryor learned that the University of Ohio State wasn't recruiting him, he pledged to OSU.
The implications on both team's fortunes were immediate. Michigan started the season with the dual headed fail monster of Steven Threet and Nick Sheridan, and quickly spiraled into a disastrous 3-9 season. Ohio State ended up with Pryor starting a couple of weeks in and ended up in the Fiesta Bowl giving Texas all it could handle before finishing the year 10-3. Pryor showed flashes of what he was capable of in 2008, and have everyone drooling over the kid's potential as the 2009 season was about to kick off. But as 2009 season started, Pryor seemed to be going in the wrong direction.
Much more after the jump..............
After nearly gacking up the season opener to Navy, Pryor was downright awful against USC. Consistently throwing off his backfoot and scrambling himself into trouble. But after that, a light seemed to go on. Pryor started to settle down, read the pocket and run only when called for or absolutely necessary. The lone exception was a mystifying 2 INT, 5 sack loss to Purdue where Pryor looked like he'd been slipped a mickie before the game started. After that, he was damn near unstopable. Ask Oregon for the number of the truck that ran them over in the Rose Bowl and they'll probably tell you they saw a #2 before everything went dark. That should probably be enough to fill you in on the guy.
So, Explain Why We Should Hate Him
He plays for Ohio State. He's the quarterback for Ohio State. He's probably going to be a team captain for Ohio State. He is the single most gifted athlete at Ohio State. He's never lost to Michigan. He's got a friggin tatoo of a Buckeye on his forearm. He ran for.... What the hell more do you need people?
This season Pryor's been named to every conceivable watch list for quarterbacks and offensive players. Whether you root for Ohio State or despise them, you've got to respect Pryor's athletic ability. The kid just flies. He's not a heavy duty runner in that he doesn't "look" like he's moving fast. It's almost as if he glides as he runs. But he's faster than Troy Smith was, a lot faster.
Aside from the reasons listed in the above paragraphs, your strongest reason to hate him rises from the fact that he is the key to the Buckeye offense. No one who follows the scarlet and gray will ever tell you that they're happy with their offensive line. Despite being loaded with 4 and 5 star talent, this unit seemingly never fails to underachieve. But with Pryor behind them that hasn't been that big a deal. His ability to scramble and create has mitigated the problems that seem to go unchecked every season on the line. Ohio State has plenty of talented running backs, but Pryor's ability to scamper keeps opposing defenses from keying on the tailback. His ability to run keeps the safeties guessing when he moves outside the pocket, and opens up passing lanes because of it. Pryor makes this Buckeye offense work in the way a Craig Krenzel or Tood Boeckman couldn't.
He's what makes this Ohio State team so dangerous. Without him, it's a good team. Probably a 9-10 win team. But with him, it's a national championship contender. And that's why you should hate him the most.
Give Me His Weaknesses, So That I Might Exploit Them
This is a personal observance, but I just don't think Pryor is that mentally tough yet. Sure you can point to the Oregon game and say he won his big game and he won a Rose Bowl and a conference title, but my impression of Pryor is a guy throwing of his back foot as he's getting pressured. The Rose Bowl was thoroughly dominated by Ohio State and the score really wasn't representative of the nearly 2-1 yards ratio Ohio State held over Oregon. The Ducks had only 12 first downs for pity's sake.
But when Pryor feels the pressure he starts making mistakes. If Michigan can get in Pryor's grill, and hit him a little bit, they might be able to take him off his game. Another aspect is to give Pryor multiple looks on defense, disguise coverages and force him to read the alignment. I just don't get the impression he's reached the competency level in the offense where he's able to do that. Pryor got by on pure athletic ability for the first year and a half. This season will let us know whether he's actually turned into a legitimate Heisman level quarterback. For Michigan's sake, I hope not. Because if he has, the kid doesn't have a lot of weaknesses that Michigan, or the college game for that matter, are going to expose.
So there you have it. The complete list 'o loathing. You've got twelve teams, twelve days, and twelve players to hate to get you ready for the season.
You know the names, now get your hate on.