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  • Air Force punter Baska follows through on promise, joins baseball team

    Tue, February 21, 2012 by admin with 1 comment

    Air Force punter David Baska’s athleticism is unusual, especially for a punter. Last year, he said he had thought of trying out for the Falcons’ baseball team.

    So it wasn’t a huge surprise that Baska is playing a second sport (his teammates and coaches say he probably could play a third or fourth). Baska appeared for the Falcons against LSU last weekend, throwing a scoreless inning in relief. Baseball sports information director Nick Arseniak said Baska’s velocity was in the high 80s. He also got an at-bat, reaching base and scoring a run.

    Baska will pitch for Air Force, and is also a backup at shortstop and center field. There aren’t many college football punters with that kind of versatility.

  • Former Falcons RB Jake Campbell comes back to Air Force as an assistant coach

    Tue, February 21, 2012 by admin with 3 comments

    Air Force has hired Jake Campbell as an offensive assistant, and the offensive coordinator for the junior varsity team. Campbell is best known at the academy for being one of the best running backs in school history, with 1,000 all-purpose yards as a junior and senior in 1994 and 1995. He was named to The Gazette’s all-decade team of the 1990s.

    Campbell then spent 10 years as an officer in the Air Force, reaching the rank of major, then spent four years as an offensive assistant coach at Division III Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.

  • Could Air Force get to the 4/5 game in the Mountain West tourney?

    Tue, February 21, 2012 by admin with 2 comments

    If Air Force wins its remaining home games against TCU and Colorado State, and the top three teams in the conference finish strong, it’s not out of the question that the Falcons – once 1-7 in the conference – could play in the matchup between the No. 4 and 5 seeds in the conference tournament quarterfinals.

    The 4/5 game is huge this year because the top three of New Mexico, UNLV and San Diego State are clearly the class of the league, and they’ll play the sixth through eighth seeds to open the MW tournament. Avoiding them in the quarterfinals would be big.

    Air Force has won two in a row and even though it is tied for last place at 3-7, it is also only two games out of fourth place. Colorado State and TCU are tied for fourth and fifth at 5-5, and Wyoming is in sixth place at 4-6.

    If the Falcons get to 5-9, fifth place isn’t out of the question. Here’s a look at why, and why the Mountain West seeding situation could become a jumbled mess:

    Colorado State (5-5): The Rams have New Mexico (home), at San Diego State, UNLV (home) and at Air Force remaining. If Air Force can win the season finale, that could possibly be an 0-4 stretch for the Rams.

    TCU (5-5): The Horned Frogs play at Air Force, New Mexico (home), at Wyoming and San Diego State (home) remaining. Again, if New Mexico and San Diego State play to their potential, Wyoming holds serve at home and Air Force wins at home, 0-4 isn’t out of the question.

    Wyoming (4-6): The Cowboys go to San Diego State, then get Boise State (home), TCU (home) and finish at UNLV. That’s probably the easiest schedule of the bottom five teams, but still some potential losses in that slate.

    All of those teams could tie at 5-9 with every team splitting against the other. The second tiebreaker is “best win.” (The third tiebreaker is RPI rankings as of March 3.) Air Force and Colorado State have a win against San Diego State; Wyoming and TCU have a win against UNLV (none of the potential 5-9 teams have beat first-place New Mexico).

    If any of those teams gains a win against one of the top three teams down the stretch, that would change the pecking order. If not, and San Diego State gets the No. 2 seed, that would move Air Force, and perhaps Colorado State as well, to the front of the line in the tiebreaker – and in the Falcons’ best case scenario, that could land them in the game between the fourth and fifth seeds. That’s not out of the realm of possibility for Air Force, and it would make for a much easier path to the Mountain West semifinals.

  • Custons named Mountain West baseball player of the week

    Mon, February 20, 2012 by admin with 4 comments

    Air Force catcher/outfielder Garrett Custons was honored as the Mountain West baseball player of the week after his big weekend in Baton Rouge.

    Custons was 7-of-15, good for a .467 average, with five extra-base hits for Air Force in four games against Alcorn State and LSU. Air Force went 1-3 in those games to start the season. He homered in a loss to No. 8 LSU last Friday.

  • Taylor Stewart could return, Taylor Broekhuis will keep using mask

    Mon, February 20, 2012 by admin with 1 comment

    Air Force senior forward Taylor Stewart is out of a walking boot, running some, and could return this season.

    Falcons coach Dave Pilipovich said Stewart, Air Force’s only senior starter, is “getting closer” to a return from a broken fibula.

    “Probably he best case scenario would be the last week, maybe the last game, to dress,” Pilipovich said.

    Pilipovich said the training staff needs to see Stewart practice for a full week before he can dress for a game. That probably means he is unlikely to play on Feb. 29 at New Mexico, but the March 3 contest against Colorado State – which will be Senior Night – is not out of the question.

    And with Stewart coming along well, Pilipovich expressed optimism about Stewart’s chances of playing in the Mountain West conference tournament. Air Force’s first men’s game at the conference tournament will be March 8.

    “It would be a neat thing for him,” Pilipovich said. “How much can he give you, you don’t know. That’s going to be up to the rehab and how quickly he comes back. But having him there would be great for him.”

    Center Taylor Broekhuis won’t miss any games, but he’ll have to get used to playing with a mask to protect his broken nose. He had a mask on hand, having broken his nose previously in his career, but that doesn’t solve everything, as shown when he went down in pain on the first play of the San Diego State game.

    “The bad part of the mask is, wherever the mask is hit, it’s going to hit the nose,” Pilipovich said. “Then you can go without the mask, and the problem with that is if you get hit in the nose it’s going to hurt more.”

    Pilipovich said the Falcons will limit Broekhuis in practice Monday to prevent him from getting hit. The injury doesn’t affect his breathing, which is positive.

    “It’s just a pain tolerance,” Pilipovich said.

  • Final: Air Force 58, San Diego State 56; Pilipovich takes “giant step” towards permanent job

    Sat, February 18, 2012 by admin with 11 comments

    The Air Force men’s basketball job has seemingly become Dave Pilipovich’s to lose. It would be tough to deny a coach who was given a seven-game regular-season audition, and in the third game happened to pull off the biggest upset in the history of the program.

    Pilipovich became interim coach when Jeff Reynolds was fired on Feb. 8. Athletic director Hans Mueh said he would get a legitimate chance to win the job permanently. He likes Pilipovich’s positive style and respects his basketball knowledge.

    Pilipovich led Air Force to an impressive win at Wyoming, which was just a sign of things to come. When it comes time for Mueh to meet with Pilipovich after the season, Pilipovich might be smart to bring a DVD of Saturday’s 58-56 win over 13th-ranked San Diego State along with his resume.

    “After today, I think it’s a giant step for him,” said guard Michael Lyons, a junior and Air Force’s best player. “Coach P is a great guy. Coach Reynolds was a great guy. Coach P is still a great guy, and we’d like to keep him around. And this goes a long way for him, this win does.”

    The players have supported Pilipovich since Reynolds was fired. They have backed that up by playing hard, and well, for him.

    “We’ve done a couple little things different, and I think the big thing Coach P does is he gives everyone confidence,” junior center Taylor Broekhuis said. “The coaching staff has confidence in what you’re doing, and you’re going to mess up, we know we’re going to mess up, but they can handle that and they’re going to encourage us to get better.

    “I love our coaching staff right now. They’re like family to me. It would be great to have them back for our final year.”

    Mueh didn’t want to discuss the topic on the record after the game. And the situation could change dramatically over the next three weeks. But at this point, hiring Pilipovich makes sense for a few reasons. He has connected with the players, and that’s not insignificant considering almost all of them will be back next year. He is part of the staff that did a good job recruiting under Reynolds, so that won’t be new to him. He has experience, at least as an assistant, having coached for 25-plus years before getting his first shot to run his own program this year. He could seamlessly move into next season, when the Falcons will have a talented senior class and a chance to make a significant improvement. And he has two good wins in three games. Air Force was 1-6 in conference when he took over.

    If Pilipovich is worried about his future, he isn’t letting on. It will be a big story for the Falcons’ program the rest of the season, but he doesn’t want the attention on him. He wants his players to be the focus.

    “It’s not about me,” Pilipovich said. “I’ve told the administration – and they’re great, and the people here are great – whatever happens, happens at the end. And I told the team in the locker room, no matter what, no matter where we are in 10, 15, 20, 30 years from now, they can never take this away from us. This is pretty darn good, guys. This is right there with the biggest moments in your life.

    “It’s just neat, and I’m just floating right now. We’re going to work on Monday, and we’re going to work on Monday and we’ll keep playing and see what happens, and whatever happens happens. But we’re in a great spot. No matter what, we’re in a no-lose situation.”

  • Pregame: Air Force vs. San Diego State; Broekhuis banged up, but will play

    Sat, February 18, 2012 by admin with no comments

    Air Force center Taylor Broekhuis will probably have a new accessory for the game against San Diego State. As a result of a shot to the nose in practice, Broekhuis will wear a clear mask. The Falcons believe the nose is broken, but Broekhuis can and will play through it.

    On the San Diego State side, guard Jamaal Franklin’s status is still up in the air, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. The Aztecs’ leading scorer and rebounder is dressed out but walking gingerly on his injured ankle.

  • Changes to Air Force football coaching staff

    Fri, February 17, 2012 by admin with 2 comments

    A couple of departures forced Air Force to shuffle its coaching staff a bit. Running backs coach Des Kitchings left to N.C. State for the same job, and inside linebackers coach/recruiting coordinator Brad White took a job with the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts as a defensive quality control assistant.

    Jake Moreland has been hired from Western Michigan to coach tight ends. Matt Weikert will coach inside linebackers, John Rudzinski will coach outside linebackers and step in as recruiting coordinator (new defensive coordinator Charlton Warren was recruiting coordinator through last season), and Ben Miller will coach running backs and coordinate special teams.

  • Air Force might be playing a shorthanded San Diego State team on Saturday

    Thu, February 16, 2012 by admin with 2 comments

    Air Force will be going for its first ever win against a team ranked in the top 20 of the Associated Press poll this week when it plays 13th-ranked San Diego State on Saturday, and the Aztecs could be without their leading scorer and rebounder.

    According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, guard Jamaal Franklin is “iffy” with an ankle injury he suffered Wednesday night. Franklin is reportedly on crutches, so he seemingly has a long way to go to play on Saturday. That would be a huge loss for San Diego State. Franklin leads the Aztecs with 16 points per game and also with 7.4 rebounds per game.

  • Michael Lyons shows why Falcons future could be bright, or at least brighter

    Thu, February 16, 2012 by David Ramsey with 1 comment

    For details: