Iowa State football: Tom Farniok reveals plight of last year’s offensive line


Iowa State offensive lineman Tom Farniok reveals that there’s more change than just the skill players and a new offensive coordinator for next season.

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The Cyclones’ offense is in for a complete overhaul for 2014, something that gives fans a whole lot more optimism than the nation does. We all know how exciting Mark Mangino made Kansas — at one point they shot up to a top 10 program in football and was fighting to make it to a BCS game.

With the skill players Iowa State has around the ball — Aaron Wimberly and DeVondrick Nealy at tailback with Quenton Bundrage, Allen Lazard, Jarvis West, P.J. Harris, and more at receiver and E.J. Bibbs at tight end — the only question mark remains at quarterback.

But what will ultimately translate to a better season offensively for the Cyclones? How the line performs. Because of a season full of injuries in 2013, there was no continuity in the line. That’s why you can’t give full blame to a stable of running backs that underperformed a year ago — the offensive line did absolutely nothing to help their ground game.

Nov 23, 2012; Ames, Iowa, USA; Iowa State Cyclones center Tom Farniok (74) gives out instructions against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the first half at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

That’s why Tom Farniok is so glad that he’ll be ending his career under new leadership — and not just at coordinator.

When there’s a unit that’s plagued with injuries, more often than not, it wasn’t just caused by dumb luck. It was revealed in the Des Moines Register that former O-line coach Chris Klenakis overworked the squad.

"It wasn’t that Hyper Chris was a bad coach; it’s just that the intensity with which he worked his guys from Day 1 to the final snap of the triple-overtime win at West Virginia was too overbearing for a team that finished 3-9. Especially too much for many players forced to play waaaaay before they were ready."

Here were some of Farniok’s comments in the article on working with Klenakis in the past and now working with new coach Brandon Blaney.

"“It felt like it was an us-vs.-him thing in the past,” Farniok said of working under Klenakis, now at Louisville.“There’s more unity,” Farniok said. “We’re jelling with each other very well. Everyone’s a good personality match with each other.”"

No, the offensive line won’t all of a sudden become a brick wall and allow Iowa State to reel in 600 yards a game. It helps that the players got starting experience — it requires different preparation throughout the week — but it’s still fairly young, especially on the right side with two sophomores starting.

If the quarterback doesn’t have to run for his life and the running game can put up some solid performances with a confident line, Iowa State may not be half-bad after all.

If anything, expect an easier time for whoever starts under center to get the ball out of their hands and utilize all the receivers the Cyclones have. Expect Wimberly and Nealy to take advantage of Farniok and company opening more holes for them — we know what happens when Wimberly and Farniok are on the same page.

Change was needed at the offensive line, and we’ll see how it translates in the reformed offense. If the quarterback doesn’t have to run for his life and the running game can put up some solid performances with a confident line, Iowa State may not be half-bad after all.