Notebook: End of fall camp, wide receiver update


Ryan Young/Iowa State Daily

Redshirt senior wide receiver Quenton Bundrage tries to stay inbounds during a drill on the first day of spring practice Tuesday. 

Ryan Young

Two-a-days are over.

The ISU football team finished its fall camp last week. The camp consisted of both a morning and an evening practice, something that can drain a lot of players.

Classes started on Monday, and the team has shifted into its regular schedule of just one practice a night. But with no game to play this weekend, ISU coach Paul Rhoads is more than content to have an extra week for his players to adjust to a regular schedule.

“I’m so thrilled that I’ve looked ahead in the calendar to know that the next three years are the same,” Rhoads said. “It’s such a difference having two weeks of class, two weeks of single days, two weeks where they’re off their feet a little bit and not having the grind of camp.”

Rhoads said the team began introducing prep Tuesday for the opening game against Northern Iowa but have not yet gone into great depth with it.

Instead a main focus has been getting reps between the first-team offense and defense, who are still scrimmaging each other in practice. Rhoads said he has seen a lot of improvement, especially in the defense.

“Something that stood out was the tackling of the defense in the last two scrimmages,” Rhoads said. “I think they were very aggressive and a lot of the time with multiple guys around the football. Any time you’re tackling with a buddy, you are generally going to tackle better.”


The wide receivers have been getting a lot of attention this fall.

The Cyclones return substantial experience at the position group this season, and it is expected to perform as one of the strongest units on the team. 

Much of that hype can be contributed to the return of redshirt senior Quenton Bundrage and what he’s brought back to the field.

“You see him working every day, and just by him showing up and being there you know that you have to raise your game a little bit more,” said sophomore wide receiver Allen Lazard. “If he’s going to bring it, that means you have to bring it as well.”

Bundrage missed all of last season due to a knee injury he sustained in the first drive of the season opener against North Dakota State. But now that he has one more year left as a Cyclone, players say they can see a difference in him.

“You can tell he’s taken more of a leadership role,” Lazard said. “He’s a lot more verbal, both on and off the field. I think he’s just embraced the role of being the senior leader for our wide receivers.”

But it’s not all about the veterans at wide receiver. One name beginning to make his mark on the team is freshman Carson Epps.

Epps, who hails from Jenks, Okla., was an ESPN three-star recruit coming out of high school. And so far in camp, coaches and players alike have been impressed.

“He’s physically strong, a lot like Allen [Lazard] was,” Rhoads said. “He has a great mental aptitude, and he has that mental maturity that you better have if you’re going to play as a true freshman.”

Rhoads said that he plans on playing Epps in the first game, one of only a handful of true freshman who will do so.

And while only time will tell what comes of Epps, many are already getting excited for what the future could bring.

“To be honest, I think [Epps is] light years ahead of where I was last year,” Lazard said. “He’s very smart football wise. You can tell that he’s really bought in to the program. He cares a lot about the team. He works just as hard as everyone else on the team. I think that he can do a lot of special things this year.”