Spring drills open up Thursday with the Scarlet and Gray Game set for April 23 at Ohio Stadium.
Working backward from No. 10, we are up to the second pressing question leading into spring football.
2. Who is going to play quarterback for OSU in 2005?
Troy Smith's status for the season opener against Miami (Ohio) has apparently been resolved: Jim Tressel announced Tuesday that Smith will miss the opener. Smith was suspended two weeks before the Alamo Bowl for receiving illegal extra benefits. Justin Zwick, who started OSU's first six games before going down with an injury, stepped into the void and helped lead the Buckeyes to their win over Oklahoma State.
Aside from that misstep, most would say that Smith maintains a hold on the starting job. After all, his performance in the win over Michigan (386 yards total offense without a turnover) ranks as one of the top overall games by an Ohio State quarterback in recent memory. It was Smith who helped rally the team to its 4-1 finish to the regular season.
But Zwick was listed as the starter on the team's pre-spring depth chart.
All of this presents an interesting dynamic. It seems to be Smith's job, but Zwick will likely have to open the season if he is ineligible. And if Zwick plays well against Miami, most believe it would be Tressel's decision to stick with him for the all-important second game against Texas. What happens after that would be anybody's guess.
Of course, one of these fine juniors could run away and hide with the job with an outstanding spring. And, it will be interesting to see how Todd Boeckman, a former grayshirt and redshirt who has not played competitively since 2002, fares this spring. Some believe he could give Zwick and/or Smith a real run for their money.
This will be one competition to enjoy watching as the spring unfolds.
"I feel good about the quarterback situation," offensive coordinator Jim Bollman said. "We have a lot of experience at the position, suddenly. Justin will keep getting better, Troy has shown what he can do and I think we're all excited about Todd. So, it should be a competitive spring and that's what you're looking for as a coach."
Tressel indicated Tuesday that Zwick would begin spring ball getting two-thirds of the reps with the first team and Smith getting one-third.
On Tuesday, we began this 10-part feature with the No. 10 pressing question for the spring:
10. Will several players "on the spot" deliver?
Click this link for a look at that installment including spring practice dates, the 2005 schedule and returning starters for OSU in 2005.
On Wednesday, we had question No. 9: 9. Will Ted Ginn Jr. spend a great deal of his time at cornerback?
On Thursday, we had question No. 8: 8. How will new assistant coach Paul Haynes fare in his debut with the Buckeyes?
On Friday, we had question No. 7: 7. How will OSU juggle the linebackers and will Mike D'Andrea be full-go?
On Saturday, we had question No. 6: 6. Will somebody step up at defensive end?
On Sunday, we had question No. 5: 5. Will the offensive line continue its progression and, as a result, will the running game come back any time soon?
On Monday, we had question No. 4: 4. Who is going to play running back for OSU in 2005?
On Tuesday, we had question No. 3: 3. Will OSU find serviceable replacements in the kicking game?