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Athlete of the Week: Tyler Halverson

October 26, 2016

Tyler Halverson had a huge day at receiver for the Falcons in their 50-28 win over the UW-Stout Blue Devils. Halverson, a junior from Big Lake, Minnesota, had six receptions for 156 yards and a touchdown, averaging 26 yards per catch.His 57-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter helped kick start a Falcon offense that put up over 500 yards of offense against the Blue Devils for the second straight season. The Student Voice sat down with Halverson to ask about the dominant performance and the huge strides made by the Falcon receivers this season.

Q: What made you want to play football at UWRF?
A: In high school, it was one of my favorite sports to play. Senior year I ended up having a really good season. I got quarterback of the conference and offensive player of the year and I thought I was getting a lot better. The coaches recruited me to come here, and I just thought I could get better with them and the team as a whole could have a shot at winning the WIAC.

Q: How has the program evolved over your first three seasons here, with an 0-10 season before your freshman year?
A: We have a lot more team chemistry and everyone’s going into the games assuming we’re going to win, and it doesn’t matter what opponent we’re going against. As the years have gone by we have more buy-in from the guys. The coaches are still putting in the time and effort which helps us succeed more on and off the field.

Q: How have injuries played a role in the receiving corps this season?
A: To start the year we were at full strength and had a good core six to eight receivers who could play at any time. Then, as the games went on, it’s kind of taken a toll on the receivers with reps in practice and reps in the game. It’s always great to play a lot but we went from our top six receivers to only having two of us left. We had a lot of guys fall off which makes a lot of pressure to perform and push yourself without the competition.

Q: Have you been impressed with the next-man-up mentality of the receivers?
A: I think as a whole our receiving corps has gotten a lot better from last year to this year. Especially we’ve had some young guys step up. We’ve had Alex Hohenstein play a good role for us in the slot and Trenton Monson who started in the slot and moved to the outside receiver and he’s done a great job. It’s been a big role of guys stepping up at all positions.

Q: What is your past relationship with playing with Trenton Monson in high school?
A: I played quarterback and he played receiver, and he was a grade below me. My senior year he played a little bit at slot and AJ Sandford on the team played receiver, too. His senior year he had a really good season and I kind of talked to him and told him to look here and what the coaches and team has going for us. We have a good chemistry and are always having fun at practice. We also had a good chemistry in high school playing football, baseball and basketball together.

Q: What did you exploit in the UW-Stout defense to make big plays on Saturday?
A: It was a combination of game plan by the coaches on what to do and just how to get receivers the ball and how to get the running backs in space. There’s just something about Stout. It’s kind of a rivalry game for us, so we want to win at all costs and there’s a little added incentive against them.

Q: Do you see this team as more of a passing team, running team or balanced attack?
A: It kind of depends on the game but we’re probably about 60 percent to 40 percent run to pass. But we can easily flip that and the run really opens up our pass game.

Q: What can the offense do to capitalize early in the game against a talented UW-Oshkosh team?
A: You got to make plays right away and receivers have to win those 50-50 catches. Running backs have to hit the hole hard and get something rolling on first down. If we can get some good yards on first down it really opens up what we do. If we can get to second and five we can really do anything we want. We need to approach them [Oshkosh] like they’re any other opponent and don’t worry about their name, but play hard and don’t hold anything back.

Q: What can this team still accomplish this season?
A: We can accomplish a lot. Coming into the season we were supposed to be in the middle of the pack but we can set ourselves up to the top with our last three games against Oshkosh, Whitewater and Stevens Point. There’s nothing that says we can’t beat them, so I think it’s a big end of the season coming up.