As I’ve said in the blog, the only starting spots I really think were up for grabs in the final week of Air Force’s training camp were outside linebacker, cornerback and kicker – and right offensive tackle, as long as left guard is up in the air because of injury. I’d be absolutely shocked if Wes Cobb isn’t the fullback. The same goes for Ben Kopacka at defensive end. David Baska will be the punter. The other starting spots were settled long ago.
So, while we wait to see the depth chart for the Sept. 3 opener against South Dakota (which should be released tomorrow), here’s my final analysis on the open jobs:
Cornerback: Steffon Batts spent most of the past couple weeks with the starters, but Chris Miller was coming on late. Miller, a talented sophomore with some experience, was the safe bet to win the job coming into camp, and made a lot of plays in August. Don’t be surprised if he ends up as the starter in the opener.
Outside linebacker: Even thought Jamil Cooks got a long look late in camp with the starters, Alex Means has a bit more experience. Cooks and Means will play, but if I had to guess, I’d give Means a slight edge for the starting job, but could also see Cooks in the base defense and Means in the nickel package (which would be a fairly even split with how often Air Force uses five defensive backs).
Kicker: I didn’t see any evidence Erik Soderberg had overtaken Parker Herrington to win the placekicking job. Herrington starting the season as Air Force’s kicker would be a bit of an upset, considering Soderberg was very good as a sophomore two years ago, but Herrington seemed to have the lead for much of camp. I’d guess Herrington will kick field goals in the opener and Soderberg will handle kickoffs, but Soderberg does have the experience edge if the coaches want to play it safe.
Right offensive tackle: A quick recap, because it is up in the air going into the season opener. Left guard Jordan Eason’s availability for the season opener is in doubt because of a knee injury. Jeffrey Benson is a candidate to take over there, but he has been working at center. He missed time during camp with a knee injury too. Air Force reshuffled the line with Eason out, and Jerry Henry took most of the reps at right tackle ahead of Alex Huskisson. Neither one has any game experience, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see either on the first team in the opener, if the line remains in flux. I’d give Henry a slight edge just because he has logged more time with the first team.