Air Force coach Troy Calhoun’s name has been mentioned as a candidate for the vacant University of Virginia job, but Calhoun said after this afternoon’s practice that speculation is just that.
Calhoun said he hasn’t had any contact with Virginia.
“The only thing I’m thinking about is here,” Calhoun said. “That’s when we recruit, that’s in all of our game prep, that’s in raising our kids. Everything we do. That’s the only thing we’ve even given consideration to, and that’s the only way we’re going to operate.”
Asked if that meant he’d be at the academy next year, Calhoun said, “I hope so. Absolutely we hope so.”
-In addition to Calhoun, Air Force defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter’s name has begun to circulate as a candidate for vacant jobs. Georgia is one school looking for a new defensive coordinator.
“All I care about is winning our bowl game and getting these guys ready to play in it,” DeRuyter said. “That’s all I care about. … People are going to say what I want. All I care about is these guys and sending these seniors out the right way.”
DeRuyter was outstanding in the 2009 regular season. His defense ranks eighth in the country in scoring defense (15.3 points allowed per game) and ninth in total defense (284.8 yards allowed per game).
-Sophomore quarterbacks Tim Jefferson and Connor Dietz both participated in practice today. More on this in my article, which will appear on-line shortly.
-Dontae Strickland, who had been practicing at cornerback all season, spent some time at slot receiver this afternoon.
“We switched him over in the middle of practice,” Calhoun said of the 5-foot-10, 170-pound freshman from Kansas City. “We’ll see. That’s something we’ve been considering for a long time. … It’s something kind of in the back of our minds, we’ve always wondered do we play him at corner or slot. And I wanted to give him every chance in the world to get into the two-deep at corner, and if we think he can get on the field sooner at receiver, then we’ll move him to wide receiver if he wants to do that.”
-Air Force got just one player on the first-team All-Mountain West Conference squad – junior cornerback Reggie Rembert.
The most notable omission was senior nose guard Ben Garland.
DeRuyter said he was “disappointed, because I really thought Benny probably played the best on our defense this year. … I though he deserved it.”
Calhoun said he thought Garland and MWC Defensive Player of the Year Jerry Hughes of TCU were “clear-cut no-brainers” for the first-team.
Being a nose guard might have hurt Garland, Calhoun said.
“We asked him to do a lot where he had to take on blocks and eat up blocks rather than putting him in positions where he was only going to make tackles to enhance his stats,” Calhoun said. “He’s one of those guys he knew what he needed to do and because of it it helped free up the ‘backers like John Falgout and Justin Moore for those guys to make a ton of tackles and he did that. But as a football player, if you only looked at the football part of it there was no doubt, he should have been a first-team pick. And I think also what happens too is I think sometimes coaches tend a little bit to overlook Air Force players, and I think that might have been the case there.”