2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • New-Look Falcons

    Mon, June 29, 2009 by admin with 6 comments

    Air Force has made some changes to its football uniforms for the 2009 season. I haven’t seen them yet, but I got the details from Dan Siermine, who is in charge of equipment at the academy. It seems one benefit will be players’ numbers will be much easier to read. That’s great news for me way up in the press box.

    Here are the changes:

    Pants: No more silver pants at home. Air Force will wear white pants at home and on the road. There will be a blue lightning bolt outlined in black (about eight inches long) going down the sides of the pants. The bolt will match the bolt on the helmets.

    Jerseys: The Falcons still will wear blue at home, but instead of having silver numbers outlined in white, they will have white numbers outlined in black. On the road, Air Force will wear white jerseys with blue numbers outlined in black (instead of silver outlined in blue).

    I can kind of picture the changes, and I think the unis will look a bit cleaner and the numbers will be sharper. If I get photos, I’ll post them.

  • Phil Steele on the Falcons

    Mon, June 29, 2009 by admin with 2 comments

    I received Phil Steele’s 2009 College Football Preview magazine recently. I think it’s hands down the best and most comprehensive of all the college football preview mags.

    I’m looking forward to going through it line by line, but I’ve already checked out his Mountain West Conference forecast. Steele has Air Force tied for fourth in the league with UNLV and behind, in order from the top, BYU, TCU and defending champ Utah.

    He’s got three Falcons listed in his individual national rankings: Senior Nick Charles is the 30th-ranked guard, senior Chris Thomas is the 40th-ranked strong safety and junior Ken Lamendola is the 56th-ranked inside linebacker.

    Steele puts all three of those guys on his first-team All-MWC squad along with senior defensive tackle Ben Garland. Junior Reggie Rembert made the second team as a cornerback and the third team as a punt returner. Senior tackle Chris Campbell also made the third team. Senior guard Peter Lusk and junior tailback Savier Stephens are honorable mention selections.

    In his unit rankings, Steele places the Air Force offensive line 21st in the country.

  • Tweet, tweet: It’s the Falcons

    Mon, June 29, 2009 by admin with 2 comments

    You can now follow Air Force athletics on the social networking site Facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/GoAirForceFalcons/107749364240), YouTube (www.youtube.com/GoAirForceFalcons) and, yes, Twitter (www.twitter.com/AF_Falcons).

  • Calhoun on the BCS

    Sat, June 27, 2009 by admin with no comments

    The comments Air Force coach Troy Calhoun made on Thursday about the BCS resembling “the old Soviet Presidium” have been getting national attention. I’ve seen them referred to in several publications, including the New York Times.

    I liked this take by Matt Hinton on his Dr. Saturday blog. And I especially liked the poster.

  • Football News and Notes

    Fri, June 26, 2009 by admin with 1 comment

    After a week of writing about baseball, bars and junk food at the College World Series in Omaha, I was able to dive right back into Falcon football yesterday at the Colorado Springs Sports Corp.’s annual football kickoff luncheon.

    Here’s a story I wrote about the luncheon (includes AF coach Troy Calhoun’s must-read comments on the BCS); here is a story that updates AF quarterbacks Tim Jefferson and Asher Clark; and here is David Ramsey’s column on getting a CU-Air Force scheduled.

    Some other notes …

    –As mentioned last week in The Gazette (here), senior-to-be Saj El-Amin, a guard on the basketball team, will attempt to play wide receiver for the football team in the fall. El-Amin played receiver and defensive back in high school and said he’s been toying with the idea of playing football since he was at the prep school.

    So, does he have a chance to contribute?

    “I think there’s a chance,” Calhoun said Thursday. “I think the thing that he’s going to have to do, though, is in the first 10 days, he really, really is going to have to make an impact. He’s got a great attitude, he’s a good worker, he’s an older guy and – you’ve heard me say it – I like playing with guys that are going to be seniors at the academy, just because I think their focus and their attention is different than what it is when they’re freshmen. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out for him.”

    Quarterback Tim Jefferson has thrown the ball around with El-Amin this summer and said Thursday that El-Amin “definitely has the physical tools” to play this year.

    “You look at him, he looks like a football player that’s been playing basketball the last couple years,” Jefferson said. “He still has a little bit of shaping up to do. He can still work on his hands, work on his footwork. But he’s been away from the game for a while, so you can expect that.”

    –Calhoun said he hasn’t yet decided if he would move any of his returners from offense to defense or vice versa.

    “I think there are a couple guys that we may,” he said. “It’s something we’ll decide here over the next four weeks. I don’t think a lot of guys. I think where guys finished in the spring is pretty much where they’re going to play.”

    Calhoun said he wants to get to where his players have ample time to settle in at a position. He said perhaps playing a few positions on one side of the ball would be feasible, but “when you’re flipping guys back and forth from offense to defense, that’s tough.”

    –Calhoun, on Utah’s 13-0 2008 campaign: “One, it’s a huge stamp, again, of the validity of the strength of the (Mountain West) Conference, because you saw in that (Sugar Bowl) game (against Alabama) how they dominated. And yet there were conference games that they had to play that were even closer than what they experienced in the Sugar Bowl. And to their credit, they won every single one of them too.”

    –Calhoun compared TCU, talent-wise, to the Memphis basketball team in that the Horned Frogs simply re-load every year no matter how many blue chip players they lose.

  • Early Football Commitment

    Thu, June 25, 2009 by admin with no comments

    It appears as if Air Force has secured an early verbal commitment for its next recruiting class. The Daily Herald reports fullback Mark Weisman of Stevenson High in Illinois has said he plans to attend the academy.

  • Ramsey on Our Role

    Tue, June 23, 2009 by admin with 2 comments

    Here’s a blog post from Gazette columnist David Ramsey. I found it insightful and right on the mark.

  • Football Commercial

    Tue, June 23, 2009 by admin with 1 comment

    Air Force has produced a new commercial for football tickets. Pretty cool.

    Check it out. (You may have to click it twice for it to load)

  • AFA Adding FieldTurf to Falcon Field

    Mon, June 22, 2009 by admin with 6 comments

    Air Force will install FieldTurf – a state-of-the-art synthetic playing surface – in the infield and outfield at Falcon Field, the academy’s baseball field. Check out a press release about it here.

  • Mainieri on the Falcons

    Mon, June 22, 2009 by admin with 50 comments

    Tonight here in Omaha, Paul Mainieri will coach LSU in the first game of the baseball national championship series.

    On Saturday, however, before the Tigers practiced, Mainieri talked to me about his tenure as Air Force’s head coach (1989-1994). You can read my article about Mainieri and his thoughts on his time at the academy here.

    Here are some other notes that didn’t quite fit in the story:

    –Mainieri said he “loved the Air Force Academy” and “never thought I would leave.

    “Then all of a sudden out of the clear blue one afternoon I got a call from the athletic director at Notre Dame. And growing up a Catholic kid in Miami, Fla., that always dreamed of being the quarterback at Notre Dame, I felt that was something I had to listen to. … But I hated to leave, because I was so in tune with the mission of the institution.”

    –Mainieri said he took pride in the academy’s mission – “to develop leaders that would become the leadership of the United States Air Force. And I felt that that was an awesome responsibility on my part to play a role in their development. And so that was always my focus there.”

    –Ice hockey coach Frank Serratore lets his players go home during winter break to rest and recover for the second half of the season. Even if it causes some players to get rusty in the short term, Serratore thinks it’s beneficial in the long run. Sure has been the last three years.

    Mainieri did something similar at the academy.

    “I used to give the kids off for about four or five days during spring break,” he said. “I used to let them go home right in the middle of the season, just to try to let them re-charge their batteries and get focused for the last six weeks of the season, because they just get worn down.”

    –Mainieri, who said he wished former assistant Mike Kazlausky still was involved with the program, called Kazlausky “probably the toughest, most hard-working, competitive player I ever had in my life. And I’ve coached at LSU and Notre Dame.

    “He was on another level. Toughness – he would refuse to get out of the way of a pitched ball if the ball was coming right at him. He just took it and didn’t flinch. If he hit a home run, he would literally be around the bases before some of the guys got out of the dugout to congratulate him. The most hustling, hard-nosed, tough, competitive player I’ve ever coached.”