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Prepping for Terrelle Pryor

One of the biggest challenges for Navy is trying to prepare for Ohio State's dynamic quarterback, sophomore Terrelle Pryor. The 6-foot-6, 235 pound Pryor ran the 40-yard dash in 4.33 seconds this summer, leading Navy Coach Ken Niumatalolo to call him "Usain Bolt in pads." Navy safety Wyatt Middleton described Pryor, the top recruit in the country a year ago, as a "taller, smarter Michael Vick."

"It's hard to simulate," Niumatalolo said of Pryor. "He's as tall as [Navy basketball coach Billy Lange's] forwards on the basketball team, and he's as fast as [Navy track coach Stephen] Cooksey's guys on the track team. Maybe faster than them. We just do the best we can."

The only player on Navy's roster who comes close to matching Pryor in height and weight is senior defensive end Cameron Marshall (6-6, 233), a 26-year old former Marine. So the scout team role of Pryor has fallen to Kameron Smith, a rangy 6-1, 187-pound sophomore.

Smith knows that he can't replicate Pryor's speed and strength. "So what I try to do is give them a good look by trying to play fast, going 100 percent each play," he said. "I try to give them some moves here and there, because I know Terrelle Pryor is pretty good at giving moves."

The biggest challenge for Navy's defense will be trying to contain Pryor, because he's so dangerous when plays break down and he has to run, Smith said. "I think they're ready," he added.

Ohio State faces its own challenge in trying to prepare for Navy's triple-option offense. During a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, Coach Jim Tressel said that it's been helpful having the entire preseason to work against the option, though "I'm not sure there's ever enough time. ... The hard part is emulating it. No one does it with the speed and tenacity of Navy." Because Navy has so many new skill players, the Buckeyes study the scheme more than the personnel, Tressel said.

Ohio State redshirt sophomore Rocco Pentello, a star quarterback in high school who moved to defensive back in college, has been running the scout team offense. In the Buckeyes' jersey scrimmage, he broke loose for a 33-yard touchdown run. Earlier in the month, the Columbus Dispatch's blog proclaimed that "the Buckeyes might have had a better quarterback running the offense than Navy will," referring to the way Pentello deftly handled option pitches and ran the ball. (Scroll down to the Aug. 20 entry: "Navy on the radar.")

By Camille Powell  |  September 3, 2009; 11:07 AM ET
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