Pryor's teammates see obvious signs of growth
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Pryor made it plainly obvious during 7-on-7 workouts.
If a Buckeyes receiver dropped a pass, Pryor let him have it.
"If you drop one or two balls, he's going to try and get you out of there and put somebody else in," Ballard said. "If it hit your hands, he's going to take you out. He demands a lot from us and we demand a lot from him, and all of us know we can handle it."
The trust between the quarterback and his teammates wasn't as strong in 2008, when Pryor replaced senior co-captain Todd Boeckman just four games into the fall. Though Pryor had his share of highlights and won Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors, he struggled to find a consistent rhythm with his receivers.
Ohio State finished a woeful 105th nationally in pass offense, and Pryor took time to grow into the leadership role thrust upon him prematurely.
"All of us feel a greater sense of comfort, including Terrelle," Ballard said. "He's not the freshman that hasn't played before going into the huddle with all seniors and juniors, who are like, 'Where's Todd?' When it first happened, everybody's like, 'Wow, Todd's really not playing and we have to trust this kid, Terrelle.'
"Now Terrelle's more of a leader type. He commands our attention, and we give it to him."
Ballard avoided Pryor's wrath during the summer workouts, hanging onto the passes that came his way. It helped that Pryor looked more often to the tight ends, who have been used sparingly as pass receivers in the past.
Ballard expects to see more action this fall. Ohio State loses two standout receivers in Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline, and head coach Jim Tressel has greater trust in Pryor to run a more wide-ranging offense.
"TP's not just looking for receivers to get the ball," Ballard said. "He's looking to tight ends, running backs, fullbacks. If you're open, he's going to hit you. I really think we're going to have a bigger role in the offense. Coach Tress has talked about it."
Pryor's evolution this summer was also visible to those on the other side of the line.
"He has to take command and he has to be the leader," safety Kurt Coleman said. "And if you're not doing it right, he's going to tell you what you're doing wrong until you correct yourself. Honestly, he's improved his game so much."
BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
Final Cincinnati 17 Virginia Tech 33 Final 15 Arizona State 36 Duke 31 Final Miami (FL) 21 South Carolina 24 Final/OT Boston College 30 Penn State 31 Final Nebraska 42 24 USC 45
Final Nevada 3 Louisiana-Lafayette 16 Final Utah State 21 UTEP 6 Final 22 Utah 45 Colorado State 10 Final Western Michigan 24 Air Force 38 Final South Alabama 28 Bowling Green 33
Final Marshall 52 Northern Illinois 23 Final Navy 17 San Diego State 16
Final Central Michigan 48 Western Kentucky 49 Final Fresno State 6 Rice 30
Final Illinois 18 Louisiana Tech 35 Final Rutgers 40 North Carolina 21 Final North Carolina State 34 UCF 27
2:00 PM ET Texas A&M West Virginia 5:30 PM ET Oklahoma 17 Clemson 9:00 PM ET Arkansas Texas
3:00 PM ET Notre Dame 23 LSU 6:30 PM ET 13 Georgia 21 Louisville 10:00 PM ET Maryland Stanford
12:30 PM ET 9 Ole Miss 6 TCU 4:00 PM ET 20 Boise State 10 Arizona 8:00 PM ET 7 Mississippi State 12 Georgia Tech
12:00 PM ET 19 Auburn 18 Wisconsin 12:30 PM ET 8 Michigan State 5 Baylor 1:00 PM ET 16 Missouri 25 Minnesota 5:00 PM ET 2 Oregon 3 Florida State 8:30 PM ET 1 Alabama 4 Ohio State
12:00 PM ET Houston Pittsburgh 3:20 PM ET Iowa Tennessee 6:45 PM ET 11 Kansas State 14 UCLA 10:15 PM ET Washington Oklahoma State