In the world of football, there are battles won by strength and others, by speed. But for kickers, the battle lies within.
“I would say 90% of kicking is mental,” said Colorado State senior kicker Wyatt Bryan. “You gotta take it one kick at a time. You got to have a short memory. If you have a bad hit you just gotta put it behind you and say, that’s not me. That’s fine. Move on. But you can’t get too excited over the good hits either.”
Bryan learned long ago that the life of a kicker is one based on highs and lows. Sometimes you’re the hero, and other times, you’re the zero.
CSU head coach Mike Bobo recalls Bryan’s struggles as a freshman.
“You know after the ‘15 season I would have probably said, no this guy is not going to be our kicker here, from what I saw but you know, he said, I’m gonna go to work and go out and compete. And he did that.”
Following his freshman campaign, he had a breakout year as a sophomore. A trick kick he posted to YouTube ended up going viral and winning him first place in a national trick shot contest. He earned the starting role for good when Bobo awarded him a scholarship in front of his teammates and coaches in fall of 2017.
“Getting a scholarship was a big deal, just because it showed that the coaches trusted me and they believed in me,” Bryan recalled. “I remember calling my parents afterwards and I think they were even more stoked than I was.”
Every year, his stats have gradually improved, going from 72.7% on field-goal attempts as a freshman, to 78.6% as a sophomore, to a career-high 83.3% last season.
“Hopefully it goes up again this year. Just working hard every day.”
The journey for Bryan is far from over. He enters his final season with the Rams as the programs' career leader in field goal percentage. He’s tied for second in total points, just 19 points behind legendary running back Steve Bartalo. While he knows these records are within his grasp, Bryan prefers to look at the much bigger picture: helping his team win and setting a good example for the future kickers of Colorado State.
“I just hope that people can look at me as an example,” Bryan said. “Like this kid knew what he was doing. This kid always did what was right. Someone like that. Someone they can look up to and say, you know, I wanna be as good as him.”