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  • Baseball to take on No. 5 TCU

    Wed, March 24, 2010 by admin with 1 comment

    Air Force’s baseball team is scheduled to open up Mountain West Conference play on Friday against TCU.

    The fifth-ranked Horned Frogs are the highest-ranked opponent the Falcons will have faced since 1999 when they took on top-ranked Rice. The Falcons upset the Owls, 10-5, on May 14, 1999 at Falcon Field before losing the next two games 23-4 and 14-3.

    Air Force (5-16) is coming off a trip to Honolulu where it was swept by Hawai’i in four straight games and has lost 10 of 11 games to Division I opponents. TCU is 16-4.

  • A Shout-Out for the Mountain West Conference

    Wed, March 24, 2010 by admin with 4 comments

    But not in a good way.

    ESPN.com columnist Pat Forde named the winners and losers of the first four days of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

    Not surprisingly, the Mountain West Conference earned “loser” status. Here’s what Forde wrote:

    Loser: Mountain West Conference. Four teams entered, none remains. And neither New Mexico nor BYU came close to winning its second-round game.

    As Gazette columnist David Ramsey pointed out in his blog earlier this week, it’s not the first time the league has fallen flat in The Big Dance. MWC teams are 10-26 all-time, none has moved past the Sweet 16 and only two have made it that far. Yikes.

    All season long we hear MWC coaches tell us how strong the league is and how it doesn’t get the respect it deserves. Forgive us for rolling our eyes when those claims are made next year.

  • Ramsey on upcoming AFA quarterback controversy

    Wed, March 24, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    A quarterback controversy is on the horizon at AFA. And history tells us that’s bad news for AFA football fans:

    http://daveramseysez.freedomblogging.com/

  • Clearing out the Football Notebook – Part 2

    Sun, March 21, 2010 by admin with 3 comments

    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.”

  • Ramsey on MWC’s lackluster performance at NCAA

    Sun, March 21, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    David Ramsey writes about the MWC’s disappointing performance at the NCAA Tournament. This has been the norm for the conference. Vegas masterminds favored Washington, a No. 11 seed, over New Mexico, a No. 3 seed. The MWC gets – and deserves – little respect.

    http://daveramseysez.freedomblogging.com/

  • Air Force-Sacred Heart hockey updates

    Fri, March 19, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Will be providing live updates at end of first period and second period and at end of the game from Air Force-Sacred Heart game from Blue Cross Arena in downtown Rochester, New York.

    Go to:

    http://daveramseysez.freedomblogging.com/wp-admin/

  • Clearing out the Football Notebook – Part 1

    Thu, March 18, 2010 by admin with 1 comment

    Wanted to get a few things into the blog that I had left over in my notebook from Air Force’s spring football sessions, which ended on Tuesday. I’ll post Part 2 tomorrow.

    Wallerstein to lead way: Air Force coaches are expecting big things from sophomore right guard A.J. Wallerstein, the lone offensive lineman with considerable game experience.

    Air Force coach Troy Calhoun noted Wallerstein (at 6-foot-4 and 285 pounds) has “a body that often we don’t have here at the academy.

    “But what he has to go with it is he’s a really, really smart football player who enjoys the heck out of being out there. … He’s just got such a good work ethic, and he’s a guy that loves playing football so much that he’s going to make improvement continually. … He’s got a chance to be a really, really good player.”

    Wallerstein is well on his way. Offensive line coach Clay Hendrix said he revisited the grades linemen were given last year after games and Wallerstein “might have played as well as any of those other guys when he played last year.

    “There were quite a few weeks when he graded the highest. And that’s where we got to the point where he played a third of the time (at guard).”

    Lamendola misses spring: Junior inside linebacker Ken Lamendola, whose 2009 season was cut short by a knee injury suffered against Navy, missed all of spring practice after having another surgery on the knee.

    Calhoun said this week that Lamendola has “still got a ways to go.

    “And it can’t be one of those where, all of a sudden on Aug. 20, it’s abra cadabra and, boy, now I feel perfect. He’s got an awful lot of work ahead of him. Now, he’s a guy that’s dedicated and loves football and knows what has to be done in terms of rehab, but not just in terms of rehab but in terms of physically getting himself fit and ready to crunch noggins.”

    There’s no question Lamendola can play through pain. He played nearly the entire 2008 season – from the second week on – with a separated shoulder and a hernia. Despite those injuries he started every game and made a team-high 118 tackles.

    TJ update: Sophomore quarterback Tim Jefferson was held out of most of spring drills as he was recovering from knee surgery. But he participated in some drills the last few practices, including seven-on-seven passing.

    Calhoun said Jefferson didn’t fall behind significantly because of the time he missed.

    Kons Ahead at Left Tackle: Freshman Jason Kons has established himself as the starter at left tackle heading out of the spring.

    Kons, who attended the prep school, began to get time in practice last season.

    “He’s going to be a really, really good player for us,” Hendrix said. “He just needs to continue to develop. … He has a great work ethic and does well in school.”

  • BYU Survives, Ends Streak

    Thu, March 18, 2010 by admin with no comments

    The Mountain West Conference wanted to earn some respect in the NCAA Tournament this year.

    BYU got the league off to a good start.

    Barely.

    The Cougars beat Florida, 99-92, in double overtime. The Gators had the final possession of regulation and the first overtime but could not hit a game-winner. BYU’s victory ended a seven-game losing streak in the first round of the tournament.

    San Diego State, UNLV and New Mexico all still play today.

  • Thursday Morning Links

    Thu, March 18, 2010 by admin with no comments

    Woke up like a kid on Christmas morning. Gotta love March Madness.

    Speaking of, I e-mailed with some Air Force folks about the tournament. Their thoughts on which teams will make The Final Four are in the post below.

    Also, this is a big Big Dance for the Mountain West Conference. The league has four teams in, and it’s put-up or shut-up time. The coaches all talk about the league deserving more respect. Well, now’s the time to earn it. The MWC is 8-22 all-time in the tourney, and only twice has a team advanced past the opening weekend (and both those teams lost in the Sweet 16). Gotta win some games this year.

    Moving to football, Air Force wrapped up spring practice this week. The Falcons’ top concern was developing their brand-new offensive line. I look at how they did in that department in today’s edition of The Gazette. Also, here are five other developments from the spring.

    I’ll be clearing out my notebook from spring football practices today and tomorrow in the blog. And speaking of football and blogs, Gazette columnist David Ramsey writes in his blog (http://daveramseysez.freedomblogging.com) that he doesn’t like that Florida State is off the Falcons’ schedule.

    Ramsey will be in Rochester covering the Air Force hockey team in the Atlantic Hockey Association semifinals. Here’s a look at the four teams in the semis.

  • Some Final Four Picks

    Wed, March 17, 2010 by admin with 2 comments

    Sent out some e-mails earlier today to some people with ties to Air Force athletics to get their thoughts on The Big Dance, which kicks off tomorrow. Here are some of the responses I got:

    Jim Arthur – Radio play-by-play voice of Falcon football and men’s basketball
    Final Four:
    Kansas (Midwest), Syracuse (West), Kentucky (East), Purdue (South)
    Championship: Kentucky-Syracuse
    Winner: Syracuse
    Comments: Hard to pick against Kentucky in the East.

    Like Syracuse in the West, although they have the toughest road. That’s a tough bracket with Kansas State, Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt and Xavier. K-state could surprise here.

    Like Kansas in the Midwest

    The South is interesting. I don’t see Duke advancing. You could see a low seed like Purdue or even Richmond come out.

    Troy Calhoun – Air Force Football Coach
    Final Four: Kansas (Midwest), Kansas State (West), Kentucky (East), Duke (South)
    Championship: Kansas-Duke
    Winner: Kansas
    Comments: All four teams play excellent defense, and good ball-handling with their guards means very few turnovers, thus hard to beat.

    Kansas has the best blend of enough experience, talent, physical play and athletic off their strong defense to get some easy points off turnovers/transition.

    A.J. Kuhle – University of Denver Assistant and Former Air Force Basketball Player (Class of ’04)
    Final Four: Georgetown (Midwest), Pittsburgh (West), West Virginia (East), Duke (South)
    Championship: Georgetown-Duke
    Winner: Georgetown
    Comments: I think it will be Georgetown over Duke with a score of around 76-69.

    I like the fact that Georgetown has the best center (Greg Monroe) in the tournament, they have an experienced and tough guard with Chris Wright and then they have solid scoring wings in Austin Freeman and Jason Clark. They have been to a Final Four as a program in the last four years, and I generally enjoy watching them play, so why not go with a non favorite.

    Tim Anderson – Former Air Force Basketball Player (Class of ’08)
    Final Four:
    Kansas (Midwest), Kansas State (West), West Virginia (East), Duke (South)
    Winner: Duke
    Comments: The field is open this year. I can see a higher seeded making a run, but it’s too hard to pick which team that will be. I think Duke wins because they’re playing with a lot of confidence right now.

    Andrew Henke – Former Air Force Basketball Player (Class of ’09)
    Final Four: Kansas (Midwest), Syracuse (West), West Virginai (East), Duke (South)
    Championship: Kansas-West Virginia
    Winner: Kansas
    Comments: I always look for Final Four teams to have a couple essential qualities:

    1. A polished floor leader who is experienced, battle tested, and driven.
    2. A big man (or two) who rebound exceptionally well, and bang down low.
    3. A total team effort (offense and defense)… UNITY

    So with that criteria in mind, I chose:

    KANSAS (1. Collins, 2. Aldrich & Morris twins, 3. 6-7 scoring options)

    WEST VIRGINIA (1. Butler, 2. Ebanks & Jones, 3. 63 pts against in Big East, great team D)

    DUKE (1. Scheyer/Singler, 2. Singler & Zoubek, 3. No one else in this region is worth their salt, so Duke wins by default)

    SYRACUSE (1. Rautins & Jardine, 2. 4 Bigs over 5 rebs a game, 3. 7 guys who avg 8 pts or more, and a 9-1 road record)

    Winner: Kansas (Too many good players, Collins is exceptionally good, Aldrich is a total game changer that no other team has, they can play any style of basketball, and most importantly they play as a team, don’t care who scores, and have tons of guys who can put up buckets.  Bill Self has been there before, won a championship, and his players trust and believe in him. I’m going 81-70 in favor of Kansas.)

    Bonus Henke Comments: BYU and UNM make big runs I think. It’s slightly biased, but I think the majority of America still thinks of the Mountain West as a mid-major conference (which is so ridiculous it’s laughable). Those two teams have good coaches, great players, and battled in a tough conference with tough venues. I think BYU beats FSU and KSU, and maybe that Sweet 16 game as well before losing to CUSE. And New Mexico should be playing in the Sweet 16 as well.  And I’m pulling for Richmond to make noise in that weak bracket as well. On to the Final Four!