Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State football notebook: Tight ends are making an impact this season

Charlie Kolar, Chase Allen, Dylan Soehner are vital part of Cyclones offense

Sep 21, 2019; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones tight end Chase Allen (11) is tackled by Louisiana Monroe Warhawks cornerback Rhoy Williams (13) at Jack Trice Stadium. The Cyclones beat the Warhawks 72 to 20.  Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 21, 2019; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones tight end Chase Allen (11) is tackled by Louisiana Monroe Warhawks cornerback Rhoy Williams (13) at Jack Trice Stadium. The Cyclones beat the Warhawks 72 to 20. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

AMES — Iowa State’s tight ends have gone from a complete non-factor in the offense to an integral part of its success.

The Cyclones have three tight ends — Charlie Kolar, Chase Allen and Dylan Soehner — who are playing at a high level this season, which is exactly what head coach Matt Campbell hoped.

Iowa State lost running back David Montgomery and receiver Hakeem Butler early to the NFL Draft and Campbell knew he needed to find new production and new ways to distribute the ball.

“It was fun going into the spring, knowing we needed to make some changes to involve them in our offense,” Campbell said. “I thought you could see their intent and their intensity continue to grow. I think it’s really rewarding because it’s those three guys — Soehner made a great play on our sideline on Saturday, the play Kolar made right before half to put us in field-goal range and then Chase made a couple of big plays throughout the game.

“Those guys are proving it. The neat thing about them is none of them are finished products.”

Kolar, a sophomore, is ranked fifth nationally in receptions per game for a tight end with 4.7. Allen, a junior, has three catches for 23 yards and fellow junior Soehner, a junior has 25 yards on two receptions.

Soehner and Allen are also key cogs in Iowa State’s run-blocking scheme. Kolar is as well, but he’s still learning that part of the game.

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What’s helped all three come along and make a jump this season is their collective intelligence.

“What makes them special is all three are elite students,” Campbell said. “Charlie is a 3.9 (GPA) student in our engineering school, Chase is a 3.5 in our engineering school, Dylan is a 3.8 in our business school.

“They’re highly intelligent people. You’re getting the whole package with that group.”

Trevor Downing on his way up

Trevor Downing was inserted at left guard after Collin Olson moved to center due to Colin Newell’s injury against Northern Iowa.

The line, Downing included, hasn’t missed a beat.

“The thing Trevor brings to our offensive line is physical and tough and a guy that absolutely loves football,” Campbell said. “We knew that about Trevor. He loved to play offensive line and he had a passion for football. He put himself in positions to maximize his opportunities.”

What’s helped Downing along has been playing beside four-year starter Julian Good-Jones and Olson, who switched from defensive line to offensive line and started getting playing time last season.

“So, then Trevor gets the opportunity to just play. When Trevor just plays, he’s about as good as you can find because he’s physical and tough and he does all the little things really, really well,” Campbell said. “He’s certainly been a great asset to us.”

Injury report

Iowa State’s injury report is thinning out a little bit.

Newell practiced for the first time since his injury but Campbell said the sophomore center is still questionable to play Saturday against Baylor.

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Running back Kene Nwangwu also practiced Monday but is still questionable. Campbell said it won’t be a lasting or nagging injury with Nwangwu, but it could be one that impacts how he runs the ball if he were to play.

Running back Johnnie Lang and safety Greg Eisworth also left the Louisiana Monroe game with injuries but Campbell said both are good to go and will play Saturday. He also said if the ULM game would have been closer, they could have gone back in, but he didn’t want to risk any further injury.

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