AMES — Looking for bright spots within Iowa State’s struggling offense? Take a look at junior right end Ernst Brun. Brun’s four touchdown receptions so far this year equal the most touchdown receptions by a Cyclone tight end since 1976.
“He is showing us every week that he can do more. Obviously last week he caught that ball on the sidelines, made a guy miss and then ran over a guy,” said Iowa State quarterback Jared Barnett. “He can threaten safeties downfield. You can throw a jump ball downfield. He adds a different dynamic to the offense.”
Brun’s bruising 30-yard touchdown reception vs. Kansas State was one of the few highlights for Iowa State’s offense in Saturday’s 27-21 loss to the Wildcats.
“I really wanted that touchdown,” said the 6-foot-3, 240-pound Brun. “I was too close not to get it.”
Brun is obviously succeeding in his role as Iowa State’s pass catching hybrid tight end. Now, with Iowa State’s recent issue of not being able to run the football, he’s being asked to do more.
“My role now is to continue to block better and not take any plays off,” said Brun
Paul Rhoads enlightened us on Ernst Brun, the teammate.
“Ernst is an interesting personality,” said Rhoads. “He’s hot and cold. He can be ornery and challenge a coach and he can be a guy that motivates and fires up the whole team. He’s very well liked by his teammates.”
Cyclones react to BCS ranking
As Paul Rhoads put it, the Cyclones had a morale boost on Sunday night when this season’s initial BCS rankings were released. Rhoads’ 4-2 Iowa State program debuted at No. 24. A total of seven Big 12 programs were in the rankings.
“It was kind of like an ‘about time’ thing. We’ve played well all year for the most part as a team,” said junior running back Jeff Woody. “We’ve had two losses. The teams that we lost to have a combined one loss. It’s not a surprise. We know we are a good team. It’s kind of validation to what we think and what we are on a national scale.”
Rhoads certainly wasn’t surprised by the ranking.
“I don’t know if it is a surprise with what our schedule has been and how well we have performed,” said Rhoads. “I don’t think anybody in this room outside of myself would see us at 4-2 when things started in August.”
Too jacked up
Iowa State’s senior defensive tackle Jake McDonough jumped offsides three times in Saturday’s loss to K-State. Rhoads explained what was going on to make the big man do so.
“He was amped up before the game,” explained Rhoads. “We have 16 plays before we head into the locker room and he just destroyed our offensive line on those played. Knocked them back three and four yards. He was amped up and ready to play and those particular plays got the best of him. They had pounded the ball right down the field close to our goal line and he was trying to do too much – trying to make a play before the ball was snapped.
*** For the most part, the Cyclones avoided talk of last year’s upset victory over Oklahoma State on Monday. However, Ernst Brun has a pretty good feeling as to what will be waiting for his team in Stillwater.
“We spoiled their BCS ranking a year ago,” said Brun. “They’re going to be looking to kill us basically. They don’t want anything else.”
*** If he gets healthy, expect redshirt freshman running back DeVondrick Nealy to set more carries in future weeks, especially with James White being out with a knee injury.
“We would have liked to get him more carries and so forth the last few games but the coaching staff has not pulled the trigger to get that done on the offensive staff,” said Rhoads.
*** Linebacker Jake Knott said that Iowa State’s defensive focus this week in practice will be getting off of the field on 3rddown and creating turnovers.
“In the Big 12, you’re going to play against a guy or two on offense every game who has the ability to make freaky plays like he (Collin Klein) can – smart plays like he can. You just have to rise to the occasion on defense, get the ball back to the offense and now allow time consuming drives.”
*** Quotable: Paul Rhoads on Iowa State being 4-2…
“We know how close we are to being a 6-0 football team. That’s a positive in my mind. We know that we’re a good football team and now we have to build on that. That’s the challenge.”