PORTLAND -- Portland State head football coach Nigel Burton always knew Kyle Loomis could punt.
"I was a part of those teams back then," the coach said of the Oregon State team Loomis played on in 2006 when he was named a 3rd team All-American as a freshman. "We always knew Kyle's potential back then."
Perhaps Kyle didn't know his potential? Or maybe he didn't care to reach it? More: Kyle Loomis scout.com OSU days
Burned out on football after his one and only season in Corvallis, Loomis left the Oregon State program and enlisted in the United States Army.
"I was 20 when I joined, so I basically just grew up, learned to get with the program," Loomis said of his military experience.
Kyle never reached his potential in the Army, or at least wasn't able to reach his goals, as he was honorably discharged after 2 1/2 years due to multiple ankle surgeries.
"I couldn't really do what I joined the Army to do," the Roseburg native said somewhat dejectedly. "My body didn't allow me to do what I wanted to do."
Loomis was hoping to be involved in infantry and special operations.
When that didn't pan out, the Roseburg high school grad returned to Southern Oregon and began sharing his knowledge of punting the football with a high school player.
"I hadn't kicked a football more than once or twice in 5 or 6 years," he said. "But all of a sudden it started to click a little bit and I was like 'alright, I can still do this.'"
Burton had no doubt about Kyle's ability. He needed to see something else upon learning of Loomis's interest in joining the team.
"I just wanted to make sure he was committed to the concept of team, and with his background and training he bought into in the military, it was an easy deal."
Now Loomis appears set to regain that freshman form which saw him average better than 41 yards per punt.
Injuries prevented him from finishing the job in the Army. But in an odd twist of fate, those injuries may be the reason he finishes a college career that never really had a chance to start.
"Exactly, get my degree and help this football team as much as possible." Nigel Burton's hopes of winning the battle of field position just improved.
Thanks to a punter who knows what it means to be in battle.