I've long been an admirer of Oregon Ducks blog Addicted To Quack
and its weekly pregame feature exchanging questions and answers
with a fan blog for the opposing team.
And since a WW
staffer has a brother who's a huge Ohio State fan, I'm going to take a run at doing something similar here in the run-up to the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 between Oregon and Ohio State. In other words, I'll ask him questions about the Buckeyes and he'll ask me questions about the Ducks. And we'll also take your questions in the comments section.
I won't belabor my Ducks mania (read here
if you must know), but I do want to introduce you to the Buckeyes fan who's been nice enough to join in the conversation.
He's Noah Litton, a 26-year-old Naval officer currently stationed in San Diego. He's been a Buckeye fan all his life and says his happiest memory rooting for Ohio State football came when the Buckeyes beat Miami to win the 2002 national championship
We'll get to game predictions as the Rose Bowl draws nearer. For now, know that Noah is guardedly optimistic about the Buckeyes' chances of beating Oregon (I am strangely confident for the moment that the Ducks will beat Ohio State).
We'll start the conversation with a question that's been on Ducks fans' minds since Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor spurned
Oregon's entreaties to play for Ohio State: How much has Pryor progressed since he got to Columbus?"
Here's Noah's answer:
Ducks fans might not need to lose much sleep over losing Terrelle Pryor in the recruiting wars. His progression as a quarterback has been uneven at best and the source of much consternation in Columbus, particularly after the sophomore's three-turnover midseason meltdown loss at Purdue
(a team Oregon narrowly beat at home in September).
Many credit Pryor's solid debut during his freshman season (he led the Big 10 in pass efficiency) to the fact that little was asked of him. First-round draft pick Beanie Wells
toted the load at running back, and T.P. was limited to roughly 15 passes per game.
With the offensive load more squarely on his shoulders this season, his efficiency has slipped. And there are valid criticisms of everything from his mechanics (he tends to "shotput" the football) to his decision-making abilities (he often stares down his primary target and struggles to check off to other receivers) to his composure. He has 16 touchdowns to 10 interceptions for the year.
That said, he has improved significantly on and off the field following the Purdue loss for which he took full responsibility. With the exception of a tipped interception against Michigan, he played his last three games down the stretch without a turnover, including wins against top #15 teams Penn State and Iowa.
His improved play has coincided with the resurgence of the Ohio State ground game (over 200 yards rushing in those three games,) so it is difficult to say how Pryor might play in a game that comes down to his arm. The 6-foot-6 quarterback's greatest strength remains his legs, as he leads the Buckeye rushing attack this season in both categories with 707 yards and seven rushing touchdowns