AMES, Iowa Iowa State tight end Ernst Brun spent last spring trying to dent the depth chart.
Now the well-established downfield threat's working on something loftier.
"My spot isn't on lock," said Brun, a 6-3, 251-pound senior and former JUCO transfer who made six touchdown catches last season. "I have to play every snap like I'm third string. I can't take a snap or take a play off. So my role has changed now. I see myself sometimes as a leader on this team and I have to keep it up."
First Brun along with touted transfer E.J. Bibbs, who injured his shoulder in one-on-one drills last week must get well.
Brun has shown concussion-like symptoms since absorbing a blow to the head while executing a block Friday in practice.
Cyclone coach Paul Rhoads expects to have him back for Thursday's workouts.
"He was trying to talk the doc into letting him go (Tuesday), but we don't allow that," Rhoads said. "Anything that's at risk, we hold him for the prescribed time."
Brun and Bibbs form a potentially explosive duo for the Cyclones, who could deploy more two tight end sets while running plays out of the pistol formation.
Brun is coming off a career-high 102-yard receiving effort in the Liberty Bowl loss to Tulsa.
His six touchdown receptions in 2012 were the second most ever for an ISU tight end.
"I just have to go out there and play football," Brun said. "I think it matters what I do out here (in practice) before I play on Saturdays."
Bibbs, a 6-3, 250-pound former Iowa recruit from Arizona Western Community College, stayed true to his verbal commitment to the Cyclones after Oklahoma made a late recruiting push.
"He's extremely talented," ISU tight ends/assistant head coach Bill Bleil said. "Maybe as athletic as any tight end I've been around."
Rhoads said Bibbs will not be available for Saturday's scrimmage, but could return to full work next week.
Bibbs said he hurt the shoulder on a "pretty good catch."
"I'm just trying to get back on the field and work," he added. "Just trying to work to get better."
That's a constant for sophomore tight end Ben Boesen, a lean 6-6, 230-pounder from West Des Moines Dowling whom the coaching staff loves.
"He's got a great motor and he learns fast," Bleil said.
Brun hopes to rapidly lead the way for himself, Bibbs, Boesen and Pierce Richardson, who's also in the tight end mix.
"It's a lot of stress on me to just be perfect," Brun said. "It's pretty good, though. I like it. It keeps me on my toes. I can never relax."
Cedar Rapids, Iowa News, Sports, and Weather
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