MSU football: Tyler Bolton working double duty for Bobcats
SEAN SPERRY/CHRONICLE Montana State junior Tyler Bolton will punt, kick and catch passes for the Bobcats this season.

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Tyler Bolton feels as if he's still in high school.

He's not a do-everything-but-sell-tickets player anymore, but he's not exactly one-dimensional.

His strong right leg - just as it was for his father 30 years ago - originally brought him to Montana State. Since then, the younger Bolton has added another duty to his repertoire.

The Great Falls High graduate now has a position that goes with his No. 82: receiver.

In addition, Bolton can punt, kick field goals and handle kickoffs. That's why he was No. 12 as a freshman.

And that's why he's constantly moving.

"Whenever that type of practice comes up, I'm over there," the junior said.

At Great Falls High, Bolton played receiver, safety, kicker and punter. He was all-state as a kicker and punter and all-conference at receiver.

His freshman season at MSU was spent solely as a kicker, then two springs ago, as Bolton was practicing kicks, head coach Mike Kramer called him over to a receiver drill.

It wasn't a temporary idea; Bolton has been doing both ever since.

While he has yet to catch a college pass, Bolton enjoys his dual role.

"Sometimes it gets a little tiring, but I'm used to it by now," says Bolton, who has added 15 pounds of muscle since he was a freshman.

With Rob Ash now the head coach, it appears Bolton will still punt, catch and kick.

"He's competing for some of the kicking jobs and he's also competing at receiver," Ash said early in preseason camp. "That's what he wants to do so that's what we're letting him do."

There is little concern that Bolton will break down due to his constant state of activity. Because he is always moving in practice, staying warm for his next task is hardly a problem.

Stretching has become yet another of his "positions."

"He has a strong enough leg to be a valuable guy in the kicking game," MSU special teams coach E.J. Arnold said, "and he's so fast and athletic enough to be able to go out there and play wide receiver."

Did we mention that Bolton also ran track in high school?

Going from event to event is nothing new.

"Sometimes I'll be out playing wide receiver and all of a sudden we'll go to a field goal," Bolton said of his practice regimen. "I'll try and get in a quick stretch and focus on the field goal. It just keeps it fun."

Tyler's father Pat made a name for himself during the early 1970s by becoming Montana State's career scoring leader. His 234 points are three more than Mark Carter and Bolton's 44 field goals are one less than Carter.

Pat Bolton also has the most field goals over 50 yards (3) and 40 yards (11) in a career.

He likely didn't participate in any receiver drills.

Tyler Bolton, however, is having little trouble juggling roles.

It has been that way since he gave up soccer for football 10 years ago.

"It's fun, being out there with all the guys at the different positions," he said. "I did pretty much the same thing in high school, too."

Special teams

Coach: E.J. Arnold (2nd year)

Starters lost: PK Jeff Hastings; KR Michael Jefferson; KR Donell Wheaton.

Starters returning: KR Josh Lewis (Sr. 5-11, 160); PR Kory Austin (Sr. 5-11, 184); Holder Tyler Lulay (Jr. 6-0, 185); K/P Eric Fisher (So. 6-1, 191); K/P Tyler Bolton (Jr. 5-10, 195)

Newcomers: LS Tim Garcia (Fr. 6-3, 220); Michael Sweeney (Fr. 5-9, 140)

Strenghts: Lewis and Austin both have breakaway speed. Fisher has a powerful leg.

Weaknesses: Fisher, Bolton and Sweeney have two college field goal attempts between them.

Quoting Arnold: "The best thing we have going on right now is we have three pretty good kickers. We're blessed with that."

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