Take Your Marks: O-line Mess

FightOnState.com scribes Mark Harrington and Mark Brennan go head to head on the loss — for however long it may be — of three veteran offensive lineman from Penn State's spring practice.

QUESTION: How do the recent temporary dismissals of three offensive linemen (Tyler Reed, Andrew Richardson and E.Z. Smith) from the Penn State football team impact that area?

BRENNAN: We're going to have to see how this whole deal shakes out. I'll be surprised if at least two of the three don't find their respective ways back onto the team in the near future, albeit with demotions to the lower rungs of the depth chart. That's a positive as far as I'm concerned. As bad as this line has been the last couple of years, it'll be good to get some fresh faces in key spots.

HARRINGTON: I agree with you in that I expect to see a split in terms of who goes and who stays. I am excited to see some young talent like Rich Ohrnberger, Mark Farris, Gerald Cadogan and Greg Harrison show what they can do with the opportunity. The scary part is that we've been saying that the success of the offense comes down to the line — so this needs to get figured out sooner rather than later.

BRENNAN: I still think A.Q. Shipley could end up being a key figure on the line, at center or guard. As for who stays or who goes, doesn't this mess tell us something about Penn State's recent struggles? My opinion: Arrow-gate stemmed directly from a handful of friends being more concerned with covering each other than the overall good of the program. This is not what anyone hand in mind when they said Penn State needed better teamwork on the offensive line.

HARRINGTON: Yeah, what may seem like an activity in “team support” really has the coaches — and in particular Joe Paterno, fuming. The question as to where Shipley ends up in a good one, but I am on the other side of the ball on this one. I think he is capable of playing on either side, but he has the edge on defense because his heart is in it more. He got the look on the offensive side last season and “dogged” the drills “intentionally.” I just think he hands down wants to play defense.

BRENNAN'S LAST WORD: Speaking of dogs, I doubt the dismissals will end up having a huge impact on the line from a personnel standpoint. The greater impact will come from the message Joe Paterno delivered here: Namely, screw up, and you are headed for the doghouse (if not the outhouse). Everything we’ve heard indicates the players involved are good people who got caught up — to varying degrees — in something stupid. Haven’t we all been there? And haven’t we all learned a thing or two from a good kick in the behind?

HARRINGTON'S LAST WORD: The message sent by the removal — however long it lasts — appears to be a loud and clear one to everyone in the program. Hopefully it translates into a little more focus all around, a little more leadership from the older guys and a little more desire to get this program back on track — top to bottom.


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