As if losing to Temple for the first time since 1941 was not bad enough for James Franklin and Penn State, the loss ended up costing the Nittany Lions defense a key player for the rest of the season. Linebacker Nyeem Wartman-White suffered a leg injury that will sideline him for the rest of the season, Franklin said following Penn State’s 27-10 loss in Philadelphia.
The injury to Penn State’s redshirt junior linebacker came on special teams duty in the second quarter on Saturday. After covering a punt, Wartman-White walked off the Lincoln Financial Field turf under his own power but was taken to the locker room for examination. He did not return, and now his 2015 season is done.
The loss of Wartman-White is not an easy one to overcome for Penn State. Despite the moniker of Linebacker-U, Penn State’s signature position on defense is still a tad shallow as the program continues to rebuild depth on the roster coming out of the abbreviated NCAA sanction phase. The depth may not be as much of a concern as it is on the offensive line, which allowed Christian Hackenberg to be sacked 10 times in the opener, but it is a valid one. Wartman-White was Penn State’s second-leading tackler a year ago, with 75 tackles in 12 games.
Gary Wooten was the one who took opver for the injured linebacker against Temple, and it would be expected he continues to fill the majority of the snaps at the now vacant position.