Camp Insider: A good sign at wide receiver

Chris Williams

Publisher

D'Vario Montgomery --- Photo by Rob Gray.

AMES --- There have been a handful of positive transfer stories on Iowa State's campus over the past five years. Fred Hoiberg, of course, was responsible for the bulk of them. 

Is football ready to join the party?

When D’Vario Montgomery, a hulk-like 6-foot-5, 212-pound wide receiver transferred from South Florida to Iowa State last fall, there was a definite transition period. Montgomery’s relationship with the program apparently got a little rocky during the redshirt year. But what’s important here is that Montgomery stuck through it and according to his coaches, his best days are ahead of him. 

“He has had some struggles,” Paul Rhoads said after Thursday’s practice. “Any time you leave a program, there is a reason. Whatever it is and I think there is some maturity that has to takes place and some growing and some development. I think he is still in the middle of it.”

Despite being listed as a two on Iowa State’s pre-camp depth chart, Montgomery ran with the ones during Monday’s open practice.

This appears to be a classic story of a transfer having a hard time being on the scout team. Hoiberg could probably tell a similar story regarding former Cyclones on the hardwood. Transfers often times move across the country, show up at a new place and then can’t play in a game for a year. Under those circumstances, it takes a very dedicated young man to be 100 percent in from the start.

“He has got to continue to build practice habits,” Rhoads said. “A year ago when you are not preparing for a game and you are with the scout team and you don’t have the urgency of a game to be played, you can relax a little bit. You can’t do that right now but in time you build up those habits. So we have to still focus on practice habits and concentration with him. It is one thing to be big. It is another thing to be big and do something with it." 

In his first meeting with the media during fall camp, Montgomery, who looks even larger in person than numbers that show up on the roster, appeared to be almost grateful that he is still in Ames after the past year. He was also appreciative for the relationships he has developed with Mark Mangino and his position coach, Tommy Mangino.

“Really and truly they have been like a blessing in my life as far as me improving everywhere,” Montgomery said. “Also Coach Rhoads. I have made a few mistakes and they still allow me to be in the program. At the end of the day, I am still here and I want to contribute.” 

Notebook

Lazard: Freshman Allen Lazard took reps with the twos on Thursday. This is news only because Jarvis West revealed this fact to the media. However, did anybody actually think that Lazard wouldn’t be doing so at this point in time?

Don’t sleep on Jarvis: During spring football, Paul Rhoads was quoted saying that Jarvis West’s knee injury was probably the most detrimental injury that his program suffered during the 2013 season. As you well know, there were a lot of them.

“He was really making plays at the time and was really electric with the ball in his hands,” Rhoads said. “No disrespect to anybody but if a guy catches the ball out there right after the ball is snapped, it doesn’t matter sometimes what these guys are doing in here. He was very dangerous at that point in the season if it was punts, kicks, catching the ball.”

It’s no surprise that West is currently slotted as Iowa State’s top punt returner early in camp. Chances are, he will return kicks as well for the Cyclones. West is also the program's top slot-receiver. 

West and his 5-foot-7 frame often times get forgotten about but make no mistake about the fact that Rhoads and both men with the name Mangino are expecting big things from the fifth-year senior. 

“He would have played as a true freshman but he popped his hamstring on a kickoff return I don’t know how many days out from that first game,” Rhoads said. “I think probably there are times when he reflects back on that and knows how quickly it can be gone by practicing hard or practicing at the front of the line. He is a quiet leader.”

Bundrage’s development: Junior Quenton Bundrage has All-Big 12 potential at wide receiver. He proved that last season by tying the school’s single-season touchdown record with nine.

But he dropped a lot of passes. Tommy Mangino isn’t sweating that (see video) and neither is Rhoads.

“It’s like a kid fumbling the ball,” Rhoads said. “The more you bring up holding onto the ball, the more at times it is tougher to get past that. We’ve had a high focus on positive energy in camp and that’s all part of it.”

Schedule: Iowa State will hold its first scrimmage of fall camp on Saturday morning. Sunday is media day for the Cyclones. 

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