Philbert aspires to dominate trenches as he makes leap to Division I


Courtesy of ISU Athletic Department

Jaypee Philbert Jr., ISU offensive lineman. 

Max Dible

Jaypee Philbert Jr. is not mincing words about the expectations he holds for himself.

Philbert, a 6-foot-5, 314-pound left tackle out of Coffeyville Community College in Kansas, entered the fold at Iowa State in June.

At the outset of a season which ISU coach Paul Rhoads said is characterized by what might be his most experienced offensive line ever, Philbert is not discouraged by the competition within the group for playing time. 

“I want to play. And I want to play now,” said Philbert, who discussed his ultimate goal with offensive line coach Brandon Blaney on the day Philbert met him. “I told him I wanted to be the best left tackle in the Big 12.”

Four practices deep into fall camp, Philbert is trending in the right direction. 

“Jaypee is making his mistakes at 100 mph,” Blaney said. “It’s okay to make a mistake. It’s not good when you make the same mistake twice. He’s making his mistakes one time, he’s getting them corrected, and he’s going 100 mph. That’s all I ask of him.”

A learning curve is to be expected moving from high school or junior college to a Division I level.

Blaney said the speed and the intensity of the game, even during early practice sessions, takes the most getting used to. But with each passing rep and each passing day, the game begins to evolve from a feverish sprint every play to a manageable jog that is much easier to process. 

Players go from thinking nervously and frantically, to simply thinking, to developing a reactiveness that transforms the split-second mental processes of decision making into a cultivated instinct. 

That’s the process Philbert is engaged in now. 

“(New guys) know as the game slows down, ‘Hey this is what I need to do and this is how I react,’ ” Philbert said. “And then, all of the sudden, by the end of this camp you hope they’re at that point where they’re not even thinking about their reactions, they’re just simply reacting.”

Rhoads said that the most relevant concern regarding any offensive lineman new to the Division I game is how well he pass protects. Philbert has a strong background as a pass blocker and possesses both the toughness and desire to learn how to play the position quickly against Big 12 competition.  

Rhoads said that for Philbert, it’s about realizing he has much to learn and embracing that process at this point in training camp. 

Conditioning is also at the forefront of Philbert’s development, and as physical shape, a reactive nature and intent study of the playbook converge, Philbert is developing into the type of player who can help an experienced offensive line in the immediate future. 

“Making mental mistakes is just me being tired, and being able to keep going is the problem right now,” Philbert said. 

“Every day is getting easier and easier, so I’ll be there by the time the season starts.”