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Tressel names Smith as starter for the Buckeyes

Troy Smith will start for the No. 9 Buckeyes on Saturday against San Diego State, while Justin Zwick — the starter the first two games this season — has been relegated to the sideline.

Coach Jim Tressel said he couldn't even say for sure if Zwick will play against the Aztecs.

It was difficult to tell who was in charge of the offense and what the game plan was during Saturday's 25-22 loss to Texas, as Tressel shuffled in quarterbacks like relief pitchers in a high-scoring game.

Tressel has been criticized on call-in shows and in chat rooms since the defeat.

"You have to make decisions," Tressel said Tuesday. "I've never pretended that every decision I've made was right. And I've been reminded of that."

Tressel waffled throughout the nationally televised game with No. 2 Texas, playing Zwick the first two series, then Smith for five, then Zwick for two, Smith for one, Zwick for two, and Smith for one. As a result, the offense never really got into a rhythm.

"There were some times when I didn't execute," Tressel said, discussing how well he coached during the game. "You have to start with yourself in the formula. I certainly didn't grade a winning performance."

Smith was 5-for-11 for 78 yards and a touchdown and added 13 rushes for 27 yards. He led Ohio State to points on five consecutive possessions and a 19-13 lead, then was suddenly replaced by Zwick.

The Buckeyes scored three points on drives with Zwick at quarterback. He ended up 9-of-15 for 66 yards and gained 11 yards on five carries. He fumbled the ball the last time he touched it, all but snuffing out Ohio State's final chance.

Tressel said after the game that he substituted quarterbacks based on his feelings at the moment. On Tuesday, he did not give concrete reasons for giving Smith the job.

Texas coach Mack Brown, speaking at his weekly news conference in Austin, said he was impressed with both Ohio State quarterbacks and understood the dilemma facing Tressel.

"The toughest thing that can happen is you play them both and lose," Brown said. "It just opens you up for criticism. It's a very difficult thing."

PETERSON'S STATUS UNKNOWN: Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said he'll decide later this week whether suspended tailback Adrian Peterson will start Saturday against UCLA.

"We'll see. At this point, we anticipate him playing," Stoops said Tuesday. "Start or not depends on how we feel practice is going, what we feel we need to do. Depending on what further happens from here, we'll see."

Peterson, who rushed for 220 yards and three touchdowns in Oklahoma's 31-15 win against Tulsa on Saturday, was suspended from practice on Monday and Tuesday after missing classes. He was allowed to participate in team meetings and other activities, but is not allowed to speak to reporters.

"In the end, they're here to go to school, and it should be our job as administrators or as coaches that if they're not, we can't put you on the field," Stoops said.

No. 21 Oklahoma announced the suspension in a statement sent to a limited number of news organizations following the Sooners' closed practice Monday night.

LINEBACKER CLEARED TO PRACTICE: While Penn State linebacker Dan Connor is welcome again at practice after serving a university punishment for allegedly making harassing phone calls, coach Joe Paterno squelched questions Tuesday about the sophomore's status with the team.

"Forget Connor. I'm not telling anything. I don't know what I'm going to do," Paterno said. "I haven't gotten the slightest idea . . . honest."

Connor, last year's second-leading tackler, had received a 10-day "deferred expulsion" from the university's Office of Judicial Affairs last Thursday for violating a section of Penn State's Code of Conduct about harassing phone calls, the school had said.

Connor has been taking classes, but wasn't allowed to participate in extracurricular activities until after Sunday. Now, he's allowed to practice, but he can't play in a game until after Sunday — meaning he will miss at least Saturday's game against Central Michigan.

WYOMING LOSES DE: Defensive end Aaron Robbins, who injured his right knee Saturday against Louisiana-Monroe, will miss the rest of the season. Coach Joe Glenn said Tuesday that Robbins had injured his anterior cruciate ligament and would require surgery.

"He's probably going to have surgery, and I'm guessing he's lost for the season," Glenn said. "He has not had surgery yet — I think they're still looking at the swelling. But I think they're feeling like in the next two weeks, if everything settles down in the knee, if the swelling settles down, they're going to operate."

Glenn said Robbins would have one season of eligibility remaining.