"Right now, the starting quarterback is Scott McMullen," Conley said. "Of course, Craig (Krenzel) will be dressed and on the sidelines and will be ready to go. We'll see what happens the next few days, but Scott McMullen will be the starter.
"Forty-eight hours will tell us what Craig's health will be. But the plans we've made all week was to game plan as though Scott McMullen will be the starting quarterback."
Conley was pleased with McMullen's workmanlike performance in the win over Bowling Green.
"Basically with Scotty, we were happy with what he did last week," he said. "He showed great leadership on the field and right now, he's the guy that's getting the call."
As for Krenzel, the rehab on his right elbow strain is progressing fairly well.
"I think it's going pretty well – we're very positive," Conley said. "It seems like Craig is getting better each day, so we're extremely happy with the progress that has been made."
Conley was asked if Krenzel could come in off the bench this week if the game is unexpectedly close.
"Yes, that is very possible. We'll just have to see what the next couple days bring."
The doctors are trying to slowly work Krenzel back in the fold. He threw quite a bit on Tuesday, but he won't be throwing any more footballs until warm-ups on Saturday.
"I know he's been slowly progressing with some tennis balls and some things like that," Conley said. "I'm not sure how many long throws with the football he's done, but he's been doing some exercises and loosening it up. He did not throw out on the field today."
Although Krenzel is being held out for the second week in a row, Conley said there has not been a setback to the injury.
"No, I don't think there's been a setback," he said. "I think anytime you've had any type of injury, the first time to get any exercise whatsoever on it, you are going to have a little pain the next day. So, I think that's just something he'll have to work through."
The Buckeyes are fortunate to have another senior QB to turn to with Krenzel out. McMullen has always had a reputation as a good passer and now with more snaps under his belt, his confidence is growing.
"There is no substitute for the heat of battle," Conley said. "And when you get in the heat of battle, obviously it gets you more confident and more relaxed the more you're in there. So, I think it's going to be one of those situations where every snap, Scotty will get better and better. He's got the talent; he's got the skills; he's got the confidence of his teammates. It looks like everybody is excited that Scotty is ready to go."
Much has been said this week about McMullen's relaxed attitude in the huddle. Krenzel is also a cool guy under fire, but McMullen has been known to fire off jokes to his teammates during the game.
"Scotty has a great personality," Conley said. "He's a guy where the one thing you never have to worry about is Scott McMullen dying of a heart attack. He's really cool and calm under pressure and that's really crucial in the game of football because it's such an intense game anyway."
Looking at Northwestern's defense, Conley is concerned about the Wildcats' ability to force turnovers.
"The defense of Northwestern, the one thing they really like to do is that they'll run to the football," he said. "They will flat fly. And the one thing – which is something that we stressed a year ago and we're stressing again this year – is they really try and create turnovers. If there is one thing they work hard on, it's stripping the football. And not just running backs, but receivers. Once they catch the ball, they'll come up and try to strip. On special teams, they try to strip the ball also. So, that's one of the reasons they've been successful is that they create turnovers."
Krenzel and McMullen also met with the media after Thursday's practice.
After waiting for so long for his turn, McMullen is happy to finally get a chance to contribute to the Buckeyes' success.
"It's exciting," McMullen said. "Last week, I got that first start, first win under my belt, and hopefully we can continue this week."
As for Krenzel, he threw a lot earlier in the week with the hopes of being ready for the game.
"I threw the most (Wednesday)," Krenzel said. "I threw a little bit Tuesday, threw quite a bit (Wednesday), then kind of backed off (Thursday). I'd like to throw a little bit (Friday). Saturday, I'll warm up and be available for the game. Scotty is going to start and depending on what happens, I'll be available."
Krenzel is still having some pain in the elbow when he throws.
"I'm throwing the ball pretty well," he said. "Not 100 percent. A couple throws sometimes it still bothers me a little bit. But, for the most part, I'm throwing the ball well."
The injury is not getting worse, but it hasn't got much better recently either.
"Yeah, it's been about the same pain in the mornings – especially now that I've started throwing," Krenzel said. "But, as long as it's not getting worse, that's a good sign. It's just been kind of stiff and sore in the mornings and as the day goes on, it loosens up a little bit. So, it's getting better, slowly but surely, and the bye week next week is definitely going to help the cause."
Krenzel was asked if he'd prefer to sit out the Northwestern game so he knows he'll be ready for Wisconsin in two weeks.
"I'd prefer to play," he said. "I'd prefer to play all 60 minutes. If I was 100 percent and was able to play, I'd like to play, obviously. I'd like to be on the field.
"From a recovery standpoint, I think one of the reasons why I won't play – or won't start – will be the fact that the doctors and trainers think that it's best for the recovery of the elbow to take another week off."
Since Krenzel threw earlier in the week and is now being told not to throw, has there been a setback in his recovery?
"No, not a setback," Krenzel said. "I think that (Wednesday), I threw about 40 balls. Maybe 15 or 20 of them were some deep routes, trying to put a little zip on them. I think after talking with the doctors, they decided maybe I threw a little bit too much (Wednesday) and it's something that we want to ease back into. Especially throwing the ball down field and that kind of thing. I haven't thrown the ball down the field at all."
On Thursday, Krenzel just watched from the sidelines. Justin Zwick got most of the reps with the twos.
"I was outside, but I wasn't doing anything with the team, or any of the receivers," Krenzel said. "I was just with the trainers throwing."
McMullen was asked what he is expecting to see from Northwestern's defense.
"I think they are a good team," he said. "They've got a lot of guys back from last year. I know when they come into the 'Shoe on Saturday, they'll going to bring their best game."
Like Conley said, eliminating turnovers is a major goal for the Bucks.
"We've been stressing all week that we really can't turn over the ball," McMullen said. "It's been a big focal point to just keep the ball in our possession."
Even though McMullen is the starter for now, he really hasn't changed the way he approaches practice. He's the same old gunslinger, with maybe a little more confidence in himself.
"I think not much has changed with Scotty," Krenzel said. "I think the biggest difference is the fact – like any other quarterback – getting more reps in practice and more reps with the ones and a full game under his belt, he just looks more comfortable. And that's just natural."