CN Spring Cleaning: Tight Ends & Offensive Tackles

The fourth in a series of football position progress reports on features the tight ends and tackles, where James Wright, Cale Stubbe and Aaron Brant have entrenched themselves as starters.

Tight Ends:

Pre-Fall Depth Chart:

James Wright III, 6-3, 240, SR
Brett Kellogg, 6-3, 250, R-SR
Ben Barkema, 6-3, 250, R-FR
Kenny Segin, 6-5, 255, R-SR
Brandon Tinlin, 6-4, 245, R-FR

Newcomers: (None)

Spring evaluation:

After years of believing tight ends were under utilized in the passing game Steve Brickey at the controls, Cyclone fans may get their wish. At least that's the way it looked over the course of 15 spring practices.

First-year offensive coordinator Barney Cotton may be preaching a return to power football and the run game in Ames, but he's also apparently made a commitment to utilizing every weapon he has in his pass attack. Iowa State fans should look no further than 2003 at Nebraska, where Cotton coached first-team All-Big 12 tight end Matt Herian.

Wright proved to be ISU's best all-around tight end, giving Cotton the proper mix of blocking and pass catching. If not for a few errant throws (remember Texas Tech) or some missed reads by quarterbacks last fall, Wright may have become more of a receiving option. The former JUCO transfer from Texas' Kilgore College may be on the verge of breaking out even further this fall.

While Kellogg settled into his role as a second-teamer, most of the action this spring came deeper in the depth chart. After spending last season on the scout team as a redshirt, Barkema established himself as the Cyclones' tight end of the future. He moved past veteran backup Segin in the depth chart midway through the spring and never looked back, and even caught a pair of balls for 25 yards in the spring game.

The biggest thing holding Segin back remains his blocking. The former Ankeny player continues to be one of the best at catching the ball (three receptions in the spring game), but is not near the blocker his fellow tight end mates are.

Fall outlook:

Wright appears to be a lock as the Cyclones' starting tight end. But if Barkema continues to impress coaches when training camp opens, he could potentially unseat Kellogg, a veteran senior who gained starting experience in 2003. One final summer in the weight room also can't hurt Segin's cause, either.

Position notes:

After a knee injury prematurely ended his first year in Ames, Tinlin has been slow returning to 100 percent. The California product had reconstructive knee surgery after a torn ACL, and returned to the field this spring to find himself behind a trio of seniors and '03 classmate Barkema.

Offensive Tackles:

Pre-Fall Depth Chart:

LT Cale Stubbe, 6-4, 300, R-SR
John Tjaden, 6-6, 290, R-FR

RT Aaron Brant, 6-7, 315, SO
Chris O'Hollearn, 6-6, 285, R-JR
Brandon Cook, 6-6, 320, R-FR


Kody Kuehl, 6-6, 310, FR, Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn HS Joe Vanstrom, 6-7, 300, FR, Ham Lake (Minn.) Blaine HS

Spring evaluation:

After moving Brant from guard to right tackle, the Cyclones firmed up the exterior of their offensive line. The sophomore joined forces with left tackle Stubbe, a returning senior starter whose job will now be to protect the backside of ISU's starting quarterback.

Cotton was pleasantly surprised with the work done by Tjaden this spring. The Mason City native will still need to get bigger during summer workouts, but proved he has the feet and athleticism to play tackle in the Big 12. On the right side, O'Hollearn was able to hold off another redshirt freshman (Cook) for the second-team spot.

Fall outlook:

ISU's two starting tackles appear to be set for the season opener against Northern Iowa. Head coach Dan McCarney indicated during the spring that O'Hollearn is the top reserve tackle, and could be utilized on both the left and right sides.

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