<
>

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.