Starters: Jr. Graham Zug (6-2, 178); Jr. Brett Brackett (6-6, 231); So. Chaz Powell (6-1, 195); Sr. TE Andrew Quarless (6-5, 253)
Backups: So. Derek Moye (6-5, 195); Fr. A.J. Price (6-4, 173); Sr. TE Mickey Shuler (6-4, 249)
2008 stats: Zug caught 11 passes for 174 yards and two TDs; Brackett caught 13 passes for 160 yards and one TD; Powell had only two catches for 37 yards; Quarless caught 11 passes for 117 yards and one TD; Shuler caught nine passes for 120 yards and one TD; Moye caught three passes for 71 yards and one TD.
Mirror file photo
Chaz Powell made an impact as a freshman last year on both offense and special teams and will be expected to produce even more this season.
Big shoes to fill: The Lions have to replace the best receiving trio in school history. Deon Butler set the PSU career record with 179 catches, while Derrick Williams finished third (161) and Jordan Norwood fourth (158). "We feel some pressure, but we're three completely different people," Zug said of the new starters.
Role play: Look for Zug to fill the Norwood role as the across-the-middle and short-yardage target. Powell will take over the Williams role as Mr. Versatility and should get a lot of opportunities to run the ball out of the wildcat package. There's really no replacement for Butler, a speedster who ran great routes and was outstanding as both a short-yardage and deep threat.
Powell on D-Will comparison: "Me and him are different in a lot of ways. I'm going to go out there and do what I have to do. ... We'll see when the season comes around what I bring to the game." He may even surprise people by throwing the ball on occasion. "Oh yeah, yeah. I can throw the ball a little bit."
Smurfs give way to size: Brackett, Moye and Price will give QB Daryll Clark much bigger targets than the smaller departing trio.
Last chance: Quarless had an impressive freshman season but has been in and out of trouble since. "I want to leave going good, leave at the top," he said. "It's my last year ... so I definitely just want to prove to the country that I was able to bounce back from my situations."
Best-case scenario: Clark's accuracy helps the new starters make a smooth transition. "Having a quarterback that can put it on the money makes it easier for us to make plays," Zug said. "We don't have to help him out, he just helps us out by putting the ball on the money and making sure he's on time with his throws."
Worst-case scenario: Lack of speed prevents Zug and Brackett from getting open consistently.
The bottom line: There's some cause for concern simply because the Terrific Trio is gone, but these guys got enough experience last season that they should be solid.