Tressel Discusses Quarterback Situation

OSU coach Jim Tressel told the media at his weekly luncheon that Craig Krenzel, provided he is healthy, would start Saturday's pivotal Big Ten showdown with Michigan State (noon, ABC). But backup Scott McMullen, who keyed the team's comeback win at Penn State, also figures to play. Click this free link to read what Tressel had to say about the QB situation, as well as MSU and Maurice Clarett's status.

OSU head coach Jim Tressel announced at his luncheon today that senior Craig Krenzel, if healthy, would be the starting quarterback for Saturday's key Big Ten showdown with Michigan State (noon, ABC regional telecast).

But Tressel also made a point to say he would like to see senior backup Scott McMullen, who rallied the team to a 21-20 win at Penn State last Saturday after Krenzel was injured, get a chance to play as well.

"I think Craig would work light today," Tressel said. "He ran some yesterday on his own. He felt fine. They will probably let him throw and move around a little today. I don't think they will let him in any team drills and so forth. They are usually pretty conservative when it comes to this type of injury. On Wednesday, I expect he will be full speed ahead.

"Craig Krenzel, barring any medical (problems), will be our starting quarterback. But the thing I like about our situation is it is becoming more obvious that Scott McMullen can contribute as well. I'm sure if the situation is right that that will happen on Saturday and both Craig and Scott will have a chance to help this football team."

When asked about specifics surrounding Krenzel's injury -- which was termed a head bump after the game on Saturday -- Tressel replied, "You know, I'm not sure. I haven't really talked to the doctor whether it's this or that. I guess the phrase I would use is he got his bell rung. I just think he was banged pretty hard (by PSU linebacker Deryck Toles)."

Tressel was asked about what McMullen brings to the table and also how Krenzel may react to the news that he could be sharing quarterback duties for the foreseeable future.

"I think, plain and simple, Scott has earned the opportunity to play some," Tressel said. "I'm never going to sit here and promise anybody how much they're going to play. We alternate at many positions. Obviously, it's more visible when you do it at quarterback. In many cases, there is a difference in what quarterbacks can do. The thing I felt good about with Scott stepping into our ballgame this past weekend is he knows what we're doing, he can do what we're doing. He's demonstrated as a starter that he is very capable.

"I would hope that Craig would look at it as, `Hey, we've got one more good guy who's going to help us win.' "

Tressel admitted it is not easy to pull Krenzel, who boasts a 21-2 record as a starting quarterback at OSU.

"I think his record as a starter is pretty fair," the coach said. "But Scott McMullen has worked hard with the opportunities he's had to make the most of them.

"I have always felt it is better to have two good quarterbacks if you want to win it all. Now how much each of them will play, I would be kidding you if I told you I knew the answer to that today."

Offensive tackle Shane Olivea added his two cents on the quarterback situation.

"I have been with Scott for four years now," Olivea said. "You know he wants to make plays. He has been playing pretty well. We have two quarterbacks who are capable of doing the job and are going to help the team."

Also Quotable

* Tressel on what he gleaned from watching MSU's 27-20 loss to Michigan: "Michigan State will be a great challenge. The Michigan State-Michigan game was a great battled. Neither team gave up. They have a great quarterback and a great offensive scheme that can give you a lot of trouble."

* Tressel on OSU's status in the BCS race: "It's irrelevant unless we do well. If we win all of our games, they will send us wherever. If we don't, we'll go someplace else. Michigan State -- come watch the film of them and you won't be thinking about the BCS."

* Tressel on where suspended tailback Maurice Clarett stands right now: "I have not seen much of him. My inclination is he is doing what he has to do academically. We'll cross that reinstatement bridge when the time is right. I saw him two or three weeks ago. He stopped through and seemed to be doing pretty good."

* OSU defensive end Will Smith on the proliferation of passing offenses in college football: "In the past two or three years, we have seen a lot of teams throw the ball. But I think with our defensive scheme, we are pretty confident."

* Tressel on first-year MSU coach John L. Smith: "They have a fine football team and John L. Smith, I've known him for years. He is a guy that just wins games. He has been there, done that. He is at a good place with good players and that contributes to how they've been able to win."

* Tressel on his team's rough November slate: "We talk about November constantly. November is really when you identify yourself as a football team. We knew we would have a grueling November, beginning with Penn State. Then we move forward with Michigan State. This is a special time for every team and special time for your seniors. There is the reality that their college career is coming to an end.

"And, when you have an opportunity to earn, perhaps, all of the goals you have set for the year in the month of November, that makes it an even more exciting time for those seniors."

* Tressel had no update on fullback Brandon Schnittker, who missed the PSU game. He did say, however, that backup offensive lineman Mike Kne is questionable.

* We will post our Michigan State preview and Game Data pages sometime in the next 24 hours. Sorry for the delay.

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