Iowa State to lean on young WRs
Iowa State is confident sophomore quarterback Sam Richardson has
a bright future – even though he has only started twice.
The Cyclones aren’t as sure yet about the receivers Richardson
will be throwing to this fall.
Iowa State will be forced to rely on a highly inexperienced
group of wideouts to improve an underwhelming passing game.
The Cyclones ranked ninth in the Big 12 last season with 205
yards passing a game and a completion rate of just 55.1 percent.
Though Richardson has earned the coaching staff’s trust in the
offseason, he’ll enter his first season as the full-time starter
without the top three pass catchers from a unit that often
struggled last season.
Iowa State opens Aug. 31 at home against Northern Iowa.
”You’ve got to be demanding. You’ve got to be understanding,”
wide receivers coach Todd Sturdy said. ”You’ve just got to keep
pushing them, but also you’ve got to understand the learning curve.
There’s going to be good days and bad days. There’s going to be ups
and downs. There’s going to be inconsistency at times.”
The receiver the Cyclones are counting on most for a breakout
season is sophomore Quenton Bundrage.
After being selected the team’s outstanding newcomer in 2012,
Bundrage is poised to become a big part of the offense.
The 6-foot-2 Bundrage caught 20 passes and had TD receptions
against Texas and West Virginia in his first season.
”He’s obviously got to be a guy that we lean on heavily.
Starting to see more leadership out of him on the field,” Sturdy
Bundrage and Richardson clicked when they worked together with
the scout team. By the end of last season, it was evident that both
players were being set up to play major roles in Iowa State’s
All indications are that Bundrage will be Richardson’s top
target to start 2013.
”We’re a young team, so I know that someone has to step up and
be a leader. If we don’t, it’s going to cause problems somewhere,”
Even though Jarvis West opened camp as a backup to unheralded
senior Justin Coleman, he and senior Albert Gary should provide
experience to a unit that desperately needs it.
The Cyclones are hoping they’ll prove to be more than just
West was tied for third on the Cyclones with 31 catches last
season while sharing the kick returner role with Gary, who had 18
receptions a year ago.
Still, both find themselves competing with Coleman for starting
Coleman only transferred to Iowa State after his former school,
Nebraska-Omaha, dropped football. After redshirting in 2011 and
playing mostly special teams last season, Coleman has unexpectedly
emerged as a No. 1 receiver.
”All these different situations you get to in football, he
always seems to do the right thing,” Sturdy said of Coleman.
”He’s always where he’s supposed to be when he’s supposed to be
there. Sometimes he gets there in different ways, but he gets
there, and then he catches the ball consistently. Smart guy, smart
The Cyclones have also given extensive looks to a number of
redshirt freshmen, with 6-foot-1 Dondre Daley leading the way as
camp winds to a close.
But it’ll be quite a while before anyone can tell whether Iowa
State’s inexperienced receivers can upgrade the program’s
struggling passing game.
”I’m basically sitting here saying Quenton Bundrage is the bell
cow and the leader of the whole room – and he’s a redshirt
sophomore. So that’s what it is,” Sturdy said.
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