April 13, 2011
Tressel: Pryor belongs at QB
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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Some found moving quarterback Terrelle Pryor to a different position as a reasonable thought. As it turns out, Jim Tressel isn't on the same page.
Despite the fact that Pryor will miss the first five games of next season while serving out a suspension, the assertion that the senior could help Ohio State more at another position upon his return is simply wrong in Tressel's eyes.
In the midst of that argument, ESPN NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. said he felt that Pryor - a 6-foot-6, 230-pound quarterback - projects to the tight end position at the next level.
Again, Tressel disagrees.
"As you listen to the experts that making sure a guy can do things from under center and shotgun are crucial in that league," Tressel said. "He's done both, but he needs to get better at both. I think his footwork and the quickness of his decision-making has to keep improving.
"I'll say this - I doubt if anyone in the draft of 2012 will be picking him as a tight end," Tressel continued. "I would venture to guess, and it is just my opinion and I am certainly not Mel Kiper, but my guess would be is that he'll be selected as a quarterback."
With Pryor missing nearly half the season causing some debate as to whether or not it would be in Ohio State's best interest to move him to another position - namely wide receiver - Tressel has found the senior to be most effective at quarterback.
But Kiper asserted that Pryor still has a lot to prove to the NFL when it comes to his ability at quarterback. With Pryor missing five games to start the season, Kiper said Pryor's ability to prove that has been weakened because of time constraints.
"I've thought all along he was a tight end," Kiper said on a conference call. "I talked about (former Florida quarterback) Tim Tebow the same way last year. I think his best chance to be a very good NFL player is as an H-back. I think Pryor is going to be a projection to tight end.
"Did he need to play those five games to prove he can be a quarterback? Yeah, he did," Kiper continued. "I think there is going to be some concern whether he is going to be a quarterback or a position change, like I said, to a tight end spot."
While Tressel won't begin to question the merits of Kiper's argument when talking about Pryor's need to continue his improvement, Ohio State's head coach sees ample opportunity for the quarterback to improve himself in the final seven games of the regular season.
Tressel got confirmation that Pryor is headed in the right direction from the source - people are directly affiliated with NFL teams.
"When we had our pro day and we had all those head coaches and assistant coaches and GMs (here)," Tressel said, "and as we were talking to them about Terrelle and trying to pick their brain as to what's the next step we need to make, almost every one of them talked about how he really made a quantum leap last year.
"It was in just the way he managed the game, the way they could tell he understood the game, and most of them said whether he plays seven games or 12 really isn't as important as how he plays those seven games and the refinement and improvement and those types of things. We've got to go to work like crazy."
Newsome in Tressel's 'doghouse'
Jonathan Newsome was supposedly in line to step right into the battle for the starting strongside linebacker this spring, but he has yet to participate much with the team through eight practices.
The absence of Newsome in drills during practice was odd to the reporters who have been invited in to watch snippets of Ohio State's drills and Tressel confirmed Tuesday that Newsome is in his 'doghouse.'
What Newsome has done to get there was left unspecified, but Tressel is confident he'll be back in the good graces of the team shortly.
"I've been known to have a doghouse, and Jonathan is in and out of it simply because we're not 100 percent sure he's been doing everything he needs to do to the best of his abilities," Tressel said. "I don't expect him to be in it long, but sometimes we have do what we think will help a young person learn."
Ari Wasserman is a staff writer for BuckeyeGrove.com. He can be reached at Ari@BuckeyeGrove.com.
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