By Rob Gray
AMES — As expected, Iowa State played faster, sharper and smarter on both sides of the ball in Saturday night’s closed scrimmage.
That’s the word from Cyclone coach Paul Rhoads, who noted the “getting it” factor for all his players improved dramatically in the last 48 hours.
A handful stood out:
*Wide receiver Dondre Daley continues to impress with strength and speed.
Another redshirt freshman, P.J. Harris, shows flashes, as well.
“We had some 2s really step up and make plays,” offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham said.
*David Irving was the first name mentioned by Rhoads when I asked him about amped up defensive line pressure. Irving recently underwent a makeover from end to tackle and seems to be tackling it with gusto.
“He’s got those long arms and if he’s hung up on a block an the ball carrier’s close to him, he can get after him a little bit,” defensive coordinator Wally Burnham said.
*Rodney Coe also made the frequently-mentioned list. It seems he and Irving will really push more experienced DTs Brandon Jensen and Walter Woods III (who’s playing on a dinged up ankle) for the No. 1 slots.
“Coe and Irving give us a nice 1-2 punch there,” Rhoads said.
*DT Devlyn Cousin and DE Devin Lemke — a pair of down the depth chart guys — also earned respective mentions from Rhoads in the pressure/in the backfield category.
“We got a lot of pressure on the quarterback,” Burnham said. “And y’all have asked me about it.”
*Luke Knott, or “Little Knott” as Burnham has called him, is a chip off the ol’ sibling block.
Just like older brother Jake, he’s a “student of the game,” Burnham noted.
Jake, of course, became a two-time first-team all-Big 12 player and is having a fine camp with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Luke’s progressing rapidly, though, and won’t be limited to special teams duty.
“He just needs to get bigger and stronger,” Burnham said.
*Tight end E.J. Bibbs was targeted often, Rhoads said.
“Bibbs made about three big time catches with people hanging on him and just went and got the football and went and ran after he got it.” Messingham said. “That’s something he needs to do for us and I believe he can.”
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