"Losing Mauti is pretty upsetting," PSU defensive end Jack Crawford said. "Because he can't catch a break."
Crawford added, "He's been in the position before where he has worked hard and then he tore his ACL. The whole team is pretty upset about it, but I guess its just football."
But Mauti, who missed the entire 2009 season after tearing his right ACL, has tried to boost the spirits of his teammates.
"He was going around the locker room, and introducing himself as Coach Mauti," Lion DL Jordan Hill said. "For him to have the same attitude that he had before he got hurt, that's huge."
Mauti's positive attitude is motivation for the rest of the team.
"We are sad that Mike's gone down, but now we really have to play with heart because we know how bad he wants to be out there," Crawford said. "When we are out there we really have to remember what that we are lucky to be out there."
Penn State begins Big Ten plays this weekend at Indiana. Going through the conference grind without the team's best linebacker figures to be a challenge.
"It definitely does hurt, but the tempo has still been up," Hill said. "We feel bad for Mike but we have to keep this thing going."
The key is having other players step up — in terms of on-the-field play and in terms of supplying intangibles.
"For the team to pull through we have to stick together and we understand that when you lose someone like Mauti's leadership the defense has to pick it up," Hill said. "Kind of pick up the slack and do more than what we're doing now, because its only going to get harder."
At the same time, there is no sugarcoating the loss.
"He is just an amazing player — physically he is an amazing athlete," Crawford said. "He is one of those people that nine times out of 10 if you miss a play or a play gets by you, he will make the play for you. He is one of those people who you trust behind you and its hard to lose a player like that."