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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — Iowa State wide receiver Allen Lazard felt comfortable in his role of just talking when he had to, lining up on the outside and making plays if given the chance.
Those days are over.
Lazard will have to do all those things plus a little more in his third year as a starter. The junior is a beacon of knowledge and experience in his position room and it's something he's embracing. He knows being successful in every way means being a team-first guy.
'When I see something I know I can help with I'm going to be vocal and help the younger guys, and even some of the older guys as well,' Lazard said. 'If I can impact them and help them with their routes, with blocking or with the plays and help them memorize it; I'm just trying to be there and make their life a lot easier.'
The Urbandale native hasn't ignored any leadership responsibilities in the past, but has always felt more comfortable as a doer rather than a talker. Lazard led the Cyclones in receptions (56), receiving yards (808) and touchdown catches (6) as a sophomore, but is adding another dimension to his game. His reception and receiving yard marks are both on the ISU all-time season top-10 lists.
Iowa State coach Matt Campbell has always wanted his best players to be his hardest workers. The guys that show up on game days should be the same guys he sees in practice the other five or six days of the week.
So far, that guy has been Lazard.
'He separates himself because of his ability to do the little things really, really well,' Campbell said. 'That's so huge for us as coaches coming in to say, 'Hey, you want to be like this guy, well then act like this guy acts and carry yourself like this guy carries himself.' He's got that ability to do that.'
Lazard sustained a hairline fracture to his right hand last week in practice and won't participate in the spring game — he will not require surgery and should be full go in roughly a month — but has found ways to impact teammates all spring.
He isn't the rah-rah or in-your-face type, but Lazard's diligence and attention to detail is something that speaks louder than he does. Wide receivers coach Bryan Gasser gave notebooks to each of his players to use during film sessions and has taken notice of Lazard's in particular.
'You look at his notebook and he's got more notes than everybody else in the room,' Gasser said. 'For a guy that plays and has that type of skill level and has that experience, that's impressive to me.'
Iowa State will have a bevy of options in the pass game with Lazard, senior Dondre Daley, juniors Jauan Wesley and Trever Ryen and sophomores Carson Epps and Darius Lee-Campbell entering their second year with the group. Red-shirt freshman Hakeem Butler also provides a big body at 6-foot-6 and 202 pounds that compliments Lazard's 6-foot-5, 223-pound frame.
Even with all the options and varying levels of experience, everybody is looking Lazard's way for guidance.
'Everyone looks up to him because they know he's a playmaker,' said quarterback Joel Lanning. 'When we're in certain situations in practice, everyone expects him to make plays. We expect Mike (Warren) and myself to make plays as well. He's done really well this spring and I'm sure he'll continue to all summer.'
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