December 14, 2001 at 7:19 PM EST - Updated July 12 at 3:16 AM
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said it was an easy decision to reinstate quarterback Steve Bellisari (pictured, right) as captain following the senior's arrest on a drunken-driving charge.
"In my mind it was real simple, that his teammates elected him that," Tressel said Thursday in his first comments about the decision.
Bellisari was reintroduced as captain on Monday following his arrest Nov. 16. He pleaded no-contest to the charge and will serve a three-day jail term beginning Jan. 11.
The day after his arrest, Bellisari was suspended for the game against Illinois. He was on the sidelines the following week for the Michigan game but did not play.
"Players elect captains. Coaches sometimes have to revoke privileges, but players elect captains," Tressel said. "I thought through a very difficult time Steve handled it like a man, and I have a lot of confidence that he is going to grow from it."
It remains unclear whether Bellisari will play in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 against South Carolina and in what position. He has practiced as quarterback, receiver, defensive back and place-kick holder.
Tressel said Bellisari has contributed in several ways in his four years at Ohio State.
"He runs the ball well. He catches it a little bit. He has been on special teams. And obviously he is going to play significantly at the quarterback position. ... I would be inaccurate if I could tell you how the game is going to play out, but he is going to prepare significantly at quarterback."
Tressel said sophomore Craig Krenzel, who led the Buckeyes to a 26-20 victory over Michigan in his first collegiate start at quarterback, also will play, but it isn't clear whether he will start.
"If we had the game today I'd say Craig would start."
(Copyright 2001 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)