NITTANY NOTES: Pressing Questions

Get the latest updates on hot issues as Penn State prepares to face Iowa. What is the status of Sean Lee? How are Navorro Bowman and Graham Zug? What is the mental state of the squad?

As Penn State prepares for a prime-time White House matchup with Iowa, a few pressing questions have surfaced. Here are the latest updates from practice observers.

How is Sean Lee?

Lee sustained a sprained knee during Saturday's win over Temple according to Penn State. He did not participate in drills during Monday's practice and is being closely observed by the training staff. "If you know Sean, he wants to play," one observer said. "The issue is that he's a guy who will try to play with some discomfort, so the staff is watching him closely. It really comes down to their assessment because if they leave it to Sean he'll want to play."

The majority of observers FOS spoke to feel that Lee could play this week, but the staff will take their standard cautious approach with the injury.

What is the status of Navorro Bowman?

As FOS has reported previously, Bowman has participated in several drill sessions since he tweaked a groin in the early going against Akron in the season opener. Bowman suited up for Monday's practice and participated with the linebackers.

"I think he looks fine," one observer explained.

In a conference call, fellow linebacker Josh Hull said he expects Bowman to play.

"Yes, Navorro is back in the lineup," Hull said. "He looks good and fast and was changing directions well."

Indeed, the consensus among observers is that Bowman will be able to play against Iowa. As for concerns about his conditioning? "He's been drilling and working out, it's not like he's sat on a couch for two weeks," one observer said.

How is Graham Zug?

Said to have been "conked" on his head during the Temple game, Zug was sidelined as a precautionary measure against a potential concussion. He did not participate in Monday's practice, although his availability for the Iowa game has not been determined by the staff as of this report.

How is the overall health of the team?

As FOS broke last week, about 10 to 15 players, including guys like Lee and Evan Royster, were stricken with an illness. The team has received the standard flu shots and the weight room was closed late last week to get "scrubbed down" to help prevent the spread of any sickness.

As of this week there are still players who are dealing with the illness, "but it seems to have trailed off. It seems that [fewer guys are sick] than last week."

What is the mental state of the team?

There has been a lot of talk about the lack of emotion the team has shown in the first three games of the season. "I don't think [the team] needed it. Sure, [the squad was] flat in those games. I would have been more worried if [the players] needed to get amped up to beat Temple.

As another observer explained, "Emotion is not an issue this week. The guys are pumped for this one. Prime-time — at home — in front of these fans — in a White House atmosphere — with a national audience. Emotion, excitement and intensity are not the biggest concern right now. A bigger concern is actually controlling that emotion and channeling it as to not take you our of your game. The coaches are preaching that this week."

Is the approach different this week in practice?

The team will run its practices in a similar manner to previous weeks, but, as is common with major games, the staff is expected to "turn up the dial" on the intensity each practice to get the players "ramped up" for Saturday's game.

Will the playbook expand any?

The consensus among observers is that they expect some additions and adjustments to the schemes on both sides of the ball.

"The basic sets should look the same, but they are working on some options around shifts and routes to open things up a bit more," according to one observer. "You probably noticed some additions for Temple, so I might expect a bit more of that here and there."

While not confirmed as to what will actually be incorporated into the scheme for the Hawkeyes, there have been mentions of work with screens, misdirection, draws and even some read-option.

"It really depends on what the [Iowa] defense goes with," an observer said.

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