Although Air Force made it through spring practice without many issues, a few linger. The good news is no player had any academic concerns, according to coach Troy Calhoun, at least through the spring semester.
“Very, very encouraging, when you look at the curriculum these guys take,” Calhoun said at the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation’s Football Kickoff Luncheon.
There are some lingering injuries. Linebacker Ken Lamendola was slow to return this spring after missing about a year and a half due to knee and ankle surgeries. Calhoun said he would have to see in August how Lamendola looks. Center Michael Hester missed some time in the spring, but Calhoun said he should be fine. Defensive end Ben Kopacka, who missed most of last season with a knee injury, should be healthy for camp, Calhoun said.
Safety Brian Lindsay, who began last year as a starter, missed most of the season with a shoulder injury, and was limited in the spring even though he returned for the bowl game. Lindsay was listed as a second-team safety on the post-spring depth chart, and Calhoun was evasive when asked if he was going to be healthy for the start of training camp in August.
“We’re going to find out,” Calhoun said. “That’s a TBA.”
- Freshmen reported for basic training last week, and Calhoun wouldn’t pinpoint if any of his football recruits didn’t report, but said none have left yet.
“Right now, there’s a good chunk of their time where they’re miserable,” Calhoun said. “But there’s a moment here or there where they realize what they’re doing is special.”
- Although new Colorado coach Jon Embree hasn’t been in the state for a while, he is well aware of what Calhoun has done at Air Force and praised him.
“I think the world of Troy,” Embree said. “I have a great relationship with Gary Kubiak and Mike (Shanahan) and I know how they feel about him. I’ve watched him from afar and what he’s done at the academy.”
- Colorado and Air Force hasn’t played a football game against each other in almost four decades (Embree avoided the question when asked if CU would be interested in scheduling Air Force) and it doesn’t sound like Northern Colorado will be on the Falcons’ schedule either.
New Bears coach Earnest Collins, when asked if he would like to play each of the in-state FBS teams to help raise the profile of UNC, joked that he might not want to schedule Air Force – which generally hosts a FCS team during Parents Weekend. Although the remark was said with a laugh, the same reason many schools have for not wanting to put Air Force on the schedule was on Collins’ mind as well.
“I said that as a joke, but Air Force is such a unique style of football and most teams don’t run the option anymore so it’s hard to prepare for it,” Collins said. “You spend all that time preparing for it and nothing really crosses over. It was kind of a joke, but that’s why most people don’t want to play Air Force, because you have to prepare for the option.”