Haferman prepares like starter, even if he’s not

Competitors hate standing on the sidelines.

Competitors want to be in the action, mixing it up, playing the game, making an impact.

Competitors want to compete.

Jason Haferman hates the sidelines. He wants to be on the field. He wants to be the starting quarterback. In his final college season, Haferman worked, prepared and devoted himself to being the No. 1 quarterback for the Colorado Mesa University Mavericks.

But when the decision arrived, Haferman was anchored to the sidelines as the No. 3 quarterback.

But he’s a good teammate.

“It was extremely hard to hear,” he said about the decision. “There can only be one quarterback on the field. I want to be playing, but the coaches made the decision. Now I have to be ready.”

Haferman knows depth is always key to a college football team’s success.

“No matter the position, no matter where you are on the depth chart, you have to be ready to go,” he said.

As the Mavs were pounding Menlo College in the season opener, Haferman was front and center on the sidelines. He helped signal in offensive calls and formations, offered feedback during timeouts, encouraged his teammates.

When starting quarterback Aric Kaiser went down with a knee injury in the first quarter, Kyle Duran took over, and Haferman was one step closer to the field.

Last week, in a 26-0 loss to powerhouse Montana State, Duran left with back spasms, and Haferman was again on the field. His appearance was brief and his play was rough and choppy, but it is why he prepares like a starter.

“I’m very into the game, I need to stay focused,” he said. “You never know when the time is coming when you might be in the game; especially with this offense.”

Quarterbacks take a beating in the spread offense.

This summer, the Fort Collins native worked to be the No. 1 guy.

At 6 a.m., he was in the weight room. At 7 a.m., he was running. At 7:45 a.m. he was throwing to receivers.

Sure, Haferman wants to be a starter, but the senior is now backing up two redshirt freshmen. But he’s a good teammate.

“We support each other and push each other,” he said.

Last season, Haferman started out No. 3 on the depth chart, but circumstances pulled him onto the field, and he started six games.

The way he handles himself on the sidelines and at practice, Haferman still embraces the role of being a leader in his final season of college football.

“That’s what a team is about. We don’t all get to start, but we all have to be prepared,” he said.

His work ethic, leadership and competitiveness was molded as a youngster, and he started at Poudre High School for three years.

He hates being stuck on the sidelines. That’s why he came into this season in the best shape of his life.

“I always have the mind-set that I’m going to outwork the competition.

“I felt like I was playing the best football of my career,” he said. “I really felt like I prepared to be a starter. Who knows? That time could still come. I have to be patient and keep working.”

The news that he would be No. 3 on the depth chart hit Haferman like a blitzing linebacker. That’s when he found comfort in talking to his high school sweetheart.

“That was my first call,” he said about Audrey Carr, his girlfriend of five years. “She’s been my biggest supporter.”

Haferman quickly put the news behind him and went back to work.

It’s a long season, and the game of football has more ups and downs than an EKG chart.

Whatever happens, Haferman has his priorities in order. He’s on track to graduate in December with a criminal justice degree, and on the football field he will continue to prepare like a starter whether he is or not.

Duran will be the starter today against Chadron State College, but Haferman will be filled with butterflies just like all of the starters. He’s one play away from taking the field. He has to be ready.

“I’ve really had the mind-set, no matter what happens, whether I’m a starter or backup, I will give it my all,” he said.

Jason Haferman is a good teammate in the ultimate team sport.

He knows he has to be ready if he’s called to once again take the field. Otherwise he will let the team down.

That’s something he never wants to do.


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