Bowman in the middle of it

Marcellus Bowman is taking on added responsibility by replacing Joe Lobendahn at middle linebacker...

Marcellus Bowman is taking on added responsibility by replacing Joe Lobendahn at middle linebacker for the Bombers. (CHRIS PROCAYLO/QMI Agency)

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:24 PM ET

WINNIPEG - He is filling the shoes of a man who was enjoying a career year, and Marcellus Bowman has to essentially play a relatively new position to do so.

Bowman moved to middle linebacker from the weak side when Blue Bombers’ Joe Lobendahn was lost for the season after suffering a torn ACL in his right knee in the Banjo Bowl (Sept. 11).

Lobendahn was a key to Winnipeg’s stifling defence and was not expected to be easily replaced.

But Bowman certainly showed he is capable of being the new man in the middle. All he did was record six defensive tackles, one quarterback sack and one forced fumble when the Bombers beat the Alouettes 25-23 in Montreal last Sunday.

“Whenever somebody goes down or gets traded or whatever, and you’re asked to step up, you want to make sure you’re sufficient and you want to make sure there’s no drop-off in production,” said Bowman, 24.

“If anything, you want an increase in production and that’s what I’m trying to do … I’m trying to go out there and make plays.”

The sophomore Boston College product also replaced an ailing Lobendahn in B.C. earlier this season.

“It was actually easier this time because I had a lot more game experience at that position before that so that helps a lot at whatever position you’re playing,” said the hard-hitting Bowman, who still played some outside ’backer in certain packages. “So, it wasn’t too bad.”

But Bowman now has the added responsibility of relaying defensive signals.

“Yeah, I’m calling defensive signals and getting the front seven and everything lined up,” said the 6-foot-3, 231-pound Gerard, Ohio native. “It keeps me even more focused because I know a lot rides on every play.

“Now, I have a better perspective and an even better understanding of the defence.”

Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice was pleased with how Bowman has adjusted so far.

“It’s hard to replace how well Joe has played, but Marcellus is going to step into the role,” he said. “He’s going to get better each week. He’s a smart kid … He’s intelligent and he’ll just get better with more reps, and the guys around him will have to continue to play well.”

But both men know that the Argos will challenge Bowman with their running game when they play in Toronto on Saturday.

“We didn’t get a whole dose of (Toronto running back Cory) Boyd because he got injured early in the last game,” Bowman said. “But I know he’s going to want to come out and run hard and make the point that that game would have been different if he was there. So we have to make sure that we get the same result (victory) whether he plays two snaps or 200 snaps.”


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