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OSU Three-horse race at QB still on Ohio State only Big Ten team with starter in doubt

By Doug Harris Dayton Daily News

CHICAGO | Ohio State is one of six Big Ten teams that will be unboxing and taking the bubble wrap off a new quarterback this season.

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Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan State also will have a fresh face under center and are bracing for the assorted missteps that normally accompany transitions at college football's most complicated position.

But while much can change between now and September — even at schools with established QBs — no team appears in less of a hurry to put an end to its signal-caller suspense than Ohio State.

Everyone else in the conference has at least declared a clear-cut No. 1 going into fall camp. But for the Buckeyes, who begin practice Tuesday, Justin Zwick and Troy Smith are 1A and 1B.

"Based on the knowledge and information we have, that's the way it is," OSU coach Jim Tressel said at the Big Ten meetings here Thursday. "Our staff believes it would be less than accurate to say we feel so-and-so is the quarterback. The players will decide that by their performance."

Tressel said the battle between the third-year sophomores is so keen that a definitive winner probably won't be declared before the Sept. 4 opener against Cincinnati.

"I think both guys feel they have earned the right to say, 'I ought to have the 29 (preseason) practices and a couple ball games to prove I can be the guy.' I concur with that," Tressel said.

While careful not to disparage another's approach, Tressel said those who have picked a new starter this summer could have a change of heart.

"We all look at seasons where we think so-and-so will step in and be the quarterback, and someone else emerged and ends up being the leader of the team," Tressel said.

But at least one Big Ten contender has no such uncertainty. Purdue coach Joe Tiller said preseason offensive player of the year Kyle Orton has "a big-league arm." And Tiller plans to use it.

"We're going to ride this horse to the finish line," he said. "We're going to put it up."

Penn State — with four-year starter Zack Mills at quarterback — won't be shy about going to the air, either. Mills had a subpar season in 2003, but coach Joe Paterno said the left-hander's struggles were not all his own.

"As a team last year, we didn't play well," Paterno said. "We didn't catch some balls. Our running game wasn't good at times. And unfortunately Zack took the brunt of the criticism.

"If we get things in better shape around him, I think Zack will show just how fine a quarterback he is."

Wisconsin coach Barry Alavarez is putting untested sophomore John Stocco at the controls of an otherwise veteran team. And the standards for Stocco won't be high.

"You just want someone who's not going to lose games for you," Alvarez said.

Tressel's checklist for his new QB probably won't be much different. While seldom spectacular the last two seasons, departed starter Craig Krenzel excelled at avoiding the costly mistake. And the Buckeyes racked up a 25-2 record in their most prosperous two-year period in history.

<>Tressel hopes Zwick and Smith were paying attention. "There's a lot of difficulty in replacing Craig Krenzel in so many areas," Tressel said. "One is leadership, two is work ethic, three is his performance and ... when it was really a tough time in tough games, he was the guy a lot of people looked to, and he delivered."


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I'm not sure we won't see both of them in all the early games. If they both remain as close as they currently are, they we're going to see a pontoon. Maybe in this case it's not such a bad thing.
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Brutus1 said:
I'm not sure we won't see both of them in all the early games. If they both remain as close as they currently are, they we're going to see a pontoon. Maybe in this case it's not such a bad thing.

1. A floating structure, such as a flatbottom boat, that is used to support a bridge.
2. A floating structure serving as a dock.
3. A float on a seaplane

Humm, the last pontoon I remember at QB (for the Bucks) was Jim Karsatos ... Who was that QB at Kentucky? Now that guy was a BIG pontoon, maybe even a barge. :biggrin: Just kidding Brutus.
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When I was 8 I got pulled over in a pontoon. I was charged with 4 violations:

1. Speeding
2. Driving under age
3. Towing someone in a non towing zone
4. Towing someone without a life jacket.

Memories. :biggrin:

If Zwick and Smith both play a lot this year it will be because neither one of them will have clearly won the job. Hopefully one of them will separate themselves early in the season.
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3yardsandacloud said:
1. A floating structure, such as a flatbottom boat, that is used to support a bridge.
2. A floating structure serving as a dock.
3. A float on a seaplane

Humm, the last pontoon I remember at QB (for the Bucks) was Jim Karsatos ... Who was that QB at Kentucky? Now that guy was a BIG pontoon, maybe even a barge. :biggrin: Just kidding Brutus.

Actually, I always use the word pontoon instead of platoon when referring to a qb switch. I know a guy that always called it pontoon and it struck me as hilarious, so I always refer to it in those terms. I do appreciate the 3 definitions you provided, though. See, you can learn more than football on BP.!!!
:biggrin: :oh: :io:
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Does anyone think these statistics are relevant?

(Smith) He's a career 45% passer in high school. Last two spring games combined for Smith... 25 of 52, 268 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT.

Zwick over same period: 31 of 53, 382 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT.

Or do passing yards get discounted due to Smith's running ability.

Was the white jersey thing in this year's Spring game completely unfair?

Are the stats skewed due to Beokmen (sp??) getting so many reps in place of Smith this year?

Are people just myopic when it comes to Zwick/Smith sort of like Democrat/Rebublican?

My eyes told me during the Spring game that Zwick was the real deal and I should be excited. They also told me that Smith got to return kicks and run hand-offs last year affording him playing time as well as the chance to get hurt, while Zwick didn't get to line up at tight end or on the field goal block units thus illustrating that he's being either coddled or his health is being managed as the heir apparent to the 2003 Fiest Bowl/National Championship MVP QB.

What if Zwick would've come in last year and lit it up for say 4 touchdown passes vs PSU? Would Krenzel have ever seen the field again? You can't keep your senior- I believe he was- Captain (I'm perhaps mistaken in this instance)- MVP QB out of the line up.

What if all of this controversy is all about rhetoric and Tressel playing with the media and the fans for as long as he can make them believe the charade? To confuse opponents.

Yes. These are bound to be considered by some as "crazed conspiracy logic" types of questions but these are just a few things that keep me awake at night with 24.5 days left until opening Saturday.

Anybody see this Article at Foxsports on The Evolution of a QB written by that genuis Matt Hayes? ?

I hope Zwick reads it.
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no idea how to insert the picture
personally i like my qb right around 3 bills
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Those Florida fans look like they've never seen a pontoon. Nice find jimotis and good call on Lorenzen prof.

Brutus1, I hope you know I was just kidding with you, although you may have just added to the Buckeye football lexicon. I'm considering use of the term "pontoon" as a full-time feature. Gems like that and "paint the endzones" only come around so often and one must sieze the moment.

BuckNutty, I always knew you were the rebellious type. I just gotta know what you were towing with a pontoon boat?

CBuck ... :lol:

Slickman, I took last year's play of Smith to mean that the coaching staff just had to find a way to get him on the field. Zwick locked up the #3 QB position (last season), but Smith was too versitile, too dangerous, not to be utilized in some fashion. I kind of saw it as a compliment to Smith's abilities. Zwick just edged you out on #3 QB spot and will prevent you from seeing the field much (if at all) at QB, but you're too talented not to see action ... let's find a way to get you some touches.
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How do you post the images?? I tried and couldnt figure it out.

And i totally agree with you 3, you have to get smith on the field no matter what. Kick returns, split wide, rb somehow that kind of talent much get touches he is too explosive and versatile to not touch the pig skin.
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