AMES — Iowa State true freshman quarterback Brock Purdy does a lot of things well.
He’s an accurate passer, he has a strong arm and he has the ability to scramble.
He also has another weapon he likes to use. He likes to pump fake — even when he’s 5 yards down field. And defenders bite on it, almost every time.
Receiver Hakeem Butler said it terrifies him when Purdy does it because Butler is afraid he’ll either fumble or he’ll take a big hit from a player who doesn’t bite on the fake.
“I think that’s certainly an area for him that he’s got — you’ve either got it or you don’t,” ISU football coach Matt Campbell said. “It’s something that he just has. I think one of the other things that makes it effective is his ability on the run to throw the football. I think that pump fake is real because he is going to move and he’s got the ability to deliver the football — whether it’s in the screen game, whether it’s in the vertical passing game, he’s got the ability not only to run, but he’s running to throw it instead of always running it to run it.”
Purdy has 196 rushing yards, second most on the team. On nearly every one of those rushes — even the designed ones — Purdy is throwing a pump fake in there to freeze the defense.
Speaking of true freshmen, Iowa State has played seven true freshmen this season. Some will keep playing, and some will sit the remainder of the season to preserve their redshirts.
Campbell said four more are ready to play.
The four are offensive linemen Trevor Downing and Joey Ramos, quarterback Re-al Mitchell and linebacker Chandler Pulvermacher.
Downing and Mitchell enrolled early last spring to get a jump start.
“Trevor Downing, he’s had a phenomenal fall,” Campbell said. “He’s light-years ahead of any freshman offensive lineman that I’ve ever had the opportunity to coach. He’s really close to helping our football team. Joey Ramos has come in and done a really great job. Unlike Trevor, he didn’t get spring practice. I thought his progression has been really impressive.”
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Campbell said Mitchell’s growth has been fun to watch. He’s a dynamic play maker, using his athleticism to create in space.
Lastly, Iowa State has rotated its linebackers quite a bit this season. The starters are mainstays, but the backups have been rotating a bit and Pulvermacher could be the next in line to get some snaps.
Growth along the line
Iowa State’s biggest question on the offense coming into the season was the offensive line.
The unit started off shaky, but seems to have found its footing.
“That group is playing its best football since I’ve been here, over the last three to four weeks,” Campbell said. “They’re gritty, there’s been a lot of growth in my opinion. You can’t have success this time of year if that group isn’t competing to play at a really high level. We’re a lot closer to where we want to be there than we’ve ever been.”
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