Each Tuesday during the season, Air Force coach Troy Calhoun takes part in a press conference. I’ve included some of his responses to questions he got today below my notes from today’s practice.
-I got a chuckle watching junior strong safety Chris Thomas fling a scout team player to the ground at the end of a play today.
It showed Thomas’ intensity, toughness and love of contact, which I wrote about in the 2007 preseason (check out the article here). It also showed this team is ready to play a real game.
“Game week,” Thomas said. “You’ve got to turn up the heat a little, practice a little harder, be a little more intense.”
-Calhoun has said freshman Asher Clark is a quarterback, first and foremost. But I think it will be hard to keep him off the field at Z receiver. Clark continues to take some snaps lined up as the Z and in the backfield, and he really moves well.
-Defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter told me earlier in the preseason that freshman strong safety Jon Davis has all the tools to be an impact player, but he’s still learning the schemes.
During team drills today, DeRuyter gave him plenty of instruction but also told him to “Turn it loose, stop thinking so much and just play football.”
-No update yet on freshman tailback Paul Weatheroy, who injured his left knee in Monday’s practice. Calhoun said Weatheroy was meeting with team doctors today.
Press Conference Snipets
On surprises in fall camp: “You see some young men that really didn’t even practice on the varsity last year – (sophomore tailback) Kyle Lumpkin never took a varsity practice snap. (Sophomore) Jared Tew, at fullback, never really took one. (Junior) Brenton Byrd, at corner, had never played there, (sophomore) Kevin Fogler at wide receiver, (sophomore) Tyler Schonsheck at guard. So those are guys that are maybe new faces to our program, at least in terms of being varsity players, and yet what has to transform is that it carries forth to Saturdays when it’s time to play.”
On his second season versus his first: “You just don’t have as many guys that have been involved in a college football game. I do think that the guys that we have have been exposed in terms of terminology and checks and things that occur during your system. But this sport, it’s a people-driven sport, and ultimately it’s players that play.”
On how time keeping rule changes will affect Air Force (now, after a runner goes out of bounds – except during the last two minutes of a half – the clock will start on a signal from the ref, rather than when the ball is snapped): “I don’t think it does us. I think probably logistically we’re putting a bit on whether it’s the clock keeper or the back judge to realize at what point in the game. I understand we want to speed the game up a little bit, which that’s quite within reason. Is there another way in a year or two down the road where perhaps you could do it that makes it where it’s consistent throughout the entire course of the game? There probably is. As far as how it will impact us, I don’t think much at all.”