Notebook: The offense is “getting there”

AMES — There is tape "out there" of Quenton Bundrage rattling off three touchdowns in one half vs. Iowa. In fact, Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads believes that this tape opened certain things up for his offense last Thursday night against Tulsa. Sam Richardson has already proven that he is a capable thrower. Now, Aaron Wimberly, Jarvis West, Tad Ecby and E.J. Bibbs have proven that they can get the job done and their respective positions.

Having his best offensive lineman, Tom Farniok, back at center doesn’t hurt either. 

That’s why during his Monday press conference, I asked Rhoads to put on his defensive coordinator cap for a minute. My question: If you’re an opposing defensive coordinator, is this the most difficult offense to prepare for that you’ve had at Iowa State? 

“I think we are getting there. The uniqueness of some of the plays. The uniqueness of the Pistol offense,” Rhoads said. “As big of a piece in that is the tight end. If teams can forget about the tight end, they have got a leg up.”

Bibbs caught four passes for 49 yards an a touchdown in Iowa State’s 38-21 win over Tulsa. But maybe more importantly, the athletic big man looked good (and dangerous) while doing it.

“E.J. was hurt in the spring and missed a high number of spring practices,” Rhoads said. “He is just now catching up in the learning curve and understanding that with more speed through repetition, where he is supposed to be and what speed he is supposed to work at.”

Iowa State has two capable tight ends in Bibbs and Ernst Burn (we’ve actually seen both of them have success now). There are multiple receivers on the offense that the opposition has to prepare for (Bundrage, West and Tad Ecby, who led Iowa State in receiving vs. Tulsa).  

“And the emergence of, ‘Oh yeah, they can run the ball,’” Rhoads said of WImberly’s 137-yard running game vs. Tulsa. “I think we have become a little bit more dangerous. I don’t know if harder to prepare for is the right phrase but I think we have become a little bit more dangerous.” 

Wimberly to start

The biggest non-story, story to come out of Monday was junior Aaron Wimberly officially being named “starter” on Iowa State’s depth chart at running back.

“Certainly Aaron is the starter again going into game four and will get the bulk of the carries as we go,” Rhoads said. “We certainly have packages that will work that will involve other backs as well but yeah, he is our guy.”

Wimberly was named the Big 12’s Co-Offensive Player of the Week on Monday. 

Texas Tech kick time announced

On Monday morning, the Big 12 announced that Iowa State’s Oct. 12 road trip to Texas Tech will be a 11 a.m. kick and will be televised on Fox Sports 1.

Injury updates

*** Rhoads anticipates having freshman offensive lineman Jamison Lalk back for the Texas Tech game.

“He is being seen by the surgeon today and we are hoping to have a little bit better of an idea to get him running on land,” Rhoads said. “But Texas Tech is what we are shooting for.”

*** Rhoads noted that junior center Tom Farniok played at “75 or 80 percent” last Thursday vs. Tulsa. He also noted that Farniok will take more snaps vs. Texas than he did vs. the Golden Hurricane.

*** Senior tight end Ernst Brun has struggled with injuries all season long. Rhoads said that he will play on Thursday night against Texas though.

“There is a speed that all of us can play at,” Rhoads said. “His is faster than what he has been practicing at. That’s what we are hoping his health gets him to. He’ll be on the field Thursday against Texas.”