• Air Force will have to get ready for two BYU quarterbacks

    Fri, August 27, 2010 by admin with 1 comment

    BYU announced today that both Riley Nelson and highly touted freshman Jake Heaps will play quarterback this season. That’s a pretty big development for Air Force’s Week 2 game.

    “We plan on playing both Riley and Jake at quarterback and feel both will be effective leading our team,” Mendenhall said in the release. “Each is a talented player with a different style, which will pose some difficulties for opposing defenses. Both players are committed to this decision and excited to lead our team.”

    The release said it appears the plan is Nelson, a junior, will start. Nelson is a good runner, while Heaps was a fantastic passer in high school.

    There are challenges for Air Force, preparing for two quarterbacks. Still, rotating quarterbacks is a tricky thing, so it could work in the Falcons’ favor. Either way, this is a pretty big development for one of the Falcons’ biggest games this season – although if BYU plays poorly against Washington in the opener the plan could change by the time the Cougars come to Falcon Stadium.

  • Friday’s daily links

    Fri, August 27, 2010 by admin with no comments

    First off, didn’t write anything on MWC-BYU because there’s really not much to say. Not one person I’ve talked to in two days says anything is imminent (other than there’s a deadline of Sept. 1) and there wasn’t one new report yesterday either. I know there were meetings Thursday, but still waiting on a resolution. I think it’s premature to say anything else.

    Today’s Air Force story was on Rick Ricketts and his intensity, which is pretty legendary around the Falcons. I bet opposing offensive linemen absolutely hate him by the time the game is over. That’s a compliment.

    Little bit on the option offense, and obviously Air Force is featured prominently.

    Around the Mountain West/service academies: Great story by the Salt Lake Tribune, obtaining e-mails that show how the WAC’s excitement over adding BYU died very quickly. … TCU has a good offensive line but it lacks depth. Yeah, sure that’ll ruin them. … This is always fun: coaches talking up lower division opponents. If SDSU really has its hands full with Nicholls State in the opener, they are in a lot of trouble. … New Mexico hopes for some better days on offense. … Utah might be getting some help at linebacker, where injuries have hit hard. … Don’t see many middle linebackers moving to receiver, but Army’s considering it. … Navy’s standout defensive end decided to stay at the start of his junior year.

  • Just in case … practice is called off today

    Thu, August 26, 2010 by admin with 1 comment

    If you were going to go to Air Force practice today, you’re out of luck. None today. And Saturday is closed as well, and the team doesn’t go tomorrow.

    And, that probably concludes the “Practice recap” portion of the blog for 2010. Tough to do that kind of report during the season, because a lot of the information is specific to the opponent and the game plan and isn’t meant for print, or pixels, or whatever you’d call it on the internet. Will still have plenty of daily info on the blog, just not in that form. (Try to be strong, I know you’ll miss the recaps greatly … )

  • Carson Bird looking forward to chasing NFL dream

    Thu, August 26, 2010 by admin with 1 comment

    In the 115-degree heat and 80 percent humidity of Qatar, between 12-hour shifts doing communications support for 8,000 special operators in United States Central Command, Carson Bird worked to stay in shape, keeping in mind a picture he made in first grade.

    “We were asked what we wanted to be when we grow up – I drew a picture of me playing football and wrote ‘I want to be a professional football player,’” Bird, who played defensive back for Air Force from 2004-2007, said in an email. “I don’t think I could have spelled it more wrong but she framed it anyway.”

    When his six-month tour is over and he returns to the United States in October, Bird plans to chase that dream. Pending Air Force’s approval, he wants to work out for NFL teams shortly after his return.

    He said he has received some feedback from some interested NFL teams, and hopes to get a workout when he is in his best football shape. He hopes to sharpen his skills in some competitive flag football leagues in Las Vegas. Even if a tryout doesn’t happen this fall, he hopes to participate in a pro day workout for NFL scouts in March.

    “I’ve stayed extremely active,” Bird wrote. “I’ve always had the itch so I’ve kept myself in the gym non-stop.”

    He found himself with a couple free hours every day so he has been pushing himself hard. He weighs 202 pounds and said he is stronger than he has ever been. He said he followed a workout plan from former Air Force and NFL player Chris Gizzi, who will continue to train Bird through his tryouts.

    Bird and Chad Hall were friends at the academy, and Bird is following Hall’s trail. Hall signed a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles this year and is battling for a roster spot. Bird said Hall, who he still speaks with as often as he can, has inspired him.

    “He truly loves where he is and what he’s doing,” Bird wrote. “I am the same way about ball. I am just waiting for my chance.”

    Bird, who led the Mountain West with six interceptions in 2007, could defer his final three years of service to a six-year term in the reserves if he is able to sign a pro contract. Bird said he thinks he has a good chance to get a shot from a NFL team.

    “All I need is ONE person to decide they should take a chance on me,” he wrote. “I know me – I know my numbers and I know how I can perform.  I know football better than anything in my life … but beyond ALL that – I want this.”

  • Thursday’s daily links

    Thu, August 26, 2010 by admin with 2 comments

    Blog readers got saw this first here, but here it is again – Air Force’s Sept. 11 plans. Really do think they’ve put together some touching tributes that day. And if you follow me on Twitter you heard me say that I can’t believe this game isn’t sold out. I don’t get that, to be honest. Huge game, with the 9/11 tributes as a bonus. Hate to sound like Air Force’s ticket director, but makes no sense to me if this game isn’t sold out.

    Here’s the story on Ben Cochran’s move back to quarterback. Will be interesting to see if he can make a legitimate run at the punting job over the next couple weeks.

    A lot of talk on Twitter about the MWC story, and BYU’s future.

    Really well-written story by Les Carpenter of Yahoo! on Ben Garland, and his impending decision.

    A preview story by USA Today.

    Around the Mountain West/service academies: TCU beat guy Stefan Stevenson predicts a perfect season for the Horned Frogs. I totally agree. … Tight end Eric Peltz will be featured more for Colorado State. … San Diego State isn’t going to get fancy on offense. … Still a QB battle at UNLV. … Skipped over this yesterday, but the BYU QB race is still dead even. I’m pretty surprised, thought Jake Heaps would have won it by now. … B.R. Holbrook is New Mexico’s starting quarterback. … A look at Army’s corners. … Navy is still looking for a punt returner.

  • Practice recap – 8/25

    Wed, August 25, 2010 by admin with no comments

    The Falcons were in the stadium today for a scrimmage, I’ll keep this short (been trying to find out if anything is imminent in the BYU-MWC drama … haven’t been informed that there is – heard there are more discussions slated for Thursday – but we’ll see).

    Practice observation No. 1: Ben Cochran can throw the ball. As I said on Twitter before (story should be posted at Gazette.com soon) – Ben Cochran is no longer a safety. He’s a quarterback, which gives him an opportunity to focus on some special teams duties including giving it an honest run at punter. Troy Calhoun said he won’t be back on defense.

    And I did not expect Cochran to throw it as well as he did. He threw well, on the run, too. Not bad for a guy that just went back to QB this week. I’m sure the coaches would have more confidence in him if the top two got hurt than a freshman.

    Practice observation No. 2: Cornerback Reggie Rembert is coming on a bit. He had an interception today and has been making a lot of plays lately. Nobody was worried about Rembert, but it’s good to see him start to get his hands on the football a lot lately and peak as the season gets closer.

    Practice observation No. 3: Lot of guys were out today, but nothing serious. Safety Jon Davis (groin/hip flexor), running back Asher Clark (hamstring/shoulder) and linebacker Jordan Waiwaiole (ankle) are day to day.

  • Air Force plans emotional “Remembrance Day” ceremonies for Sept. 11 game

    Wed, August 25, 2010 by admin with 2 comments

    When Air Force found out its game on Sept. 11 this year was at Falcon Stadium, the ideas started flowing.

    The Falcons athletics department wanted to have a classy, respectful ceremony before the Sept. 11 game against BYU, and have put together what should be an emotional pregame program.

    According to Dermot Coll, Air Force’s associate AD for external relations, the highlight of the pregame ceremony will be the inclusion of Detective Steve Hayden, a New York Police officer who is on the emergency services unit and also served 23 years in the military, and FDNY firefighter Ken Haskell, whose brothers Tommy and Timmy died in FDNY duty when the World Trade Center towers collapsed. Hayden and Haskell will be honorary game captains, and will meet the team on the Friday before the game.

    The Cadet Wing will march out before the game for the National Anthem, and when they face toward press box, they will be facing Hayden and Haskell, and behind Hayden and Haskell will be a wall of Colorado police officers and firefighters and some Air Force personnel who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. During breaks in the game, the Air Force personnel will be recognized.

    Two flags will fly at Falcon Stadium that day. The first, which will be parachuted into the stadium, will fly over the World Trade Center site in the next few weeks. The other is one that has flown in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will be carried in by an Air Force player, who has yet to be determined, as he leads the team on the field.

    The game itself will be big for the Air Force team, against conference rival BYU, and the Sept. 11 ceremonies should make for a very poignant “Remembrance Day.”

    “We want to remember the sacrifice of that day and honor some people who were there and served since,” Coll said. “It impacted the academy tremendously, that day. It’s something that I think everybody here thinks about every day. We had the chance to remember those who passed away at the Pentagon, Shanksville and New York City, and it was a no brainer for us to say, ‘We have to find a way to honor that.’”

    Air Force, which has not yet sold out the BYU game, has offered $5 tickets to firefighters, police officers, rescue personnel and local military personnel.

  • Hockey: Knowlton, other Falcon foes garner attention

    Wed, August 25, 2010 by admin with no comments

    Colorado Springs area player Patrick Knowlton of Sacred Heart, pictured at left, is featured by Inside College Hockey.

    It’s well-deserved recognition after a big 2009-10 season that included the AHA semifinal game-winner against Air Force. (Sorry to bring it up Falcon fans)

    To learn more about upcoming opponents, try these other recent INCH mini-features including Army’s Mike Hull.

    The Lansing (Mich.) State Journal says Penn State would start its men’s and women’s ice hockey programs in 2014. This could lead to the creation of the Big Ten Conference, which could affect the CCHA (Michigan, Michigan St., Ohio St.) and WCHA (Minnesota, Wisconsin) directly and the Atlantic Hockey Association indirectly.

  • Falcons announce gameday entry requirements, access times

    Wed, August 25, 2010 by admin with no comments

    If you missed it on Air Force’s official site, here’s the list of gameday procedures for fans, including when you can get to Falcon Stadium and what you can bring inside. Here’s the text of the release:

    The Air Force football team opens the 2010 season Saturday, Sept. 4, by hosting Northwestern State at 12 p.m. in Falcon Stadium. Falcon football fans please note the following highlights regarding entry requirements and access times for game day at Falcon Stadium.

    The Academy’s North and South Entrances open at 8 a.m. or four hours prior to kickoff Saturday to allow fans access to Falcon Stadium. Please note that security barriers are installed at both North and South gates which will have the effect of reducing speed and lane changes at the entry gates.  Please proceed through these gates with caution and avoid any lane changes as traffic will be flowing through in all entry lanes.

    As a reminder, Fanfest starts at 9:30 a.m., or two and one-half hours prior to kickoff, in front of the stadium. Parking Lot 3 and gates to Falcon Stadium open at 10 a.m., or two hours before kickoff. Fans are welcome to tailgate in the stadium parking lots prior to the game and for up to three hours after the game’s conclusion.

    Security restrictions for entry to the stadium are in place from last year in regards to water bottles and camera bags. Still cameras and handheld video cameras will be allowed. But flash photography is not permitted. Empty or factory-sealed soft plastic water (water only) bottles, 24 ounces or less will be permitted.

    Items prohibited at Falcon Stadium for the 2010 football season include: alcoholic beverages, food, umbrellas, backpacks of any sort, artificial noisemakers, banners or large signs (no signs larger than 18 x 24 inches), laser pointers, weapons, firearms, fireworks, glass containers, cans, bags larger than 8×11 inches, and any items that cannot be readily inspected.

    The only exceptions to the food and drink prohibition will be for people with certain medical conditions and infants (these must be requested in advance, by contacting Athletic Events Management). Pets other than working service dogs are not permitted. Infant carrier bags and diaper bags are allowed if an infant is present, but the bags will be searched. All hand-carried items will be checked, to include purses, diaper bags, fanny packs, seat cushions, and blankets. Express lines will be available for those spectators entering the stadium with nothing to be searched.

    All patrons entering the stadium are subject to search. Initial visual screening and a pat down will be performed upon entry. Elevated screening procedures may be used, including metal detectors, if the base’s security posture is heightened.

  • Wednesday’s daily links

    Tue, August 24, 2010 by admin with no comments

    Wanted to get the two main news items on the blog yesterday for you all, so the Mountain West/BYU link and the link to the Anthony Wright Jr./Josh Hall injuries are probably anticlimactic.

    Here’s a couple stray thoughts on the Mountain West story (said about all I have to say for the moment on the Wright/Hall issue in yesterday’s practice recap). At this point it seems BYU it a decent bet to leave the conference. Nobody in the Mountain West has said that to me on or off the record, but I think the draw of independence in football will overwhelm everything else. And unless the MWC rewrites its constitution, the other sports won’t be staying in the conference without football. The No. 1 issue now between BYU and the Mountain West is television distribution, and whether the television partners would agree to let BYU simulcast or rebroadcast on its network, or if BYU can work out its own deal with ESPN. Still possible, but the Cougars could do whatever they wish as an independent. But because BYU has been very quiet during most of this process, it’s impossible to know for sure what that school’s officials will do.

    Around the Mountain West/service academies: Wyoming has some young players on the offensive line. … TCU-Oregon State shapes up as maybe the biggest game for the conference this year – a TCU loss and its BCS hopes are almost dead. … Colorado State has a pair of talented outside linebackers. … San Diego State freshman standout Ezell Ruffin went from receiver to running back, now he’s back to receiver and might actually redshirt because of a head injury. … Utah QB Jordan Wynn struggled a bit in practice. … A few freshmen have a chance to play for Navy. … Some practice notes from Army.