Since the news broke about Mario Manningham, it's been almost comical to watch the Wolverine faithful go through the Five Stages of Grief.
First they have Anger.
This sucks hard.
Then they go through Denial.
I hope that this is all some elaborate ploy set-up between the coaches and (Manningham) to trick everyone (notably PSU) into thinking he's not going to play.
After that is Bargaining.
Maybe he plans to play on crutches. From what we saw last year, even Super Mario on crutches would still be able to burn Justin King for a few scores.
Then they go through Depression.
I was worried about PSU before, now I'm real worried. This is PSU's super bowl at this point.
I see 9 guys in the box and our only passing threat being the Steve Breaston WR screen.
And finally, Acceptance.
Ok, well, the Wolverine faithful still haven't accepted the fact they are going to lose this game. Brian offers the following wisdom on the Manningham injury.
What does this mean for the game? Obviously the chances we nail someone on a long pass route go down, but given the way PSU plays that was unlikely to be in the cards. I watched the Minnesota game and will post on it tomorrow, but long story short Penn State blitzes rarely and what pass rush they get comes almost exclusively from DT Jay Alford. They drop back in a deep zone a lot. The last time we faced a team so intent on hanging back it was CMU. Unless they do something that provides shocking evidence that, yes, Joe Paterno still dimly perceives the outside world, Manningham probably wasn't going to be running a whole lot of fly routes anyway.
Admittedly, Penn State played some extremely soft zone against Minnesota. Almost frustratingly so. I would be surprised if they came out that soft again.
Brian also suggests Jay Alford is the only one who can get any pressure on the QB. Remember #92. His name is Ed Johnson. If you don't double team him he will be in your backfield often. He may not get a sack, but he will force Henne to rush some throws.
Finally Brian adds this.
Also: Adrian Arrington is not, how you say, chopped liver, and neither is he slow. He was about as hyped a recruit as Mario was, has caught a bomb his ownself, and clearly has some wicked acrobatic catchin' chops. Now we are concerned because we don't have two deep threats? Oh... okay.
Oh. Okay. I like our chances a lot better if we only have one deep threat to worry about rather than two. You can take one guy out of the game if you want to. If the front seven can contain Hart and they play man-to-man on the receivers and cover-two with the safeties, I like our chances.