Air Force held its fourth spring football practice on Saturday.
It looked like it.
The Falcons lined up in incorrect formations, put the ball on the ground, rolled shotgun snaps to quarterbacks, overthrew passes and jumped offside.
But, as coaches and players know, that’s to be expected early in spring. Especially with such an inexperienced team.
“I think what you’re going to find, especially in the first half of spring, you’re going to take these first seven practices and you’ve got so much teaching that your execution and the speed at which you operate is not where you want it,” Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said. “And yet if it was, you wouldn’t need to practice. We need to practice.”
“That’s obviously going to happen,” Air Force sophomore strong safety Chris Thomas said of the mistakes. “It’s the beginning of the year, we’ve got a lot of young guys and we’re doing a lot of things we haven’t done before.”
- Sophomore Eric Herbort, who entered spring listed as the backup quarterback behind junior Shea Smith, worked with the first-team offense on Saturday.
“He practiced better than Shea did on Friday,” Calhoun said. “That’s something that we evaluate daily, and it’s not just at that position. I think that position probably gains the most attention, but that’s across the board, and it’ll be that way probably until the middle of August – we’re going to have a depth chart that bumps around a good bit.”
- Sophomore tailback Brenton Byrd also entered spring practices listed as a backup, but with Savier Stephens being held out of practice because of a possible hernia, Byrd has gotten a chance to play with the starters.
Byrd has been “much better than he was in the fall,” Calhoun said. “He carries the ball better. I think he just plays more physical than he did in the fall. And part of that is he’s going into his fourth year at the academy. He’ll be a junior, plus he had a year at the prep school.”
Both Calhoun and Thomas said freshman Kyle Lumpkin has had some good moments at tailback.
- Starting Z receiver Ty Paffett did not practice on Saturday. Calhoun did not reveal his injury but said Paffett should be back next week. Starting cornerback Kevin Rivers also didn’t practice. He pulled a hamstring in a track meet last week, Calhoun said.
- Play of the day: A reception of about 20 yards by tight end Steve Shaffer. The freshman was running to his right but reached across his body to snag a pass thrown behind him. Also impressive were a pair of hits, one by Thomas on freshman receiver Brett Skene and one by freshman outside linebacker Mark Mosby on freshman Kyle Halderman.
- Two new coaches on the field Saturday: Chad Hall and Drew Fowler.