2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • Gould: Happy to have Calhoun back

    Fri, December 31, 2010 by admin with no comments

    Lt. Gen. Mike Gould, the superintendent of the Air Force Academy, was as excited as anyone when Troy Calhoun put out a statement earlier this month reaffirming his commitment to the Air Force for next year and beyond. At the Independence Bowl, Gould expressed his gratitude.

    “I gave him a big hug and told him how proud of him I am, and we are at the academy for his commitment, what he stands for and what his players stand for,” Gould said.

    For Gould, Calhoun’s achievements as Air Force’s coach are excellent, but he kept going back to the example Calhoun set for the cadets by staying with the Falcons.

    “It’s marvelous you have a guy who says what he says about commitment, and not just say it but shows it to his players,” Gould said. “It pays great dividends.

    “Troy Calhoun’s commitment is reflected by what you see in our cadets. When they see a guy turn down what he may be worth elsewhere for the commitment he’s made to us, it shines through in the cadets.”

    The football achievements are pretty nice, too. Calhoun won his second bowl game in a row this week, and the 2011 team should be strong. Gould said when the football team is winning, a positive attitude spreads through the academy. He also is hoping for big things next season.

    “We’ve got a lot of guys coming back, and Coach Calhoun’s recruits are maturing,” Gould said. “He has gone through this methodically, and he has a plan.”

  • Air Force loses Broekhuis, gets Bohannon back

    Tue, December 28, 2010 by admin with no comments

    The Falcons will be without center Taylor Broekhuis for the next two games, according to Air Force spokesman Jerry Cross, because of a concussion he suffered on Dec. 25 in practice. Cross said Broekhuis took an elbow to the head, which caused the injury. Broekhuis will miss tonight’s game against Sam Houston State and tomorrow’s game against UTEP in El Paso, Texas.

    Broekhuis is Air Force’s third-leading scorer with 11.4 points per game and the only big man that has played regular minutes, because Air Force has been decimated with injuries on the front line. Broekhuis will have to be reevaluated before he is cleared to return. The Falcons’ first game after their trip to El Paso is Jan. 2 vs. Florida A&M. Cross said the team is optimistic Broekhuis will be able to play.

    Air Force did get some good news – forward Zach Bohannon has been cleared to return from a thumb injury he suffered before the season. The 6-8 Bohannon can immediately pick up some of Broekhuis’ minutes at the Falcons’ post position, although conditioning might be a factor in his first game of the season.

  • Final: Air Force 14, Georgia Tech 7

    Mon, December 27, 2010 by admin with 3 comments

    The biggest play in Air Force’s Independence Bowl win looked like a routine run for Georgia Tech. Luckily for the Falcons, linebacker Patrick Hennessey was one of the few people in the stadium who saw the ball slip out of the pile and pounced on the fumble at the Falcons’ 5-yard line.

    Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington lost the ball just before he hit the ground. Air Force linebacker Austin Niklas stuck his hand in and knocked the ball out of his grasp. Georgia Tech led 7-6 and drove 77 yards on 18 plays before the fumble.

    “At the start of the third quarter, I thought we had the game right where we wanted it if we punch it in and go up 14-6,” Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said.

    Air Force regularly works on forcing fumbles in practice, either by punching the ball out of a back’s hands or stripping the ball from him. Turnovers had been hard to come by most of the year, but the one the Falcons got at its own 5-yard line was one of the biggest plays of their season.

    “That was huge,” defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt said. “Momentum changer. Guys just kept grinding.”

  • You are looking live! Air Force vs. Georgia Tech at the Independence Bowl

    Mon, December 27, 2010 by admin with no comments

    Clear and crisp day here today at the Independence Bowl. Air Force is wearing the Thunderbirds jerseys but the normal helmets (good thing considering the Falcons sold off those helmets as part of a ticket deal).

    We’ll be chatting during the game on Twitter and at Gazette.com. Hope you stop by to join in the conversation.

    Should be a good game today, I wonder how the suspensions will affect Georgia Tech. I wonder if that’s a sign the Yellow Jackets – who played in the Orange Bowl last year – isn’t too excited to be here. We will see over the next few hours.

  • A dog picks Georgia Tech; a human picks Air Force

    Mon, December 27, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    For details from Shreveport:


  • DeRuyter talks about win over Navy, challenge of facing Paul Johnson

    Sun, December 26, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    For details from Shreveport:


  • Catching up with Paul Weatheroy

    Sun, December 26, 2010 by admin with no comments

    Paul Weatheroy, the first recruit Troy Calhoun went to visit and the top tailback recruit of his first class, hasn’t given up hope of making an impact on the field for the Falcons.

    Weatheroy has had three knee surgeries and hasn’t yet played for the Falcons. He has one more year of eligibility and wants to make it. He continues to work out and rehabilitate to get healthy.

    “Football has always been my passion,” Weatheroy said. “It’s hard to let that go.”

    The road has been difficult but Weatheroy won’t give up. He also isn’t putting too much emphasis on playing again. He has his priorities straight (“Academics have always been one of my top priorities,” Weatheroy said) and said that not playing football his first three years at the academy has given him extra time to concentrate on school. Still, it would be nice to play again.

    “I’m not having high expectations, but if it heals great and I’m provided the opportunity, I would give it another shot,” Weatheroy said.

    It would be a pretty impressive comeback story for Weatheroy, who was a great high school player in Oregon.

    “We thought he might be one of the all-time greats at Air Force,” former Falcons defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter said. “It’s unfortunate the injuries got him.”

  • In their words: the postscript to Calhoun’s first recruiting class

    Sun, December 26, 2010 by admin with no comments

    Here’s today’s story on Troy Calhoun’s first recruiting class at Air Force. It’s pretty amazing the group he and the staff assembled in three weeks. There was so much that didn’t make the story, I decided to include some of the best quotes from people talking about Calhoun and the class:

    Paul Weatheroy, Calhoun’s top tailback recruit in 2007: “He was confidence. He came across as well liked and someone not only I liked but my parents liked.

    “It seemed like it was going to be a fresh start. He made it sound exciting.”

    Paul Weatheroy Sr.: “We didn’t know a lot about Calhoun. What really stood out was he was really, really positive. He was positive towards Paul and shooting it to him straight.

    “He came across as he was fighting uphill. He was coming in late. He wanted to be successful and wanted Paul to be a part of that.”

    Tim DeRuyter, former Falcons defensive coordinator: “It’s tough when you had a few down years. That first group, the faith they had in Troy Calhoun and the staff was impressive.”

    Brian Knorr, former Falcons assistant coach: It didn’t take long for parents to see how genuine and loyal he is. Him coming home to the academy, that itself, the trust that a guy came from the NFL to his alma mater brought some excitement to the kids.

    “Here’s a guy who hadn’t been in a service academy coaching but, wow, he had such an in depth view of what it took to succeed at the academy.”

    Jemal Singleton, Air Force running backs coach: “It helped taking a man like Troy Calhoun into a recruit’s home, when he could say ‘I was in the NFL and I came back to Air Force.’”

    Jared Tew, Air Force fullback: “You could tell the staff here, not just Calhoun, you could tell they were just a step up. When I came out here, I learned about it. I thought ‘This is the place for me.’ In that press box, I just got a feeling this is where I should be playing football.”

    Steve Tew, Jared’s father: “We were all excited. It seemed like a great opportunity to have someone (Calhoun) that had a good understanding about what the cadets go through. You could tell when you talked to him, he was going to make it work.”

    Tim Jefferson, Air Force quarterback: “(Calhoun) seemed like a real charming guy. I fell in love with him right from the get go. I noticed how much he cared about his players. There were other places I went where the coaches didn’t seem to care as much.”

    Charlton Warren, Air Force recruiting coordinator and secondary coach: “Troy got in there and was very professional. Never badmouthed anybody, and said ‘This is what we’re going to do.’

    “The thing he was able to impart to families is, ‘I’ve done it. I’m going to be honest, it’s not always roses but it’s a great future and a great career.’”

    Calhoun: “It was 10 degrees (on the first weekend recruits could visit Air Force) and the wind was howling. I remember one night, walking up to the press box on a Saturday night, the first one, I thought ‘There’s no way it can possibly be colder than it is right now. Will any of these kids really come to the Air Force Academy?’ And I was wrong. The next weekend, it was colder.

    “We told them, we need help. We need you to help us build a program. I knew the school inside and out and knew what the academy had to offer a kid. That was the biggest edge you had.

    “I really thought, ‘We’ll get these guys in here, and after a couple years maybe let’s see if there’s a year we can get to a bowl game.’ I thought if we could get to one bowl game, maybe we could build something.

    “On the football part of it, they were rolling the dice a little bit. Had the guts to do it. Made a commitment to do it.”

  • Nesbitt “out,” three Georgia Tech players suspended for first half vs. Air Force

    Sun, December 26, 2010 by admin with no comments

    Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson left no wiggle room for quarterback Joshua Nesbitt to make a last-minute recovery and play against the Falcons in Monday’s Independence Bowl.

    “No, he’s out,” Johnson said.

    Johnson said Nesbitt, the ACC’s all-time leading rusher among quarterbacks, was not cleared medically. He said the Yellow Jackets were not going to use Nesbitt if he wasn’t 100 percent healed from a broken arm.

    Johnson also announced three players will miss the first half of the game for missing curfew: starting defensive end Anthony Egbuniwe, top reserve defensive back Louis Young and backup corner and special-teams member Michael Peterson.

  • Happy holidays … your gift is more bowl links

    Sat, December 25, 2010 by admin with no comments

    If you missed it, here’s the first batch of links of our Independence Bowl coverage. Here’s more (and we have a really fun story coming for tomorrow’s paper on Troy Calhoun’s first recruiting class, that one might be posted www.gazette.com later today. I’ll have some postscripts on that story after it is posted):

    When I wrote Reggie Rembert sounds like a recruiting brochure for Air Force, I wasn’t kidding. Some kids are born to go to a service academy, but many aren’t. Rembert wasn’t. He admits he came to play football. But he has grown to embrace what the academy is about. He has been a fun person to cover this year.

    Some game tidbits from our gameday section.

    Nice for Shaun Carney to be in the neighborhood to take in the game Monday.

    First of all, much thanks to Ramsey, who carried the load the first few days in Shreveport so I could spend Christmas with my wonderful wife and daughter. And I happen to agree with him – Air Force’s biggest edge (strange as it sounds) might be the passing game.

    Pretty clear that Jared Tew is going to play – Ramsey says he needs to avoid fumbles after a long layoff.

    Air Force’s kicker is still undecided. I figured it would be Zack Bell, but Troy Calhoun has always kept the door open to Erik Soderberg reclaiming the job with a good week of practice in Shreveport.

    Quick history lesson from Air Force’s two Independence Bowl appearances in the early 1980s.

    Jon Davis has an ankle injury, but it doesn’t sound serious.