From a season ago until now, Penn State outside linebacker Navorro Bowman has gone through many hardships, only to emerge now as one of the best linebackers in the Big Ten. Here, Bowman talks to the media about his struggles and more!
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Can you talk about the relationship you have with Aaron Maybin?
Me and Aaron, we're like brothers from different mothers. We connect very well and relate very well. And, we're always there for each other, no matter what it is. When it comes to football, we're just two competitive guys that want to be the best and try our hardest and give our best every time we step on the field.
Did Aaron pick Penn State before you or vice versa? Did either one of your decisions influence the other?
I picked mine before but I think it did have an influence on his. I came in January, he came after, but just being from the state of Maryland and seeing a couple of guys that are from your state, it tends to rub you a certain way. I think it rubbed a few guys that's from Maryland. It made them want to stick with Maryland guys and come play with the few guys that are from the same area.
What impact has Sean Lee had on you this season? How much has he worked with you and generally the linebackers?
Sean is a leader all around. He helps me in every aspect of the game. Whenever I have a question or just not too sure about an assignment, I know I can always go to Sean and he'll have the answer there for me. Sean is just another player/coach and what better player would you want to get information from or have as a coach on the sideline?
Some teams might get complacent or lose some focus during a bye week. What are you guys doing to prevent that or is that even a concern for you this week?
Yeah, it does tend to happen a lot. We plan on just really keeping our eye on the ball. Coach said everyday, Just enjoy the bye week but remember we still got a season to play and a championship to win. I think everybody has a handle on everything and knows that there's still a lot of games left to play.
What did Aaron do for you this summer, particularly after your father died?
Really, just kept on checking up on me. He was just there for me. I was going through a rough time at the time. As a friend, as a roommate, as a teammate, Aaron is always there for you and what better guy would you want around you?
How much does Sean communicate things to you from the sidelines during games between series or at timeouts?
Really, just saying things that he may have thought that we didn't see or a type of formation. Whenever chance he gets to communicate with us guys, he does a good job at it and it really helps.
Do you and Aaron keep each other in line when you're not on the field?
Whatever brothers do, whatever teammates do... you know, we're both grown. We know right from wrong. Whenever you can help out anybody, it doesn't have to be me or Aaron, for anybody that is part of the team or is a close friend that's going down the wrong path, just always help them out. Aaron is always there to do that.
How much has this team been using the lack of respect perception as motivation this year and how can it help you during the bye week?
From the team perspective and the linebacker perspective, credit is something that hasn't been given out. And, we didn't want it to be given. We wanted to earn it. Us linebackers, we took that as a burden and we stepped up to the plate with that. As a team, we're taking that and we're still striving to prove things to people and let them know that we are a pretty good team this year.
Tom Bradley has been on the sideline basically running the team with Joe up in the box. Can you talk about how he has been, how has he done on the sideline, does he have control of the situation, what's it like to have him as a coach?
Scrap, you know, he's a great assistant coach, great defensive coordinator. He's always there when Joe's not able to. Everybody respects him and basically looks at Scrap as a head coach. You know, having Scrap on the sideline is really just replacing Joe. It's no loss on the sideline.
Will you guys watch Alabama and Texas play this week?
This week? No, I think we're going to watch Iowa this week and focus on them and continue to focus on the Big Ten right now. That's what's in front of us and we're not looking past anyone.
How does the bye week help you the most?
Really, just getting my body back to its full potential and just relaxing, being able just to watch around and see what type of football is being played around the country. Just enjoying the break.
What do you take from the defense's performance on Saturday?
Saturday just really declared that this defense can play in tough games and overcome adversity. The week before, we played Michigan and had to overcome a little adversity. But, I think Saturday's game really showed that this defense just comes to play and has 11 guys that know how to play football.
When you talked about watching other games this weekend, will you pay special attention to the teams ahead of you and hope for some special help?
Umm, yeah, I'll peek at the teams that are ahead of us. Maybe later on down the road, we'll play them. But, like I said, in the Penn State aspect, we'll really be focused on Iowa. On my personal time, sure, I'll look at the teams that are ahead of us and see what we have later on to face.
After everything that happened last year, did you feel you personally needed to prove yourself this year?
I felt I needed to prove myself this year. I felt that I set myself back going through those things off the field. I felt that it was my time and if I wanted to be the best linebacker I can be and pursue my dreams, then I'd have to step up to the plate and show the guys and the coaches that I can play on this level. That was really my main focus in the process of getting back on the field was just putting everything to the side and focusing on why I came to Penn State.
How far did you feel set back last spring and summer?
The set back came really with me not being with my teammates. Motivation comes when you're not competing against other guys, it comes from your teammates, it comes from you wanting to be the best. So, you see your teammates doing different things or doing more and you want to do more. There's always someone out there trying to take your position or just trying to be better than the best. So, you never can stop working and I just think going through those things just really set me back and I needed to speed up the process a little bit and focus a little bit more.
When did you and Aaron first meet each other?
I think we met at, I want to say an event in Maryland where there was an awards ceremony. About senior year in high school.
What were your first impressions of Aaron and why are you guys so close? What makes you good friends?
Personally, just us being from Maryland and just knowing each other. It's meeting new people and he's a good dude and not bad company at all. We all know each other's families very well. We just connected and he's a good friend.
Can you take us through the fumble recovery on Saturday?
The fumble recover was quite an experience just seeing the ball roll around everywhere. I was just trying to slow it down with my eyes and hands and just fall on it to help my team come out with the win.
Ty Sales poked the ball away from Pryor at the last second on that fumble. Did you guys see that in the game and did anybody praise him in the locker room afterward for that heads up play?
Yeah. That was a heckuva play by Tyrell. I didn't see it in the game. I saw it after the game. If he hadn't done that, no telling who would have gotten the ball. But, that just all comes from guys just being on the field and having that awareness just to keep the ball alive and giving your team a chance to fall on it.