COLUMBUS - By this point in his junior season, many expected Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor to be creating a nationwide stir with his passing, while generating a continuous stream of oohs and aahs with his athleticism and speed running the football.
Pryor has done a portion of that, but he has also spawned several distracting sideshows with his sometimes provocative and sometimes prickly shots delivered via social media.
In the hours after the Buckeyes had staged a fourth-quarter comeback and beat Iowa 20-17 on Saturday night, Pryor fired a shot at his critics by means of Twitter, utilizing the informal style common in that medium.
"Talk is cheap none of you
haters could fit my shoes w ten socks on. Bums. Go Bucks."
That was the salvo from Pryor's Twitter account that is named: @TPeezy2.
Twitter's format limits each message to 140 characters, so in an effort to maximize the message, Tweeters often ignore standard punctuation and rules of grammar, shorten words, and use phonetic versions of words.
Sometime later in the evening, when he apparently got word that ESPN college football analyst and former Ohio State quarterback Kirk Herbstreit had been somewhat critical of the Buckeyes in his pregame comments during the College GameDay broadcast at Iowa, Pryor fired a shot over Herbstreit's bow, via Twitter.
"Heard Kirk Herbstreit was dogging us. He a fake buckeye. Fake as hell."
That was the transmission from Pryor sent to his 12,397 followers via Twitter. It was soon re-transmitted by many of them, and landed in thousands more accounts before the tart message was yanked and edited.
Herbstreit, who has won an Emmy for his work on GameDay, played in a few games as a junior at Ohio State in 1991 and then was the starter the following year. Herbstreit, the first player to commit to the Buckeyes after John Cooper took over as head coach in 1988, was a captain and team MVP for Ohio State in 1992.
The native of Centerville, Ohio, whose father was an Ohio State captain on the 1960 team, playing for Woody Hayes, Herbstreit reportedly touched a nerve with Pryor by saying that a frustrated Pryor's demonstrative actions on the sidelines could harm the team. Herbstreit reportedly also said that Pryor had an excess of hype surrounding him, and that expectations of national titles and Heisman trophies created too much pressure on Pryor.
The ESPN personality has not commented publicly on Pryor's Tweet that apparently sought to strip Herbstreit of his scarlet and gray lineage.
Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, when asked a Twitter-based question Monday in his final news conference before Saturday's game with rival Michigan, professed to know little about the freestyle electronic forum.
"I don't check the Twitters too close since I don't have one," Tressel said. "What is it? Do I have a Twitter? Where do you get a Twitter? Twitter.com, okay. How much is it? Free? Oh."
Pryor, who has started 33 games at Ohio State, was not made available to the media during Monday's news conference, when more than a dozen other Buckeyes discussed their thoughts on facing Michigan. Pryor, who needs just 67 yards against the Wolverines to become Ohio State's all-time rushing leader among quarterbacks, commented after the Iowa game that he has command of his team.
"I love looking in my guys' eyes," Pryor said. "I might not be the best quarterback or have the best stats, but I guarantee you I can bring my team back and make them believe that we're going to come back. I don't want to be denied. I hate losing."
When asked about Saturday's season finale in Ohio Stadium, when Ohio State will play for a sixth straight Big Ten title and a likely BCS bowl bid, Pryor followed the OSU company line religiously.
"Obviously, Big Ten championships and all that matter," he said, "but we've got to beat Michigan."
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