Tressel says Wells won't play Saturday, and doesn't name starting QB

Updated: September 18, 2008, 7:47 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said Thursday that Chris "Beanie" Wells, who is recovering from an injured right foot, will not play in Saturday's game against Troy.

Tressel also did not name a starting quarterback.

Wells practiced Wednesday, his second straight day of workouts, and Tressel said things were going better this week than last, when Wells' foot was too sore to go consecutive days.

"I think he's making progress," Tressel said. "I can't promise exactly when he'll be back, but I felt a little bit better after yesterday than I felt at the end of last week."

More ominous, however, was Tressel's lack of a guarantee that Wells would be able to play against the Minnesota Golden Gophers the following week. When asked about Wells' persuasive powers about getting himself into the lineup anyway, Tressel said: "Interest in doing it and really being able to do it are two different things."

Tressel's quarterback situation is no clearer. Freshman Terrelle Pryor took about 60 percent of the practice snaps this week, but he and senior Todd Boeckman might still end up sharing the workload against Troy.

In the wake of the Buckeyes' 35-3 loss to top-ranked Southern California last weekend, Tressel came away impressed with Pryor and down on Boeckman.

Pryor and Boeckman are likely to split duties against Troy. Tressel said he did not know who would start.

"It's been about 60-40 with Terrelle getting about 60 percent of the reps," Tressel said Thursday. "As we go into the game after we review today's practice, I think we're still in the thought process that it'll be about equal. … Both of them are doing pretty good."

Neither quarterback was permitted to speak with reporters this week. Nor was offensive coordinator Jim Bollman.

Tressel gushed over Pryor's play against USC. In 25 plays, Pryor completed 7 of 9 passes for 52 yards and ran for 40 yards. The Buckeyes averaged 5.1 yards per play when he was under center. Boeckman started and played almost all the difficult downs -- when the Trojans knew the Buckeyes had to pass -- and completed 14 of 21 passes for 84 yards with two interceptions and one fumble.

"Terrelle has progressed with the lack of snaps in practice and the game more than you think he would," Tressel said earlier this week. "I've seen a freshman get kind of thrown into the fire and grow every practice and grow every game."

The coaching staff sat down with Pryor, the 6-foot-6 Pennsylvania prep star who chose Ohio State over Michigan, Penn State and several other major programs, to tell him what was expected of him this week.

"Our expectations above all others are these: you make big plays, you make great decisions, you don't turn the ball over, and that's how you'll be evaluated above all other things," Tressel said. "We're going to evaluate your footwork, how you carry out your fakes, we're going to evaluate every little thing. But not like we'll evaluate what we call those 'big three."

Pryor leads the Buckeyes in rushing, but with a scant 129 yards in three games (5.2 per attempt). He has rushed for one touchdown, but has yet to throw a touchdown pass or an interception.

Tressel said Boeckman hasn't exactly clicked his heels over the decision.

"He's handled it well. It hasn't been what he'd wish for. And I'd have been disappointed if it was," Tressel said. "Because I want a quarterback who says 'I want to be in there every play and I want to show you why.'"

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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