2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • Recognizing Rembert

    Fri, April 30, 2010 by admin with no comments

    Air Force rising senior cornerback Reggie Rembert was recognized in an article on “Bleacher Report” as a 2010 All-Small American performer.

    Rembert, at 5-foot-8, 185 pounds, certainly qualifies. But his play makes his size irrelevant.

    Rembert was a first-team All-Mountain West Conference performer in 2009. Look for even bigger things from him and the rest of the Air Force secondary in 2010. Rembert’s been named an honorable mention preseason All-American by nationalchamps.net.

  • First Look: Wyoming

    Thu, April 29, 2010 by admin with 1 comment

    This is Part 4 of my “First Look” series, in which I take a quick peek at each of the Air Force football team’s 2010 opponents. We’re going in order, one per week, with this week’s focus on the Wyoming Cowboys.

    Here are links to the First Looks at the Falcons’ first three opponents: Northwestern State, BYU and Oklahoma.

    Dave Christensen (2nd year)
    2009 Record: 7-6 (4-4, 5th place in the MWC)
    2009 vs. AF: Lost, 10-0
    2009 in a Sentence: Wyoming took off once eventual Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year Austyn Carta-Samuels took over at quarterback, and the Cowboys – picked to finish last in the MWC in the preseason – finished 7-6 and won the New Mexico Bowl in Christensen’s first season.
    Off/Def Starters Back: 7/7
    Roster Report: Carta-Samuels, who was recruited by Air Force, will give the Cowboys a dynamic player under center for the next three seasons, barring injury.

    The 6-foot-2, 210-pound quarterback is mobile, can throw with accuracy and makes the Cowboys’ spread attack go. Last season he completed 191-of-326 passes for 1,953 yards, 10 touchdowns and five interceptions and added 366 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Perhaps even more impressive, he showed a penchant for coming through in pressure situations, leading the Cowboys to five come-from-behind victories – over UNLV, 30-27; Florida Atlantic, 30-28; San Diego State, 30-27; Colorado State, 17-16; and Fresno State, 35-28 in double overtime.

    Carta-Samuels will have more weapons surrounding him this season, as Wyoming improved its offensive skill positions in the offseason. Receivers DeJay Lester and Mazi Ogbonna both transferred into Wyoming from Utah’s Snow College where they combined for 67 catches for 1,283 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. They will join senior receiver David Leonard, an honorable mention All-MWC performer in 2009 when he caught 77 passes, and sophomore running back Alvester Alexander. In 2009 Alexander started just four games but led Wyoming with 640 rushing yards, including a career-best 137 against Fresno State in the bowl.

    Christensen also said the Cowboys increased their team speed “drastically” from 2009 and improved their offensive line, which has three starters back. All that should help Carta-Samuels in 2010.

    “We didn’t utilize all of our offense last year,” Christensen said. “I think personnel dictated that a lot, but I think we can start moving toward what we originally envisioned for the spread when we came here. We have better-suited personnel to do what we want to in our offense.

    “We’ll put more of our offense in this season. Part of that is due to Austyn’s growth in his first year, and we’ve also brought more playmakers into our program with these first two recruiting classes.”

    Defensively, the Cowboys will shift from a 3-4 to a 4-3 set.

    “I thought our players adapted well to that,” in the spring, Christensen said.

    Back on defense is inside linebacker Brian Hendricks, who made 116 tackles last season, including a single-game record 23 against the Falcons, and earned second-team All-MWC honors.

    The Cowboys’ secondary should be experienced and very strong. Brothers Marcell and Tashaun Gipson return to man the cornerback positions, and both Wyoming’s starting safeties return as well – senior free safety Chris Prosinski (a second-team All-MWC choice) and sophomore strong safety Shamiel Gary.

    Also back will be sophomore kicker Ian Watts, who made 12-of-15 field goals last season, including game-winners against UNLV, San Diego State and Colorado State, and honorable mention All-MWC punter Austin McCoy.

    Fast Fact: Air Force has won four straight games over the Cowboys. In the three victories under Air Force coach Troy Calhoun, the Cowboys have scored just 15 points and one touchdown.

    What Caught My Eye: The first two-thirds of Wyoming’s schedule. Brutal.

    After opening up against Southern Utah of the Football Championship Subdivision, here’s the Cowboys’ slate (with no bye week): at Texas, Boise State, Air Force, at Toledo, at TCU, Utah, at BYU.

    So the Cowboys face national powers Texas and Boise State, a good Toledo team (it drilled Colorado last season) and the four teams that finished above them in the MWC, all in a seven-week span. Yikes.

    The Air Force-Wyoming game will be really interesting – and it might come down to which team has more left in the tank. The Falcons face BYU and Oklahoma in back-to-back weeks before meeting the Cowboys, while the Cowboys have Texas and Boise State.

    Jake’s Way Too Early Line vs. Air Force: Air Force minus-3.5

    Final Thought: As Air Force sets its sights on breaking into the MWC’s “Big Three” of TCU, BYU and Utah, it needs to watch its back. There are several teams from the bottom half of the league that seem to be on the rise, and chief among them is Wyoming.

    The Cowboys appear to have hit a home run with the hire of Christensen, who managed to implement a high-octane offense while simultaneously bringing the “tough” back to “Cowboy Tough.”

    Air Force has won four straight games over the Cowboys, but all four were physical, tough and tightly contested contests (especially 2007 and 2009). Expect another this season.

  • Hockey: AFA recruit up for top award

    Wed, April 28, 2010 by admin with no comments

    From the NAHL …

    The North American Hockey League (NAHL) announced today its eight nominees — two per division — for the 2010 Junior Player of the Year Award, which is presented annually by USA Hockey to the outstanding American-born player in junior hockey.
    The league’s final nominee will then be submitted to USA Hockey’s blue-ribbon coaches and administrators for consideration, along with candidates from every other USA Hockey-sanctioned junior league.

    Central Division
    Jason Fabian, Forward, Bismarck Bobcats

    In his second season with the Bobcats, Fabian finished ninth overall in league scoring with 58 points (24 goals) in 57 games for the Central Division regular-season champions. The 20-year-old from Roseau, Minn., has committed to the Air Force Academy (Atlantic Hockey) for next season.

  • Broncos Sign Garland

    Mon, April 26, 2010 by admin with 1 comment

    The Denver Broncos have signed Air Force senior nose guard to a free-agent contract.

    Gazette Broncos beat writer Frank Schwab’s article is here.

  • The MWC and the BCS

    Fri, April 23, 2010 by admin with 5 comments

    Mountain West Conference commissioner Craig Thompson took his league’s fight for inclusion in the Bowl Championship Series to Capitol Hill last year in hopes of shaking up the system.

    While perhaps calling even more attention to what most would consider a flawed system, Thompson and the MWC could not take down the BCS.

    But Thompson always noted that – with its on-field performance – the MWC could play its way into the BCS. Last season was the second of a four-year qualifying cycle in which conferences can gain automatic status based on several factors.

    The MWC – at least the top half of the league – is doing pretty well so far. And with two more good seasons (especially if the bottom of the league performs better), the league could force its way into the BCS.

    Andy Staples of SI.com has a really good look at the qualifying factors and how the MWC has performed to date. Find it here.

  • Air Force Lax to Play on Big Stage

    Thu, April 22, 2010 by admin with 3 comments

    Air Force’s lacrosse team will face Eastern College Athletic Conference foe Ohio State on Saturday at Ohio Stadium – the Buckeyes’ famed “Horseshoe.”

    The “Showdown in the Shoe” will take place at 11 a.m. (ET) – just before Ohio State’s spring football game. So the crowd should be huge.

    The Big Ten Network will carry the game live.

    Air Force is 1-10, including 0-4 in the ECAC. But get this – eight of the Falcons’ losses have come by three goals or less, including four by one goal. That’s eight losses by a combined 15 goals.

    Ohio State is 6-6 (2-3).

  • More Football Notes

    Thu, April 22, 2010 by admin with no comments

    The Mountain West Conference’s nine football coaches spoke on a teleconference Wednesday, and I have a monster article with notes from Air Force (specifically concerning the Falcons’ offensive line and linebackers) and other schools (including BYU, Utah, UNLV and Wyoming) that you can find at this link.

    Some additional notes that I didn’t include in the story:

    -Speaking of the Falcons’ offensive, it likely will be even smaller than it appears on paper.

    “They’re not a big group,” Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said. “Last year we had four of our five were less than 255 pounds, and I don’t think this group will be bigger.”

    -I wrote earlier this week about Oklahoma, Air Force’s Week Three opponent, in my “First Look” series. You can see the post by scrolling down. I asked Calhoun Wednesday for his initial thoughts on the Sooners.

    “Incredibly talented program,” he said. “And really, if you looked in history of college football over the last, golly, 70 years – national championships, I mean the whole bit. Great, great football program. And yet we know that’s a long ways off. At least for our players.”

    -I thought this comment from Calhoun succinctly captures his philosophy for his program:

    “When you look at it in general, our approach has always been to commit to recruiting, developing and placing very capable guys on defense, while seeking to become a plus-turnover team with a strong running attack and yet at the same time doing a good job in the kicking game too.”

    -Air Force will play host to BYU on Sept. 11 in the second game – and first league contest – for both squads. And BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall isn’t too excited about where the Falcons fall on his team’s schedule.

    “I don’t like it,” Mendenhall said. “Air Force is a very, very good football team, and the way they execute, the way they compete and the nature of their young men, it’s just a formidable challenge. And normally I like to have an idea of who our team is first to try to tailor our schemes and strategies to try to defend probably what is one of the most difficult opponents in college football. And so to have to play Air Force so early and on the road with some of the questions we have remaining at key positions on our team, it will probably the most difficult task we will have had in playing Air Force maybe in the six years now that I’ve been head coach.”

  • First Look: Oklahoma

    Tue, April 20, 2010 by admin with 2 comments

    This is Part 3 of my “First Look” series, in which I take a quick peek at each of the Air Force football team’s 2010 opponents. We’re going in order, one per week. We’ve looked at Northwestern State, the Division I-AA opponent in the opener, and the Week Two game against BYU. This week we look at the Week Three opponent, mighty Oklahoma.

    Bob Stoops (12th year)
    2009 Record: 8-5 (5-3, third in Big 12 South Division)
    2009 vs. AF: Did not play.
    2009 in a Sentence: Oklahoma lost six starters (five on offense) to season-ending injuries including Sam Bradford, the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner, and could not live up to high hopes despite a dominating defense.
    Off/Def Starters Back: 8/6
    Roster Report: Injuries derailed the Sooners’ 2009 season – on the offensive line alone there were 10 different starters and 10 combinations of starting lineups.

    But those injuries could pay dividends in 2010.

    According to Oklahoma’s spring guide, 23 of the 35 players who started at an offensive or defensive position in 2009 will be back in 2010.

    That includes quarterback Landry Jones. Expected to be Bradford’s understudy in 2009 as a redshirt freshman, he instead was thrust into the lineup, and he started 10 games.

    The experience clearly benefited him. He got better as the season went on, passing for 3,198 yards and 26 touchdowns, and in the spring solidified his spot as the Sooners’ starter. In Oklahoma’s Red-White game, Jones completed 17-of-34 passes for 211 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

    “Of course we didn’t want to lose our (2008) Heisman Trophy winner,” Stoops told The Tulsa World. “But it definitely made Landry a totally different player coming into this spring. … He’s a much more improved and comfortable player having gone through that entire year.”

    Oklahoma will have some talent around Jones in running back DeMarco Murray and receiver Ryan Broyles. Last season Murray rushed for 705 yards and caught 41 passes for another 522 yards, and Broyles tied Oklahoma’s season touchdown receptions record with 15 and set a new record with 86 catches on the season. Also look out for true freshman Kenny Stills, who caught a game-high six passes for 84 yards and a score in the Red-White game.

    Up front, the line lost standout Trent Williams but returns six players who started games last season.

    Defensively, the Sooners lost tackle Gerald McCoy, who is expected to be among the first five players selected in Thursday’s NFL draft, and cornerbacks Dominique Franks and Brian Jackson. But Oklahoma has plenty of pieces back from its 2009 defense that ranked among the top 10 nationally in total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense and pass efficiency defense. Among them are weakside linebacker Travis Lewis, who led the Sooners in tackles in each of his first two seasons, and All-America candidates Jeremy Beal, a defensive end, and Quinton Carter, a safety.

    Fast Fact: Oklahoma owns the longest home winning streak in the nation, having won its last 30 home games. That’s the 19th-longest home field streak ever. The Sooners have won 66 of 68 home games under Stoops.

    What Caught My Eye: Oklahoma appears well-stocked to be a national title contender, but a chink in the armor could be the kicking game. According to The Oklahoman’s Jake Trotter, the Sooners had hoped “their kicking woes would be a thing of the past. But as the spring game proved, place-kicking remains a concern.” Projected starter Patrick O’Hara missed both his attempts from 43 yards in the game.

    Jake’s Way Too Early Line vs. Air Force: Oklahoma minus-20.5. The Sooners will be loaded, as always, and last year’s season-opening loss to BYU of the Mountain West Conference should remove any chance of Oklahoma looking past the Falcons.

    Final Thought: This will be a tremendous challenge for the Falcons. They’re facing a national power on the home field where it has been close to unbeatable in recent seasons. And they meet them a week after what is sure to be a physically and emotionally draining contest against league rival BYU.

    Still, the game offers a great national showcase for a program on the rise. Air Force is getting closer to being the senior- and junior-dominated team that coach Troy Calhoun has wanted. Facing the Sooners in Norman will give the Falcons a glimpse of how they stack up with the nation’s elite programs.

    And remember: Some of the finest moments in Air Force football history have occurred when the Falcons appeared overmatched on paper.

  • Kazlausky Will Coach Falcons in 2011

    Mon, April 19, 2010 by admin with 10 comments

    Maj. Mike Kazlausky has been named interim head baseball coach at Air Force for the 2011 season, according to a release from the academy.

    Kazlausky will replace Mike Hutcheon, who will resign at the end of the season.

    A more detailed story will be available soon at Gazette.com.

  • Watch out for BYU’s Jake Heaps

    Mon, April 19, 2010 by David Ramsey with 3 comments

    A look at BYU’s Jake Heaps and his visit to Falcon Stadium Sept. 11: