BOISE — Senior punter Trevor Harman has thought about the possibility of losing his starting spot to redshirt freshman Sean Wale and spending his final season of football on the bench.
Those thoughts don’t go very well.
But that’s a realistic scenario after his inconsistent junior season and a strong spring from Wale opened the door for a competition during fall camp. And the battle couldn’t be any closer.
“Not playing your senior year is not how you want to go out when you’ve been playing football since the third grade.” Harman said. “That’s something that’s pushing me. It’s hard thinking about. Of course I want to play and I’m going to do everything in my power to be that guy.”
Boise State coach Chris Petersen surprised some at Mountain West media days in Las Vegas when he declared it an even competition entering fall camp. Asked how much Wale was pushing Harman for the spot, he said, “Extremely a lot.”
Harman, who was recruited to Boise State to be a kicker, didn’t become the starting punter until last season. He averaged 41.2 yards per punt, but the Broncos ranked 108th overall in net punting average at 34.1 yards per punt.
His main problem was his lack of consistency, something Petersen said the Broncos needed to find in whoever the punter will be this season.
“I had my ups and downs, but I feel like I learned a lot being my first year starting,” Harman said. “I’ve been working extremely hard at this and working on the consistency and from last year to where I am now, I feel like I am a lot better.
“Consistency makes a good punter. It’s a hard position to be consistent at and the consistent ones are the top guys.”
Wale is also relatively new to this whole punting thing. The former kicker didn’t start punting until his senior year of high school and only came in contact with Boise State when defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski met him while recruiting one of his former teammates at La Habra (Calif.) High.
He redshirted last season to continue his development as a punter and get stronger. Both have apparently come along well.
“You have to attack every day with the same mindset, to get better and compete for that starting spot,” Wale said. “I think it’s a lot better this year than last year now that I redshirted, because I have a feel for the program and how practice works and everything like that. Redshirting was a good step for me.
“There’s always room for improvement, but I think I’ve done well and hopefully the coaches think the same.”
Harman wasn’t specifically told that his spot was up for grabs. But it didn’t take long to figure it out.
“I could see it,” Harman said. “I see the competition and I understand we’re both getting equal reps. I understand. I’m not blind to it. I think it’s great. It’s what I need and what he needs as well.
“You have good days and bad days but I’m putting my best foot forward. I’m giving it my best effort and that’s all you can ask for. “
Harman, who had a season-long punt of 60 yards, pinned opponents inside the 20-yard-line on 8-of-42 attempts and had seven touchbacks. But he feels he can be much better this year and is hoping to get his chance to show it.
But he’s not the only one thinking about the future. And Wale has much better thoughts.
“To come into a program like this and get the chance to compete for a starting spot and possibly play is amazing,” Wale said. “I think it would be unreal to be able to run out there at Washington for the first game and get to play my first college game in front of all those people and against a great team. It would be amazing.”
Petersen said after Sunday’s scrimmage that neither punter was in the lead and that he didn’t have a timetable on when he would make a decision.
That means both Harman and Wale still have time to make an impression. And they both plan on trying to make the most of it.