BILLINGS — Wyatt Brusven can be found all over the football field for Rocky Mountain College.
From booming punts and kickoffs to playing safety, Brusven is a key member of the 25th-ranked Battlin’ Bears (2-1).
And on those rare Saturdays in the fall when he’s not playing football, Brusven can be found fulfilling his duties as a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadet in the Montana Army National Guard.
Brusven plays a unique combination of positions on the football field for Rocky.
The 2019 Shelby High School graduate is the starting punter and safety for the Battlin’ Bears. Brusven also handles kickoffs for the Bears.
Brusven is currently leading the Frontier Conference and is fourth in the nation in punting with an average of 41.9 yards per punt.
“It comes down to preparation and our punting scheme is different than most everyone else in the conference,” said Brusven of his success punting the ball. “You have to look at that. Our coaches are changing up schemes, so we can have our best performance on the weekend.”
On Saturday, the Battlin’ Bears will host Montana State-Northern (0-3) at 1 pm at Herb Klindt Field. It is homecoming for Rocky.
While he looks forward to the game, Brusven said homecoming “is no different than any other week” in terms of preparation and focus.
“We take this week like every other week,” he explained. “We are still practicing and game day is at the same time. It’s one more time we have the opportunity to go out and perform.”
Last week in the Bears’ 28-20 win at then No. 21 Montana Tech, the Bears forced five turnovers. Brusven recovered a Tech fumble early in the second half and the Bears’ offense later converted the turnover into points to take a 21-13 lead.
Brusven enjoys all of his assorted football duties. The 6-foot, 160-pound redshirt junior was the Frontier Conference special teams player of the week in week two when he averaged 41.43 yards on seven punts against the College of Idaho.
“Defensive back is the position I always played in high school. That’s what I wanted to play. …I like kicking, too,” Brusven said. “I like being on the field as much as possible and that helps, too.”
Rocky coach Chris Stutzriem said it is unique to have a player do so many things for his football team.
“No. 1, he’s a great kid to be around,” said Stutzriem. “From a football standpoint, he’s a Swiss Army Knife and jack of all trades. It’s very rare your starting defensive back is your kicker and punter.
“When we recruited Wyatt, he was the best player on his Shelby team and did it all there.”
It is an interesting story how Brusven began kicking. Brusven said his family moved to France and lived there when he was in the first through third grade.
Brusven explained there weren’t many opportunities to play American football in France, so instead he played soccer. When the family returned to the United States, Brusven started playing football and with the skills he developed playing soccer he started kicking.
As he became older Brusven fine-tuned his kicking skills in part by attending camps.
“My junior and senior year of high school I traveled around for various kicking camps and showcases,” he said. “I liked doing it and decided I’d do it in college as well.”
Brusven juggles playing football and studying with his time in the ROTC program, which he is beginning his fourth year in.
While at Rocky, Brusven is studying business administration and is scheduled to graduate in December 2023. Brusven said he is also scheduled to be commissioned as a second lieutenant in December 2023 and will then be an officer in the Montana Army National Guard. While a contracted ROTC cadet, Brusven said he can’t be called up to active duty. After he is commissioned, Brusven has a six-year commitment with the Montana Army National Guard.
As a contracted ROTC cadet, Brusven attends Rocky on scholarship and receives a living stipend he said.
Brusven said he has drills one weekend every month and in the summers he has a two-week annual training commitment. He drills out of Miles City with the 260th Engineer Support Company. This year, Brusven said the weekend drills work out well with the RMC football schedule, and occur during open weeks.
This past summer for annual training, Brusven said he helped “redo a road from Jordan to Fort Peck Reservoir.”
For drill weekends, Brusven said his “main responsibility is to shadow the officers of our unit. It’s a lot of shadowing and seeing what they do and seeing what works and doesn’t within the unit and preparing to do that one day.”
Stutzriem applauded the amount of workload Brusven balances and his dedication. The coach noted that even when Brusven is performing his ROTC duties, he still gets his football workouts in.
“It’s hard enough to play college football and go to school,” said Stutzriem. “But to serve your country, too, is pretty impressive.”
Brusven said that while there can be challenges to his balancing act, he would tell other students who are interested that it is a challenge worth pursuing.
“I’d say I’d recommend it to anyone that was interested,” he said. “I will say it’s really hard doing both. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices on both sides, but at the end of the day if I had to go back, I wouldn’t choose any other way.”
Brusven hopes to leave his mark this year for the Battlin’ Bears with a goal of achieving all-conference honors as a punter and safety.
“No. 1 is to be the best punter in the conference and obviously to help my team any way I can,” he said. “Obviously, I want to be an all-conference safety as well. I don’t know if that’s happened in a while, that someone has got both. It’s one of our goals.”