Vince Young Redux?

While Vince Young didn’t win the Heisman Trophy in 2005, he did finish second–and by all accounts was the popular revisionist choice following his incredible performance against USC in that year’s BCS title game. 

But Young’s ’05 campaign was kicked off by his heroics against Michigan in the 2005 Rose Bowl following the 2004 season.  His deadly run-pass combination against the Wolverines signaled what was to come in ’05 and showed that he had matured as a player and leader.

While his stats weren’t quite as impressive, we might be seeing the same transformation happening with Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor

Like Young, he led his team to a Rose Bowl win as a sophomore (albeit a second-year one–Young had the benfit of a redshirt season), crushing the will of his opponent through the air and on the ground.  Pryor threw for 266 yards and two touchdowns on 23 of 37 passing and he added another 72 yards rushing, with many of those yards of the back-breaking variety.  And he did it all on a partially torn knee ligament.

Bowl season often serves as a harbinger of things to come.   Without a doubt, Pryor’s Rose Bowl MVP performance puts him on the short list of 2010 Heisman contenders.

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Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of Heismanpundit.com, a site dedicated to analysis of the Heisman Trophy and college football. Dubbed “the foremost authority on the Heisman” by Sports Illustrated, HP is regularly quoted or cited during football season in newspapers across the country. He is also a regular contributor on sports talk radio and television.

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9 Responses to Vince Young Redux?

  1. Ed Newman January 4, 2010 at 11:19 am #

    I hope you’re right about Pryor but I think he needs to make a much bigger leap between seasons than Young did. I watched both games and Young was clearly better against Michigan than Pryor was here. Pryor didn’t show the same breakaway speed or the pocket sense I remember from Young. Pryor just doesn’t seem as aware of the rush. He also seems to give up on a play very early. Where it looked as if Vince ran when he saw a chance to make a big play, it seems Pryor jumps off the #1 option and never even considers the #2 option before he takes off. He runs out of necessity not choice.

    Pryor’s ability to throw in this game makes me optimistic. I wish I was more sure of his ability to stay in the pocket with his head up to give his receivers a chance to get open.

  2. slippy January 4, 2010 at 12:11 pm #

    Ed did you really watch Vince Young? The Texas offense was very basic for him. It was shotgun, 3 wide almost every play (in fact the NC game they ran 1 offensive play not from that formation). He had one read; his 2nd read was to run.

    TP waits too long to run sometimes (hence takes more sacks). The TD pass to Saine was his very last read on that play (at least 3 WR if not a TE as well).

  3. Bucknut January 4, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    I seen a huge transformation in Pryor in this game. He is definitely looking at more targets when he throws and not glaring down one receiver which cuts down on any QB’s picks thrown in a game. He definitely ran alot more and consistently. Not to mention he doesn’t have to run all the time. He has Boom Herron and Zoom Saine.

  4. Ed Newman January 4, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    I did watch Vince though it was 5 years ago now. I don’t dispute your contentions. Perhaps his instructions were to run if his first read wasn’t open. Others were designed QB draws. What I definitely recall was very little hesitation in Young and more raw running ability (or maybe it is just more raw speed). I’ve seen a lot of Michigan games and Young destroyed that Michigan team like no player I’ve ever seen. Pryor had a good game versus Oregon, but Young had one of the most dominant games I have ever seen in college.

    I don’t think Pryor is on the brink of breaking out similar to VY next year. Part of this is that the OSU offensive philosophy will stifle him, part is that I don’t think he makes quick enough decisions/reads.

  5. Ed Newman January 4, 2010 at 2:17 pm #

    I’d also be a little concerned about taking one game and assuming Pryor has addressed all his issues. He had handcuffs on him for the second half of the season, had one good game after 6 weeks of prep, and we are ready to say his “glaring down a receiver” and other QB issues are a thing of the past? When he has only a week to prepare for what Penn State or Iowa will throw at him defensively, and looks like a confident QB in charge of the passing game, then we can put those labels to rest.

    Pryor will be good, no doubt. His raw talent and strength will erase a lot of mistakes and the team around him will be great. Will he make the progression that Troy Smith made and put up stats and performances that lead to the Heisman? I don’t think that will happen in his junior year.

  6. Bucknut January 5, 2010 at 2:08 am #

    I agree. It will take Pryor two more years to develope in the all around qb and even then he might be a wide receiver in the NFL.

  7. Glen January 6, 2010 at 5:42 pm #

    I know Pryor is an amazing-looking athlete, but I don’t see the evidence that he is a great quarterback. I wouldn’t be shocked if he becomes one, but I’m not going to anoint him as a Heisman candidate until he shows something on the field. A 266-yard passing game against a fairly average defense does not blow me away.

  8. CloroxingTheGenePool January 6, 2010 at 6:48 pm #

    If Pryor stays healthy, he will set the career yards from scrimmage record for Ohio State. That, plus playing in arguably the toughest conference in the country (coming off of 4 bowls wins over top 15 teams, which hasn’t been done since the Big 10 last did it in the late 90s) but especially, putting his team into the national title game, will be what will give him a shot. Anyone who thinks it’s just about his passing ability is a simpleton…..

  9. Bucknut January 7, 2010 at 1:17 am #

    True. The man can make plays with his feet first and throwing second. And he doesn’t have to throw the long bomb. Run, run, dump pass. Run, run, dump pass, etc.