For now, Zwick to start Sept. 4 opener
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Justin Zwick will start at quarterback for No. 9 Ohio State in its season opener after the former heralded recruit beat out fellow sophomore Troy Smith for the job in preseason practice.
Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel offhandedly announced Thursday that Zwick would start against Cincinnati on Sept. 4. Tressel even hedged a bit after saying Zwick would start and said Smith will see action against the Bearcats.
"Well, it is up for grabs," Tressel said. "We could go and someone could do extremely poorly in the next four or five days and it might not be true."
Zwick apparently won the job after a lengthy scrimmage the Buckeyes had last Saturday in Ohio Stadium. Quarterbacks coach Joe 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. "I think we've been saying all along that there wasn't going to be any golden time, that the early season was going to be very important. It continues to be that way."
Zwick and Smith arrived at the quarterback competition by dramatically different routes.
Zwick, a 6-foot-4, 225-pounder from Massillon, is Ohio State's most acclaimed recruit at the position in recent years. He threw three passes last year while senior Craig Krenzel led the Buckeyes to an 11-2 record.
Smith is a 6-1, 215-pounder from Cleveland was recruited as an athlete and saw action on special teams last season.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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