Bowman Anxious for Lee's Return

The Penn State defense figures to get even better when the veteran 'backer hits the field again.

Navorro Bowman and Sean Lee were counted on to be a dynamic pairing at linebacker for Penn State this season.

Yet save for a couple minutes in a season-opening win over Akron, the two have not been on the field together as each missed multiple games with injuries. Bowman suffered a strained groin against the Zips and didn't return until the Big Ten opener against Iowa. A week before Bowman returned, Lee sprained his left knee against Temple.

On his Thursday call-in show, PSU coach Joe Paterno said Lee will likely play this weekend.

His teammates hope it happens.

“Sean is getting better and better every single day,” Bowman said. “He's moving around with no complaints about the knee or anything. It's not up to me whether Sean will be able to play or not, but I think he looked good in practice.”

“He looked good,” defensive tackle Ollie Ogbu added. “He was running around, flying around. He's not really hitting.”

The prospect of having Bowman and Lee together in the front seven excites both Bowman and Ogbu. Bowman, who stated he is at 100 percent or very close to it this week, said once Lee returns, the defense will become “a whole lot better and a whole lot faster.”

Ogbu has a personal stake in Lee's return and seeing him and Bowman play together.

“To be honest, it would be scary and it would make my life a lot easier just having Sean back and having two such great linebackers back there,” Ogbu said. “Having those two guys back there would really help us dominate.”

If Lee does return, the timing would be perfect.

The Golden Gophers use backup quarterback MarQueis Gray and wide receiver Troy Stoudermire as part of a Wildcat formation. Gray has rushed for 55 yards and caught one ball for seven yards. Stoudermire has just six yards on the ground.

While the numbers aren't impressive, both Ogbu and Bowman say the Wildcat brings challenges to a defense.

“Just knowing the person getting the snap is able to run the ball every time the ball is snapped, that's always a hard thing to stop,” Bowman said. “Knowing he can also throw it but his first thing is to run the ball, that's the main challenge when you're playing the Wildcat and we have to be on our toes the whole game.”

“As you see in Minnesota, it's hard to put a body on a body,” Ogbu said. “It's every man for himself so you have to shed the block and make a play.”


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