By Stephenson Beck
Imagine practicing all week long in preparation for the big game.
Now, imagine that all of the team’s offensive efforts are directed toward keeping you — their fellow teammate — out of the game.
Welcome to the world of punter Aaron Edmonds.
Punters are not often listed as key players. Rarely do headlines read “Punter leads team to victory” or “Fourth quarter punt gives BYU win.”
Rarely, as in never.
So why is the punting game an important part of BYU football?
“I guess it is kind of a crutch,” Edmonds said.
A crutch it may be, but when BYU’s offense has not been productive, a crutch has been what the football team has needed.
Edmonds admits that he did not start off the season well. He averaged 36 yards a punt against Florida State.
But since then he has improved.
Edmonds has punted 41 times and averaged 43.7 yards a punt.
One of Edmonds’ primary responsibilities is to pin opponents’ offenses deep in their own territory, said kicker coach Chris Pella. He has kicked 11 punts that have been downed inside the 20-yard line.
“My role for our team is mostly field position for our defense,” Edmonds said.
Pella sees Edmonds’ role as just the opposite.
“When you look at it as a strategic stand point. We consider him a part of our offense,” Pella said. “He is a 40-yard play.”
Although punting has been his primary responsibility this year, Edmonds hopes that the future will allow him to show another skill of his.
“I hope to be able kick field goals,” Edmonds said. “I was able to do both in high school and both at Ricks (College).”
Edmonds played two years at Ricks, where he was named First-Team All-Western States Football League as a place kicker. He ranked third in the National Junior College Athletic Association in punting and fourth in kicking.
His hopes of place kicking could be realized next year. This is kicker Owen Pochman’s senior year.
Although he is Pochman’s backup, Edmonds still has a key role in field goal situations. He is the holder.
He would like to use other skills as well. In BYU’s victory over Utah State, the Aggies faked a field goal and a punt. The fake punt was successful, and Edmonds would love to use his passing skills in a game.
“I always joke around with coach Pella and coach Edwards about letting me throw the ball. I like to throw the ball, and one time I threw a 20 yarder at Ricks,” Edmonds said.
The coaches have not been too optimistic about letting Edmonds pass, he said.
Coaches also hope that he will not have to use his tackling skills, but Edmonds said he could do it if needed.
“I don’t give the biggest hit, but it brings him down usually,” Edmonds said.