• Air Force football not likely to see any bonus television money

    Thu, April 17, 2014 by Brent Briggeman with no comments

    So far so good for the many Air Force football fans wishing to keep as many home games as possible in the early afternoon hours on Saturdays.

    The Mountain West announced the remainder of its national television package, and at this point 10 of Air Force’s 12 games will be played on Saturdays, and all but one home game as of now is scheduled to start in the early afternoon.

    The downside to the rather vanilla schedule is that Air Force stands to earn no conference bonus money for nationally televised games (which could be as much at $500,000 for one game), as none of its home games have been picked up by one of the top two ESPN networks or any of the over-the-air networks.

    The announcement on Thursday revealed that Air Force’s road games at Wyoming (Sept. 6) and Utah State (Oct. 11) will be picked up by the ESPN family of networks. Even if those games are bumped up to ESPN or ESPN2, the host schools – not Air Force – would earn the bonus money.

    The Falcons also learned that CBS Sports Network will televise the Sept. 27 home game against Boise State – a 5 p.m. kickoff, so far the only evening start on the Falcons home slate – and the 1:30 p.m. kickoff against Navy on Oct. 4.

    Air Force had previously learned it will play a pair of Friday games – one at San Diego State on the evening of Nov. 21 and the other at home at 1:30 p.m. against ColoradoS tate on Nov. 28, the day after Thanksgiving. Both Friday games will be on CBS Sports Network.

    The Mountain West will give assignments for regional and web-only broadcasts on Root Sports and the Mountain West Network in the coming weeks.

    Only half of Air Force’s games have been assigned television coverage.

    Don’t set all of those Saturday afternoon games in stone just yet, as all times and dates remain subject to change.

    Here’s Air Force’s schedule as it currently stands:

    2014 Air Force Football Schedule

    Day     Date           Opponent (TV)                             Time

    Sat.      Aug. 30      vs. Nicholls State                          TBA

    Sat.      Sept. 6        at Wyoming*(ESPN Net)             TBA

    Sat.      Sept. 13     at Georgia State                            TBA

    Sat.      Sept. 20     OPEN                                             

    Sat.      Sept. 27     vs. Boise State* (CBSSN)             5 p.m.

    Sat.      Oct. 4         vs. Navy (CBSSN)                           1:30 p.m.

    Sat.      Oct. 11       at Utah State*(ESPN Net)            TBA

    Sat.      Oct. 18       vs. New Mexico*                          TBA

    Sat.      Oct. 25       OPEN

    Sat.      Nov. 1         at Army                                          TBA

    Sat.      Nov. 8         at UNLV*                                        TBA

    Sat.      Nov. 15      vs. Nevada*                                   TBA

    Fri.      Nov. 21      at San Diego State* (CBSSN)       6:30 p.m.

    Fri.      Nov. 28      vs. Colorado State* (CBSSN)       1:30 p.m.

    *-Mountain West game

    Times are local to site

    ESPN Net – ESPN Networks

  • Air Force hires basketball assistant from Virginia Tech

    Thu, April 17, 2014 by Brent Briggeman with no comments

    Andy Moore

    Andy Moore

    Former Virginia Tech assistant Andy Moore has joined Air Force as an assistant on coach Dave Pilipovich’s staff.

    Moore, whose hiring became official on Thursday, replaces Silvey Dominguez, who left earlier this month for an assistant position at WashingtonState.

    Moore, 44, has spent two years at Virginia Tech. Before that, he worked on staffs with Pilipovich at Michigan and Eastern Michigan.

    “He really impressed me with his knowledge of the game and interaction with student-athletes,” Pilipovich said. “I feel he is a perfect fit at Air Force.”

    Moore, who has also worked at Bowling Green and California (Pa.) University, was on the Michigan bench for five years – four as an assistant and one as director of basketball operations.

    He is a 1992 graduate of MuskingumCollege, where he was a first-team All-America and Ohio Athletic Conference Player of the Year in 1991-92. He graduated as the school’s all-time leading scorer.

  • Air Force snacks could become more elaborate under NCAA proposal

    Wed, April 16, 2014 by Brent Briggeman with no comments

    An NCAA proposal to allow athletes to receive unlimited meals and snacks would not have as much impact at Air Force as other institutions – but it would still be felt.

    The major change would come for schools with athletes living off campus and receiving meal stipends. For Air Force, all athletes obviously live at the academy and eat in the dining hall.

    The major difference for Air Force would be more substantial and elaborate snacks awaiting cadets in the athletic facilities. As of now, those snacks consist mostly of power bars and bagels without cream cheese. Under Air Force’s interpretation of the proposed changes, specific limitations on those snack options would be lifted.

    Air Force sports information director Troy Garnhart, when told of a freshman football player this past season who was rapidly losing weight and complaining of not enough food being available, said an athlete in that situation would now be able to request and receive more food.

    “We’d be able to take care of him,” Garnhart said.

    The proposal goes before the Division I board of directors on April 24 for approval.

    The new rule is a reaction to Connecticut basketball player Shabazz Napier telling reporters during the NCAA Tournament that he goes to bed “starving.”

  • Air Force grad Hall to hold free football camps for children of military members

    Wed, April 16, 2014 by Brent Briggeman with no comments

    Chad Hall

    Chad Hall

    Air Force graduate Chad Hall has created a non-profit organization called Pigskin Patriots, which will offer free football and cheerleading camps to children of military members ages 5-14.

    The camps will be conducted by NFL players, with the first one scheduled for June 21 at Hill Air Force Base in Utah.

    Hall has spent time with the Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs in a pro career that began after he served two years of active duty in the Air Force. With the Falcons, Hall was the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year and a second-team All-America selection.

    On its website, the camp says it will instruct children “in the fundamentals of football and the fundamentals of cheerleading, while instilling the basic military values of integrity, work ethic, perseverance, and team work.”

    The goal is to hold camps throughout military installations across the United States and overseas from February through July.

    For more information, visit: http://pigskinpatriots.org/about-the-camp/

  • Kamryn Williams named MVP at Air Force basketball banquet

    Sat, April 12, 2014 by Brent Briggeman with no comments

    Kamryn Williams took the Bob Beckel Most Valuable Player award on Saturday night, as Air Force basketball announced its year-end awards at its banquet at the Colorado Springs Marriott.

    The two primary on-court honors, the MVP and the Tim Harris Most Improved award won by Marek Olesinski did not have clear favorites.

    Williams averaged 10.1 points and 6.5 rebounds this past year, the highest rebounding average for a Falcon player since Tom Bellairs in 13 years ago. Williams, a junior co-captain and graduate of Sierra High School in southern Colorado Springs, missed seven games early in the season with a hamstring injury.

    The other leading option for team MVP would have been leading scorer Tre’ Coggins, the sophomore point guard who earned third-team All-Mountain West honors – the only Falcon honored by the conference and the league’s only non junior or senior on the top three teams. Coggins, however, was suspended for three games in the middle of the season and saw his production slip upon returning.

    Olesinski, a junior center, earned most improved honors in a season that saw him average 10.6 points per game after averaging 3.5 points as a sophomore. Olesingki’s rebounding numbers jumped from 1.6 per game as a sophomore reserve to 4.9 as a junior.

    Max Yon also make a strong case for most improved, as he went from sparingly-used sophomore averaging 2.7 points per game to the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.0 points this past year.

    Other awards on Saturday included senior Chase Kammerer taking the team’s top overall honor, the Bob Spear Award, which is given to the cadet-athlete who is most outstanding in all areas at Air Force – academics, athletics and military performance.

    Junior Ethan Michael earned the Cliff Parsons Falcon Award, given to the player that gives 100 percent regardless of their situation and place on the team. Junior Scott Adler took the Rob Marr Sportsmanship Award.

     

    Bob Beckel MVP recepients

    2013-14: Kamryn Williams

    2012-13: Michael Lyons

    2011-12: Michael Lyons

    2010-11: Evan Washington

    2009-10: Evan Washington

    2008-09: Anwar Johnson

    2007-08: Tim Anderson

    2006-07: Jacob Burtschi

    2005-06: Antoine Hood

    2004-05: Nick Welch

    2003-04: A.J. Kuhle

    2002-03: Tim Keller

    2001-02: Lamoni Yazzie

    2000-01: Jarvis Croff

    1999-2000: Jarvis Croff

    1998-99: Tyron Wright

    1997-98: Jarmica Reese

    1996-97: Jarmica Reese

    1995-96: Jarmica Reese

    1994-95: Otis Jones

    1993-94: Otis Jones

    1992-93: George Irvin

    1991-92: Dale French

    1990-91: Chris Lowry

    1989-90: Raymond Dudley

    1988-89: Raymond Dudley

    1987-88: Raymond Dudley

    1986-87: Raymond Dudley

    1985-86: Maurice McDonald

    1984-85: Jon Jordan

    1983-84: Maurice McDonald

    1982-83: Rick Simmons

    1981:82: Rick Simmons

    1980:81: Reggie Jones

    1979-80: Tim Harris

    1978-79: Randy Gricius

    1977-78: Tom Schneeberger

    1976-77: Tom Schneeberger

    1975-76: Randy Gricius

    1974-75: Dan Kraft

    1973-74: Rich Nickelson

    1972-73: Rich Nickelson

    1971-72: Tom Blase

    1970-71: Charlie Brown

    1969-70: Bert Spear

    1968-69: Mike Klindt

    1967-68: Cliff Parsons

    1966-67: Fred Budinger

    1965-66: Ed Sullivan

    1964-65: Sam Peshut

    1963-64: John Judd

    1962-63: Parke Hinman

    1961-62: Bob Schaumberg

    1960-61: Jim Ulm

    1959-60: Jim Ulm

    1958-59: Bob Beckel

  • Air Force football will play a pair of Friday games in 2014

    Thu, April 10, 2014 by Brent Briggeman with no comments

    Air Force will play a pair of Friday football games, as the Mountain West announced its national package of Friday games for the 2014 season.

    The Falcons will play at San DiegoState at 5:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 21 and will host Colorado State at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 28 – the day after Thanksgiving.

    Both games are currently scheduled for the CBS Sports Network, which would not provide Air Force with a national television bonus under the conference structure.

    The Falcons twice played on Friday nights during the 2013 season, in losses at Boise State and New Mexico.

    Coach Troy Calhoun has said he prefers not to play on Fridays, as he feels it should be preserved for high school games. But as a member of a conference the Falcons’ scheduling is not under the team’s control.

    Times for Air Force’s other conference games have not been set, so there is still a chance some could be moved to Thursdays or Saturday nights. The preference for the Falcons, and what seems to be a vocal majority of its fan base, is to keep as many games as possible on Saturday afternoons.

  • Thoughts before Air Force’s MW Tournament opener

    Wed, March 12, 2014 by Brent Briggeman with no comments

    Fresno State is as hot as anyone in the Mountain West, but the guard-dominated team may not be a terrible matchup for Air Force.

    The Falcons are rarely torched from the outside, which is where the Bulldogs get most of their points behind three guards (Tyler Johnson, Cezar Guerrero and Marvelle Harris — the team’s top three scorers).

    This certainly isn’t the team Fresno State figured to have after also heating up at the end of last season. That team stomped Air Force late in the season on the strength of its young post players, most notably 7-footer Robert Upshaw (a top-50 recruit) who has since been dismissed from the team and Kansas transfer Braeden Anderson, who has been sidelined this year after a September auto accident.

    It says a lot about this team and its development that it can reinvent itself on the fly and after a rough stretch where it lost 10 of 12, still be good enough to win 8 of 10 down the stretch.

    “It’s a team on the rise in the conference,” Air Force coach Dave Pilipovich said.

     

    Green light?

    As bad as Air Force has shot of late – failing to shoot better than 42.3 percent in a game since January – Pilipovich refused to rescind the green-light order he issued two weeks ago.

    The green light was an effort to speed up the offense, launch more shots and hopefully get his team thinking and questioning itself a bit less.

    Analyzing the game against BoiseState, Pilipovich saw that the offense worked far better when it took its time, reversed the ball a few times and allowed its motion offense to create easier shots.

    Still, Pilipovich is sticking with the green light.

    “Green light is still there if you’[re open,” he said. “We didn’t turn it to yellow, didn’t turn it to red; it’s still there.”

    Return to Thomas & Mack

    Air Force’s most surprising victory of the season came at UNLV on Jan. 4.

    The Mountain West Tournament marks the Falcons’ return to the Thomas & Mack Center, and this time it won’t face the hostile home crowd.

    “The last time we walked out we were feeling pretty good, we were coinfident and we won. I think it helps the phsyche that we won there.

     

    Coggins only freshman or sophomore honored

    When the Mountain West released its first-, second- and third-team selections on Monday, Air Force sophomore guard Tre’ Coggins was the only non junior or senior on it.

    Coggins was a third-team selection.

    “That’s a great accomplishment not only for him but for our entire team,” Pilipovich said.

     

    Long makes the trip

    Assistant coach Drew Long traveled with Air Force to Las Vegas, the first trip Long has made since the All-Military Classic in early November.

    Shortly after that trip. Long was diagnosed with colorectal cancer and spent more than a month in his native Houston receiving treatment.

  • Who is Air Force basketball’s MVP?

    Wed, March 12, 2014 by Brent Briggeman with no comments

    If you haven’t seen today’s copy of The Gazette, there is a story about Air Force basketball focusing on the team’s ongoing quest to identify a leader.

    This goes hand-in-hand with a question I posed last week on Twitter, asking who is this team’s MVP?

    Most would agree that Tre’ Coggins is this team’s most talented player – and the team certainly went in the tank during his three-game suspension – but is he the MVP? Coggins leads the team with 15.9 ppg, but he has taken by far the most shots with 325 (Max Yon is second at 282 in three more games). Coggins has 32 steals, most on the team, but even as the point guard he does not lead the way in assists (his 68 trail both Justin Hammonds (96) and Yon (75)) and he has committed the most turnovers (72).

    Coggins is the most explosive scorer, but most valuable player? Tough to say.

    Kamryn Williams has been the most consistent performer, particularly on the boards, and, on occasion puts up a game like he did against BoiseState on Saturday when he scored 22 points with 13 rebounds. But Williams is a flighty shooter, making just 3 of his past 15 3s and scored five or fewer points in four conference games. He’s a nice player, but the MVP?

    Max Yon, the team’s second-leading scorer at 12.9 ppg would have to be in the conversation, and he came through huge in overtime against Boise State with seven points in a key victory. Take away Yon’s ability to get to the basket and Air Force would be a far lesser team, and his 125 attempts from the free-throw line (where he’s a 77.6 percent shooter) are 40 more than the second-best on the team.

    Like Eric Decker, Yon is the perfect No. 2 option in an offense. Not many would say he’s the team’s top player, however.

    No one else would register in this conversation. Marek Olesinski is the other double-figure scorer at 10.7 ppg, but he’s been absolutely lost over the past few weeks. He is just 1-of-22 from 3-point range over his past five games.

    Justin Hammonds showed his value in filling in as point guard during Coggins’ suspension. He provides a lot on defense thanks to his length and quickness, is the team’s No. 2 rebounder and is tied for third all-time in shooting percentage at the school at 54.1 percent (138-for-255). He’s tied with none other than Gregg Popovich.

    DeLovell Earls may grow into an MVP candidate next year, but his slow recovery from injury has left him limited this season.

    For a team that lacks a true point guard and a clear-cut best player, it’s no wonder that a true leader has emerged.

    The good news is that everyone but Chase Kammerer figures to be back next year, barring any decisions to leave the school or Hammonds again temporarily dropping basketball to focus on academics. That’s a lot of time for this group to develop and grow into its roles. And if an obvious MVP doesn’t present himself, well, balance isn’t exactly a terrible thing.

  • Calhoun’s rules committee kills one controversial rule, adopts another

    Thu, March 6, 2014 by Brent Briggeman with no comments

    College football rules committee chairman Troy Calhoun said the infamous 10-second rule was shelved because evidence that it would prevent injuries was not conclusive.

    The Air Force coach and his committee were criticized by coaches of fast-paced offenses who felt the rule was written as a strategic crutch to help defenses that hadn’t found an answer to the increase in tempo. The rule would have prevented teams from snapping the ball until 10 seconds had run off the play clock to allow defenses a chance to substitute for tired, potentially injury-prone players.

    The committee had approved the rule, pending a comment period in which it was going to gather data.

    “The bottom line was just from the medical community as a whole, there was nothing that was conclusive,” Calhoun said on Thursday.

    Calhoun said he never wavered in his sincerity for the rule. Had evidence been found that a faster pace of play makes participants more likely to be injured – or worse – he would have supported it.

    “All along I thought that the task and focus was pretty pin-point,” Calhoun said. “Was it a medical and safety concern or not? Or was it conditioning? It’s beyond liability, it’s the responsibility.”

    Controversy may yet find that committee. On Thursday, the group sent for consideration a rule that would implement a 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty for defenders who, after approaching the quarterback unabated, forcibly hit him at or below the knee.

    The rule now enters a 30-day comment period before it will be considered by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel.

    Imagine the game-turning impact of a call that turns a potential sack into a 15-yard penalty on the defense. That one might rile up some fans and coaches.

    “It will really create some, I don’t want to say divisiveness, but there will be some pretty sturdy opinions,” Calhoun said.

    The rule would become void if the passer becomes a runner, either inside or outside the tackle box, or if the defender wraps up the passer in an attempt to make a conventional tackle, or if the defender is not unabated or is blocked or fouled into the passer.

    The committee unanimously recommended the proposal, which originated in a committee of conference commissioners.

    “We have seen how the NFL’s change in this area has impacted behavior and improved the safety of the game for passers,” said Jon Steinbrecher, commissioner of the Mid-American Conference and chair of College Football Officiating. “We view this rule change as essential, and we are pleased that the process allows our direct input and that the committee agreed with this proposal.”

    One rules change that shouldn’t draw much backlash is the reversal of a rule instituted this past season that upheld a 15-yard penalty attached to a targeting call, even when the targeting itself was overturned by replay. The 15 yards would still be taken off if the call had been made in conjunction with a foul such as a late hit out of bounds or roughing the passer, but otherwise it would be canceled along with the ejection of the violating player if that play was overturned.

    “It was just about getting it right,” said Calhoun, who said the rule was originally written as it was because the intent was not to replay target plays immediately, but rather to wait until a dead ball situation – at which point it would have been too late to go back on the 15-yard penalty.

  • More from the Air Force cornerback situation

    Thu, March 6, 2014 by Brent Briggeman with no comments

     If you missed it, check out the story in Friday’s edition of The Gazette about how injuries have impacted Air Force at the cornerback position.

    The interviews for the story went a bit more in-depth than could squeeze into that space, so I thought I’d share a bit of the extras here:

     

    JUSTIN DeCOUD, junior cornerback

    DeCoudOn last year’s scheme, in which teams took advantage of Air Force’s corners playing 5-10 yards off the ball at the snap:

    “Last year was a little different, we had to play off and things like that. I’m definitely looking forward to the way we’re going to play this year and a lot of teams will be surprised.”

    Was it frustrating?

    “It was for me, personally. That’s a tough questions.”

    I get it, you don’t want to throw anyone under the bus.

    “I don’t want to do that, that’s not my thing. I was a little frustrated, yes, because I felt we couldn’t really impact the game because our leverage was so far off. That happened in the past. It’s a new Air Force football and like I said before, I’m looking forward to playing the new defense.”

    I assume the defense was devised like that to prevent the deep ball. It’s no secret that Air Force doesn’t always match up athletically at the skill positions, so my assumption is that in playing off you could at least keep that threat at a minimum. Is that how you saw it?

    “I’m not really worried about the deep balls. We have safeties to help over the top. I’m not saying I’m going to leave it up to the safeties, though. If they want to throw it deep, that’s fine, I’ve just got to get better at throwing deep balls. If I need to adapt to a certain team, I’ll just have to adapt. That’s how football is, that’s how all sports are.”

     

    STEVE RUSS, defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach

    RussOn conducting spring ball with both projected starting cornerbacks, DeCoud and returning starter Gavin McHenry, out with injuries:

    “It’s a good chance to build depth. The bottom line is in football you’ve got to have a next-man-up mentality. Those guys are out there competing for spots and at the end of the day it’s going to be a wide-open competition. That’s how we’re treating everything. These guys are obviously getting great reps and the other guys, by not being out there, are starting to fall behind. We’ve just got to get them out there as soon as possible so they can compete. And I know they want to be.”

     

    JORDAN MAYS, junior cornerback, who was converted from safety last month

    Mays“It’s still their position until I prove myself and earn my spot. If I do that, then that’s the way it goes. There’s going to be more copetition in the fall, but we’re all on the same page with that.”