You’ve had some time to look at the initial depth chart. Was able to speak with Troy Calhoun about it, and there were a lot of interesting tidbits:
– When a coach goes out of his way to praise a freshman, that has to mean something (and, honestly, it might mean he is sending a message to the other players at the freshman’s position).
Without being asked about him specifically, Calhoun complimented freshman outside linebacker Jamil Cooks, a Sierra High School graduate.
“I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if Jamil Cooks plays a lot at outside linebacker,” Calhoun said.
Cooks is listed as the backup to Andre Morris Jr., but Air Force’s outside linebacker positions are mostly interchangeable. Calhoun said Cooks, who hasn’t been with the second team for most of camp, made a lot of plays in Saturday’s scrimmage to earn his spot on the depth chart.
“We knew that, in due time, he’d be a good football player for us,” Calhoun said. “Out of all our outside linebackers right now, he’s the one guy that I do see a fever and a tenacity every single day.”
– Kyle Halderman is listed as the backup to Kevin Fogler, who plays the outside “X” receiver, and could see time there or at the “Z” receiver, which is more of a wingback on many downs.
“You’re going to see him moving around a little bit,” Calhoun said. “We’ve got to utilize him in a few different ways.”
– Tim Jefferson was the starting quarterback. When asked if Connor Dietz might see some plays in a normal rotation, Calhoun was non-committal.
“Every game is different,” Calhoun said. “We’ll see as we get in the games.”
– Keil Bartholomew is listed as the starting punter, with Ben Cochran second. Calhoun wouldn’t say if Cochran would get a chance to punt on Saturday.
“We’ll see how that goes,” Calhoun said.
– Reggie Rembert is not listed as a kickoff returner, and hasn’t done much of that in camp.
“He has fumbled too much as a kickoff returner,” Calhoun said. “And I think his greatest contribution is as a punt returner and a cover cornerback. It goes back to ‘Let’s find a role where a guy can excel, instead of stretching him out too much.’”
Jonathan Warzeka, Mikel Hunter and Cody Getz are listed as the kickoff returners, but Calhoun said Asher Clark and Jared Tew could also return kickoffs this season.
– Darius Jones was listed ahead of Getz at tailback behind Clark, but the No. 2 tailback spot is too close to call.
“It’s probably either way,” Calhoun said. “I think both those guys will play.”
– P.J. Adeji-Paul, who played cornerback last year, is listed at safety now, and will be the Falcons’ fifth defensive back in nickel packages to start the season.
“You’ve seen the lights come on the last eight days,” Calhoun said about Adeji-Paul.
Starting strong safety Brian Lindsay also could play an outside linebacker-type role in passing situations.
– There was one change from the initial depth chart that was released: at right guard, Kevin Whitt is the backup, not Chase Douglass.
Calhoun said among the third-string players, Daniel Pickett is very close to Josh Freeman at backup tight end, Harry Kehs is not far behind No. 2 nose guard Bradley Connor and at defensive end, and Ben Kopacka could play on running downs while Caleb Konemann could play on passing downs.