Ohio State hasn’t played a game in nearly six weeks, but quarterback Terrelle Pryor says he’s still dealing with bumps and bruises from the regular season.
“I’m hurting everywhere, man,” Pryor said.
The most significant pain may be from a partially torn ligament in his left knee which, Pryor revealed this week, he played with for some time.
Although Pryor would not say when he was injured, the sophomore came out of Ohio State’s win over New Mexico on Halloween because of a leg injury. He returned to play in the final three games but said the sore knee affected his mobility.
“Sometimes I have some trouble making some kinds of cuts,” he said. “It’s just a little sore. When I’m in the game or in practice, I don’t really worry about it to tell you the truth.”
Oregon Coach Chip Kelly said the news of Pryor’s injury won’t change his team’s preparation.
“Everybody’s banged up at this point. There’s no one that’s 100% healthy,” Kelly said. “It doesn’t alter our game plan. It’s not like, ‘Oh, ah-ha, this is what’s wrong with him. So we’ll do this.’
“He’s still a tremendous athlete. Maybe it says a little bit more to his athletic ability that he has been playing with an injury.”
Ohio State will wear its traditional road uniform — white jerseys with gray pants and gray helmets — on Friday.
Oregon is keeping its color scheme secret. And with 80 possible combinations to choose from, there’s no telling what the Ducks will wear.
“Our trend has been to be nontraditional,” said Andy McNamara, the school’s assistant director of sports information. “We’ve kind of embraced it.”
Oregon’s uniforms are made by Nike and are billed as lighter and more durable than the gear most teams wear. They’re also colorful, featuring jerseys in green, yellow, black and two types of white, and pants in green, black, white or “steel.” There are also four helmet options.
Kelly usually leaves the choice of combinations to close friend Casey Martin, the school’s golf coach.
“It helps,” tight end Ed Dickson said of the sartorial selections. “We dress nicely; we play nicely.”
Sharing the pain
Kelly, who spoke with reporters Tuesday for the first time this week, said he wasn’t surprised by the Urban Meyer saga at Florida, where the Gators coach resigned, then reversed course less than 24 hours later, agreeing to a leave of absence in the wake of health problems compounded by the pressures of the job.
“I wasn’t surprised that he stepped down. And I wasn’t surprised he came back,” said Kelly, who says he sent Meyer a text message of support. “I understand exactly what he’s going through. There’s a lot of factors that pull at you. There’s a lot of things in our job that we don’t like. But you can’t be a selective participant and only do the things that you like.
“I understand his type of personality and how much everything weighs on you. I just hope things work out for him because he’s a great coach and this game needs him.”
When Oregon’s fast-paced offense is on the field, the Ducks rarely waste time with huddles. “I hardly remember what a huddle is,” Dickson said.
That puts a ton of pressure on opposing defenses.
“The tough part is getting the defense called, getting lined up and making changes,” said Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Heacock. “There is a lot going on in a short amount of time and you can never do it in a game-like situation with the stress, the pressure. It adds another dimension and something else that you prepare for.”
The key to making that work is getting the defensive schemes signaled in from the sideline.
“That’s going to be a huge challenge for us,” Buckeyes linebacker Ross Homan said. “That’s a huge danger because some guys could be playing a different defense. That’s why communication is going to be a huge thing in this game.”