Friday, August 27, 2004

Zwick nudges Smith in QB competition

But both will play in opener vs. UC

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - Ohio State coach Jim Tressel offhandedly announced Thursday that Justin Zwick will start at quarterback over Troy Smith in the Buckeyes' opener against Cincinnati Sept. 4.

That was news to Zwick and Smith - not more than 10 minutes earlier, both said they had not been told who was starting or when a decision would be reached. Quarterbacks coach Joe Daniels professed he also was also in the dark.

Tressel began: "Well, today, as it will be Saturday, Justin started and Troy got to play as well."

It was only when a reporter asked the coach if he meant this Saturday - or the next Saturday, the day of the first game - that Tressel said Zwick would start.

Zwick apparently won the job after analysis of last Saturday's lengthy scrimmage. Daniels said the two QBs graded out "amazingly close" in their performance.

Asked why Zwick was declared the starter now, Tressel avoided a direct response.

"After we ran 177 plays and saw that some guys did some things well, some guys need work on other things, what seems to be the right thing to do right now is to keep working, keep putting the shovel in the ground, keep giving guys opportunities to emerge," Tressel said.

Zwick, a 6-foot-4, 225-pounder from Massillon, is one of Ohio State's most acclaimed quarterback recruits since Art Schlichter in 1979. He and Smith, a 6-1, 215-pounder from Cleveland Glenville, are redshirt sophomores.

Asked what Tressel had told him, Zwick said: "Nothing. We just go out every day and work hard."

CAPTAINS: Defensive end Simon Fraser, cornerback Dustin Fox, kicker Mike Nugent and tailback Lydell Ross were voted the Buckeyes' captains by their teammates.

SIGNING: Ohio State received a verbal commitment from Andre Amos, a 6-2, 175-pounder from Middletown who is the No. 21 wide receiver in's national rankings.

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