Notes from Media Day

Published: July 30, 2008, 11:44 pm, by admin

One thing Air Force coaches can cross off their worry list – whether players would show up to camp in shape.

On Wednesday, the day before the start of preseason practices, the Falcons administered their run test – a set of timed sprints. The results were “Terrific,” according to Air Force coach Troy Calhoun.

With his players spread across the globe during the summer, Calhoun admitted he often thinks about whether they’re working out as hard as they should. The results he saw today tell him they were.

Some other notes from Air Force’s media day:

-Newell at TB?: The team of my youth was the Washington Redskins. I grew up going to games with my father at RFK – site of some of my fondest memories.

Back then, before Danny Snyder turned the Skins into a loathsome bunch of overpriced free agent flops (basically the Yankees without all the titles), the franchise was loveable. Washington had the Hogs, the Fun Bunch and Riggo. And they had a short-yardage package called “Heavy Jumbo.” (Three tight ends – one of whom was a linemen – and a big back).

So what does this have to do with Air Force? Calhoun said Wednesday that he would try using 5-foot-10, 215-pound Todd Newell, the Falcons’ starting fullback, as a tailback in short-yardage situations.

“Just because he’s a big load,” Calhoun said. “A little bit last year, when you look back, there were some times on third-and-1 when maybe we didn’t convert as well as we would have liked. We were still pretty good, but I think we’ve got to be great. Especially at the academy, you just don’t have enough big plays, you don’t hit enough home runs, so I think you’ve got to convert on third-and-1.”

I like it. Newell lining up behind backup fullback Jared Tew (another load at 6-foot and 210 pounds) would be pretty formidable near the goal line. Now we just need a name for that package. I’m open to suggestions.

-Hitting Starts Tuesday: Calhoun said his players would practice in helmets and shorts on Thursday and Friday, add shoulder pads on Saturday and first begin full-contact practices on Tuesday.

-QB Chronicles: Some thoughts from the two leading candidates to replace Shaun Carney (senior Shea Smith and junior Eric Herbort).

Smith on if Calhoun has talked to the QBs about when he plans to name a starter: “He really hasn’t. He just expects us to come play, and he handles the depth chart. He just wants us to come out and compete and do our best.”

Smith on how this fall will be different: “I guess maybe we’ll get some more reps with Herb and I getting a lot of them. I’m just looking forward to getting started. We’ve got a lot of guys that don’t have a ton of experience, so it’s going to be fun to see the team come together a little bit.”

Herbort on whether this year feels different: “I guess there’s a little more anticipation this year, but other than that it’s the same. I’m just going to go out there and try to get as good as I can.”

-That’s it in a Nutshell: I’ll end what’s probably my final pre-preseason post with a quote from Calhoun that I think sums up the Falcons’ 2008 squad:

“Every spot we have is a concern. Now, I can’t tell you if we’ve got many that are really just frets and worries, because I think we’ve got capable kids. I look at a number of spots, we’ve got guys that are pretty good football players. Now, they haven’t played a whole lot of college football. And what we’ve got to do is accelerate and press and fast-forward to get to the point where we are more consistent.”