Leaders aren’t necessarily defined by title, seniority, ability or electability. They emerge from different circumstances.
Iowa State’s football team got better last week and behind the curtain of improvement were some subtle leadership shifts.
Here are three stories:
Senior wide receiver Jarvis West was given the chance to step forward after a season-ending injury to fellow pass catcher Quenton Bundrage early in the first game. West, a talented and quiet playmaker, led by example. He accounted for three touchdowns (29-yard pass, 17-yard reception and 82-yard punt return) vs. K-State.
“If you would have asked who our go-to wide receiver would be by the time the season ends, we all would have said Quenton Bundrage,” Coach Paul Rhoads said. “Right now that shifts to Jarvis West at the wide receiver position.”
Senior center Tom Farniok was elected a team captain by his teammates during the offseason. An injury in the opener vs. North Dakota State took his veteran leadership off the field. Farniok’s quick recovery and return to the field in one week, however, brought a key leader back into the mix.
“Impressed, without a doubt,” Rhoads said of Farniok’s return to the lineup after one week. “Within a week’s time, and on a shorter preparation time, he was back out there leading that offensive line. My hat goes off to any player that is playing through pain and injury.”
Senior linebacker Jevohn Miller made his first college start at middle linebacker after four years of training at will linebacker. The somewhat soft-spoken Miller’s move was one of three changes in the starting linebacker lineup. He called a players-only meeting last week and followed it up by registering a team-best 11 tackles vs. K-State.
“I don’t think I would have ever seen Jevohn as a leader, as a guy who would be vocal and step up,” Rhoads said. “He’s grown tremendously. Without question he and Cory Morrissey (an elected team captain) are the leaders of our defense. I’m proud of him (Miller) for stepping up. I think he realized the position he was in this summer (as a veteran) and has been smart enough to take advantage of that.”