WHO'S BACK: Quinn Barham (rs-soph), Lou Eliades (rs-junior), Doug Klopacz (rs-junior), Dennis Landolt (rs-senior)*, Nerraw McCornmack (rs-senior), DeOn'tae Pannell (soph), Ako Poti (rs-senior), Johnnie Troutman (rs-soph), J.B. Walton (rs-soph), Stefen Wisniewski (junior)*
LOWDOWN: All three departing starters were first-team All-Big Ten picks, so this shapes up as a gigantic area of concern this spring. The Lions appear to have the talent to field a good offensive line. But the new starters, whomever they may be, will be lacking in experience. The key man to replace, obviously, is Shipley, an All-America center who made all of the line calls. Because the position is so important, the staff is sliding Wisniewski over from right guard. He saw spot duty at the position in the spring and preseason of 2008, so making the change should be a uh snap for the Academic All-American. The staff thought about switching Landolt from his home at right tackle to the critical left tackle spot, but instead will roll the dice and hope Pannell is up to the task of protecting Daryll Clark's blindside. Pannell is a prototype left tackle, with a big frame, good feet and long arms. But he's never been counted on as an every-down player. He is an outstanding run blocker but must improve at pass protection, which does not come naturally to him. He had competition for the job until McCormack hurt a knee early in the spring. At this point, our best guesses on the starting guards are Eliades and Troutman. The former is finally healthy and looked good while replacing an injured Landolt in the Rose Bowl. The latter is extremely strong and versatile enough to play guard or tackle. Stankiewitch was seeing first-team reps at left guard ahead of Troutman the last few weeks. But our sense is Troutman will ultimately win the position. Walton is working to get some academic issues firmed up and is focusing on that rather than football this spring.
THE HEAT IS ON: Eliades. We've heard about his potential for years now. It is time for him to step up.
KEEP ON EYE ON: He is not on campus yet. But look for incoming freshman Eric Shrive to take over as the No. 2 right tackle the moment he arrives.
BY THE NUMBERS: Other than Landolt and Wisniewski, no offensive lineman on the 2009 roster has ever started a game for Penn State. * Denotes 2008 starter.