The center position is a key to offensive continuity for any offense, but it is especially important for a spread offense like Iowa State that doesn’t line up under center. The Cyclones have had their share of woes when center Tom Farniok missed any time in recent seasons, and now they must adjust to life after Farniok now that their four-year starter is gone.
With Farniok gone, it appears Iowa State has settled on redshirt senior Jamison Lalk to fill the void despite other attempts. Lalk has filled in for Farniok in the last two seasons when he missed any time and has the most experience at the spot.
Behind Lalk come fall will be redshirt sophomore Nick Severs, who lacks any experience but is said to be best suited for center. Cole Anderson has moved to tight end, so if Iowa State runs into trouble with its depth next season, it would likely turn to JUCO transfer Patrick Scoggins.
What was Learned
When Iowa State’s spring depth chart was released, Scoggins was the lone JUCO transfer sitting with the No. 1s, and he was lined up at center with Lalk at right guard.
Scoggins arrived at Iowa State in January as a mid-year transfer from Long Beach C.C. After playing guard in both seasons in California, Iowa State hinted at the idea of playing center during the recruiting process given his size, and Scoggins was open to the move. Several weeks into the spring, though, that plan changed.
“Patrick was struggling with it a little bit, which we saw coming,” coach Paul Rhoads said then. “That’s not easy. He’s been a guard.”
The biggest adjustment for Scoggins came with snapping, which was to be expected for a player who hadn’t been at center, let alone snapped with quarterback Sam Richardson not underneath him. So Lalk was moved in with the No. 1 unit and Scoggins went to his more natural guard position.
Iowa State emerged from spring ball healthy at center, which is a good sign given the health woes the offensive line unit has had in the past. All signs point to a healthy group when fall camp rolls around.
To Be Determined
“If we started today,” Rhoads said, “Jamison Lalk would be our starting center.”
That doesn’t figure to change by the time fall rolls around or the season opener against Northern Iowa for that matter. Lalk is expected to be the No. 1 guy at center with Severs behind him and Scoggins competing at guard.
What remains to be seen, however, is how Iowa State adjusts. With Farniok, the team built continuity at center, and at times struggled when he missed the limited time he did in recent seasons. Now it has no choice but to adjust.