That sound you heard when starting quarterback Robert Bolden came out of the game midway through the 2nd quarter against Minnesota was thousands of Michigan fans simultaneously sighing in relief that, for once, quarterback issues were not their own. Stop me if you're heard this before: A true freshman is named starter at a traditional powerhouse after a springtime's worth of hype, fanbase relentlessly says that quarterback situation is just fine if not great, True Freshman starts off just fine before the wheels come off entirely. Sound familiar? Like, 2008 familiar? 2009 familiar?
But that can't be! It won't be Nick Sheridan/Steven Threet level bad, will it BSD?
I think it's a bit early to compare Penn State's situation to Michigan's in 2008. Threet and Sheridan are two guys who had no business playing Division IA football, let alone starting at the University of Michigan. They had dead arms and ran the Rich Rodriguez spread option like their shoes were made out of cement. They were basically both beat out of the job the minute Tate Forcier stepped on campus. That's a disaster.
Now certainly, the situations don't mirror each other perfectly - Bolden will likely be a solid Big Ten quarterback by the time he's finished, but the gist of the argument remains: when a true freshman is beating out high level recruits like Kevin Newsome, you've got a bad situation on your hands. One might even call it a disaster. To date, Bolden has thrown 7 TD's to 9 INTs. He went 8-21 against Illinois. He is not yet ready for Big Ten football, and yet, he was Penn State's best option. If this isn't Michigan 2008, I don't know what is. To compound matters is the fact that Penn State's pass protection has actually been pretty good - they've only allowed 5 sacks on the year good for 12th in the nation.
When Bolden came out against Minnesota, he was replaced by Matt McGloin, a walk on from Scranton, PA. If Bolden isn't cleared to play against Michigan on Saturday, it will likely be McGloin who leads the Nittany Lions onto the field. Of course, Jay Paterno is playing it close to the vest, saying that Bolden could play this weekend against Michigan. With Kevin Newsome apparently nowhere to be found, Penn State finds themselves in the situation that Michigan fans know too well: an unproven, shaky true-freshman, or a walk on. I'm not saying that Michigan is going to win this weekend; our pass defense can certainly make just about anyone look like a Heisman candidate, but the quarterback situation at Penn State should be wildly more conducive for this Michigan pass defense than anybody we've played thus far. For once, Michigan seems to be set at quarterback, and hopefully they can take advantage of a team scrambling for answers at that position like so many teams did against us over the past few years.