Matt Harman is vying to be the starting quarterback for the Pittsburg State University (Kan.) football team.
The past two years the Cashion High School graduate has been a part of a rotation at quarterback. Last year’s starter and a freshman are his primary competition, according to the 6-foot-3 junior. “I’m going to make a run for it,” he said. “We’re all duking it out.”
He said the team had two spring practices before the shutdown, so he spent two months working on conditioning by lifting weights and doing the pushups, pullups, situps and lunges that Matt Nelson, director of strength training and nutrition, advised.
Harman has been on campus participating in voluntary workouts since mid-May, he said, and has been throwing to receivers during practice twice a week. They practice the route tree on the right and left sides. “I’m more than comfortable with all these guys running the routes,” he said.
The quarterbacks will be operating out of a shotgun, pro-style formation this season after directing the triple option last year. “It’s very similar to what I ran back in Cashion,” he said. “It’s kind of right up my alley.”
Last year he played in 10 of 11 games. He said he got most of his snaps on series when the team wanted to gain yardage on a long pass and when the team was either leading or trailing by a lot. “I would just try and go in there and do my job and not let my teammates down,” he said.
The team had a specific package for him, and that assignment would change week to week. He said the passes he threw were short to long routes, including deep posts, post corners and comebacks.
He finished the season completing 25 of 42 pass attempts for a career-high 395 yards with a careerhigh three touchdowns and one interception.
Harman had a seasonbest performance during a drubbing of Missouri Southern in the finale. He completed 10 of 14 pass attempts for 132 yards, all season highs, in playing the second half. He directed scoring drives of 59 and 60 yards, tossing a 16-yard touchdown to Lorenzo West in the third quarter and a 29-yard touchdown to West in the last quarter.
In addition, he had his most effective rushing effort, carrying a seasonhigh nine times for a season-high 45 yards.
His biggest improvement during his time in the program has been “reading coverages,” he said, being able to assess what alignments the defenses show. That acquired skill has been valuable in helping him counter the pressure that opponents bring from anywhere on the field.
“What struck me was the defensive line, those guys being that big and being that quick, how quickly they’re able to put pressure on you,” Harman said.
In its second game, Pittsburg State is scheduled to face Emporia State University (Kan.), for which former Cashion teammate Case Cochran is a redshirt sophomore.