Here are the last few tidbits from Air Force’s spring football practices. For Part 1 of this blog, scroll down.
Demerath Ready: In addition to replacing all five starters on the offensive line, Air Force has to replace its 2009 starter at tight end, Sean Quintana.
But junior Chaz Demerath appears ready to take over the position. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Demerath is by no means a neophyte. He played in 11 games last season, starting two, and caught five passes for 25 yards.
“I’ve been waiting for the chance to get the full role for myself,” Demerath said. “Nothing against (Quintana) or anything like that, but I was ready for my turn.”
Calhoun said Demerath “had a good spring.”
Gardner Garners Rave Reviews: As I noted in my Five Spring Developments, which appeared in the paper, sophomore Ryan Gardner had a very good spring and seems ready to replace the outstanding Ben Garland.
Coaches gave Gardner good marks for his performance in the spring, as did junior defensive end Rick Rickets, the lone returning starter on the defensive line.
“Ryan’s done really well,” Ricketts said. “I think he’s just come into (spring) camp, and he’s really just taken that spot. There’s really no doubt he’ll be the number one guy going into the fall. He’s also helping out the young guys a lot.”
Asked what Gardner does well, Ricketts said:
“He’s not a very big guy, but he’s able to use leverage and get under guys even more than Ben did. He wrestled in high school, and you can really tell that helps him out a lot. Even though he’s really small, he’s been able to man-handle people twice as big – even last year and in the spring.
Jones Impresses: Freshman tailback Darius Jones made one of the most positive impressions in the spring.
He ran hard and broke a handful of big runs in scrimmage situations. And he got a lot of work.
“It was welcome,” Jones said. “I was definitely ready to step up and become a part of this team.”
Jones said the work he did after the 2009 season with strength and conditioning coach Matt McGettigan has helped his core strength and improved his balance, speed and acceleration.
He said in the summer he wanted to continue to work on his speed and cutting ability and also put on some more weight. He’s at about 168 pounds and hopes to add about 10 more.
Jones said he hoped he and fellow freshman tailback Cody Getz can be the change-up for starter Asher Clark.
“Hope to be that one-two punch,” Jones said. “And if Asher gets tired we won’t skip a beat when they put in either one of us.”