QuarterbacksLove him or hate him, Bellisari had a lock on the OSU quarterback job for the better part of three seasons. He started 31 straight games before being suspended for the Illinois game after being arrested for driving under the influence.
Juniors Scott McMullen (6-3, 215) and Craig Krenzel (6-4, 215) each had a chance to make a case for the starting job, but Bellisari ended up coming back to lead the rally against South Carolina.
In McMullen's one start, against Illinois, he was 4-of-13 passing for 42 yards and a touchdown before being replaced with Krenzel.
In two seasons, Krenzel is 28-of-56 passing for 343 yards and one touchdown while being intercepted four times. He has started two of the nine games he has played in, which includes the win over Michigan.
Over the same span, McMullen started in one of his eight games, going 11-of-32 for 173 and two touchdowns while being picked off once.
Both quarterbacks are pocket passers, but Krenzel has the experience edge and avoids making mistakes. McMullen intangibles are a live arm and a quick release.
After spring workouts, Krenzel was listed as the No. 1 signal caller, but the head coach was pleased with both players' performance.
"I know a lot of people in here would like me to name a quarterback, but I don't know the answer," Tressel told the Dispatch. "Until you can really evaluate them when it's real, it's really tough to say."
Also in the spring mix was sophomore Jim Otis (5-10, 200), while red-shirt freshman Matt Trombitas (6-5, 224) sat out with a knee injury.
"I thought they did a nice job of moving around in the pocket and finding the open man," Tressel said after the spring game. "I thought they made really good decisions with the football, both made some good throws and didn't force too much. They've been working in and out with a lot of different personnel this spring. All of them have made a lot of improvement this spring."
One of the reasons Tressel might want to wait on picking his starter is Massillon's Justin Zwick (6-4, 215). There's already plenty of hype surrounding the freshman's arrival after being chosen a first-team all-state quarterback and Division I Associated Press Co-Offensive Player of the Year last fall in Ohio.
He was also a Parade All-American, throwing for 10,500 yards and 112 touchdowns during his high school career. Zwick threw for 3,821 yards and 40 touchdowns last fall.
"He is a very talented quarterback," said Tressel, who coached Zwick's brother, Jared, at Youngstown State. "He studies the game and it was apparent when he visited here that he had a great feel for the game. The great thing about Justin is that he will do whatever we need him to do next year."
And that just might be running the first-team offense this fall.
Blue Ribbon AnalysisWith a favorable schedule and a seasoned defense, the Buckeyes could be the class of the Big Ten this season.
The big question will be whether the offense can pull its weight-and that means finding a quarterback and solidifying that offensive line. If Zwick ends up being the answer at quarterback, Tressel doesn't want him taking a pounding behind a weak front line.
OSU is a little inexperienced at cornerback, but has some great leadership in Doss and Nickey in the secondary. The rest of the defense also has some seasoned players at key spots.
The schedule seems to be in OSU's favor, with eight home games that included Michigan and Penn State. The Buckeyes still have to make trips to Wisconsin and Illinois, but avoid having to face Michigan State.
If everything falls into place, OSU could be back in the BCS picture this year. But considering the state of their offense and the fact quarterback Justin Zwick is only a freshman, the Buckeyes might be a year-and another top-notch recruiting class-away from vaulting into that elite group of the nation's top teams.