One of the biggest concerns for the Panthers, besides the coaching change, was the offensive line. Today, in the team's first practice in preparation for the game against Buffalo, the starters for the OL were set. A note here: This does not mean that this is the official starting lineup for the opener against Buffalo - this is where things stand at this point following fall camp.
With that said, your starting offensive line right now is:
LT: Juantez Hollins
LG: Chris Jacobson
C: Ryan Turnley
RG: Lucas Nix
RT: Jordan Gibbs
- Some names were locked in at the start of camp: Jacobson and Nix. These two started every game last season for Pitt and were likely all but assured a starting spot. What we didn't know was where they would play. Initially, Jacobson was going to play center. But the coaches really wanted him at guard, his natural position. In comes Turnley. Now the problem was that throughout camp, Turnley has been inconsistent at snapping the ball. But he has apparently improved enough that the coaches have confidence in him.
- Nix on the other hand has 16 starts at RT and nine starts at RG. Those nine starts at guard were the last nine games of 2010 and the coaching staff liked what they saw enough to move him to guard.
- The real battle has been between Hollins and Greg Gaskins. Gaskins, a redshirt senior, has been practicing with the first-team at RT for much of camp, but moved over to left because coaches preferred Gibbs at RT. Once Gibbs was essentially locked in as starter, the battle became between Gaskins and Hollins for LT.
- In the same article that talks about Turnley's inconsistencies, Paul Zeise of the Post-Gazette also says that Todd Graham has been impressed with the way Hollins has improved throughout camp and believes that he had a shot at starting tackle or guard. So that position isn't really locked down yet. This is still something to watch as the first game gets closer (12 DAYS!)