• Troy Calhoun’s preseason top 25

    Tue, July 31, 2012 by admin with no comments

    Troy Calhoun shared his Top 25 ballot with The Gazette last year (Oklahoma State fans may remember this), and he sent along his preseason poll, noting that there was “no merit earned,” and including a couple of ineligible teams in the footnotes:

    1 Alabama

    2 USC

    3 LSU

    4 Oklahoma

    5 Georgia

    6 Oregon

    7 Michigan

    8 Florida State

    9 South Carolina

    10 Arkansas

    11 West Va

    12 Texas Christian

    13 Wisconsin

    14 Clemson

    15 Michigan State

    16 Texas

    17 Florida

    18 Oklahoma State

    19 Virginia Tech

    20 Notre Dame

    21 Nebraska

    22 Stanford

    23 Kansas State

    24 Boise State

    25 Auburn

    *Ohio St (would be 12th)

    *North Carolina (would be 26th)

    Others receiving consideration: Washington, Georgia Tech, Utah N.C. State, Missouri

  • Here’s the schedule for Air Force’s first two weeks of training camp

    Tue, July 31, 2012 by admin with no comments

    Training camp for the Air Force football team begins on Friday, and practices are open to the public. Through camp, almost all of the practices are on the fields to the west of the Cadet Field House, with a few practices (such as Aug. 11) at Falcon Stadium. Here’s the schedule for the first two weeks:

    Friday, Aug. 3, 2:45 p.m.

    Saturday, Aug. 4, 4 p.m.

    Monday, Aug. 6, 11 a.m.

    Tuesday, Aug. 7, 8:30 a.m.

    Wednesday, Aug. 8, 9:15 a.m.

    Thursday, Aug. 9, 3:45 p.m.

    Friday, Aug. 10, 3:45 p.m.

    Saturday, Aug. 11, 10 a.m. (Falcon Stadium/Kid’s Day)

  • DeRuyter’s Air Force past will shape his coaching philosophies

    Wed, July 25, 2012 by admin with 1 comment

    Tim DeRuyter didn’t look like he was enjoying Mountain West Media Days – “enjoy” probably isn’t the correct term for the carousel of more than a dozen interviews each coach does – but the new Fresno State coach certainly was in his element.

    He answered every question with enthusiasm, coming off as if he had been preparing for this day for years, just as he prepared for every other step of being a new coach.

    DeRuyter has been getting ready for this moment for a while. For example, a few years ago he started writing down a list of coaching friends who he thought would fit well on his first staff, if he ever got his chance. And a lot of DeRuyter’s ideas and ideals as a head coach were influenced by his time at Air Force, first as a player and cadet, and later as an assistant coach for the Falcons.

    He wants to run a spread, uptempo offense, which won’t remind anyone of Fisher DeBerry’s offense, but DeRuyter said he took plenty of lessons from playing under DeBerry and being on his staff.

    “The thing from Fisher DeBerry was his integrity, and energy,” DeRuyter said. “He has as much energy as any coach I’ve been around and he brought that to the practice field every day. As a player you’d laugh at him watching him roll on the grass and do things, but he kept it fresh for the players.”

    He also mentioned current Air Force coach Troy Calhoun as an influence. DeRuyter was on his staff for Calhoun’s first three years as head coach of the Falcons.

    “You talk about a guy that’s extremely cerebral and above reproach integrity wise,” DeRuyter said. “You see a guy who does things the right way every day, and you hope to approach that.”

    And simply being an Air Force alum, DeRuyter learned leadership lessons he can take to his first head coaching job. He seems prepared to recruit a certain type of player that will fit well with his vision of the program.

    “You see at the Air Force where maybe that guy is a little bigger and faster, but his integrity is not right there – going out and being able to beat those guys with players whose integrity meter is off the charts but their measurables aren’t, it gives you a little more faith as a football coach,” DeRuyter said. “If you ask guys on our staff, their first question better be ‘What kind of character is this guy?’ If he’s not the right character, he’s not going to be a part of our program.”

  • Depth chart notes: Defense

    Tue, July 24, 2012 by admin with 2 comments

    Here’s part two of Troy Calhoun’s views on his personnel going into camp, which will deal now with the defense (and has a few surprises):

    Defensive line: Calhoun listed his three starters entering camp as Joseph Champaign, Nick DeJulio and Cody Miller. That leaves out Nick Fitzgerald, who started seven games last year as a freshman and did pretty well. But Calhoun praised the consistency of the top three in spring. He did say Fitzgerald got stronger in his upper body, which Calhoun said he needed to do. I’d assume Fitzgerald reemerges in the starting lineup at some point in August.

    Linebacker: Alex Means is a given at one outside linebacker spot. At the other, Stephan Atrice is the leader, ahead of Jamil Cooks. Cooks is the talented junior who has gotten a lot of playing time the last couple years. He has a lot of upside, but he will be behind Means and Atrice to start camp.

    “They were consistent in the spring,” Calhoun said.

    At inside linebacker, James Chambers and Josh Kusan are the leaders. Austin Niklas, a senior who has played a lot, is also in the mix.

    Defensive backs: Cornerback is set going into camp, with Chris Miller at one spot and Steffon Batts at the other. Safety is a lot more muddled.

    Anthony Wooding had eight starts at safety last year, but Calhoun is not listing him as a starter. Brian Lindsay (who lost his job to Wooding early last season) and sophomore Christian Spears are on top of the depth chart, for now at least.

    “I thought they were the two best safeties in the spring, as far as being there every day,” Calhoun said.

    Wooding missed some time in spring practice due to injuries, which is an easy way to get in Calhoun’s doghouse. He’s another player who seems too talented to be a reserve when the games start, but Spears has the free safety job for now. Also, don’t forget Vanderbilt transfer Jay Fullam. He missed all of spring due to shoulder surgery.

  • Depth chart notes: Offense

    Tue, July 24, 2012 by admin with 11 comments

    Here at Mountain West Media Days, Air Force coach Troy Calhoun gave a rundown of his team heading into training camp, which starts on Aug. 3. There were some interesting personnel developments, and I’ll break it up into offense and defense.

    Quarterback: No surprises here, Connor Dietz is the guy. But Calhoun did note that Dietz threw the ball “really well” in the spring – which is the biggest question on him coming into camp.

    “He’s made quite a bit of improvement in the last three years as a passer,” Calhoun said.

    Calhoun said whether the offense will be as balanced as it has been the past couple years will depend on if the receivers develop, which we’ll touch on in a moment.

    Running back: The move of Wes Cobb to tailback, something Air Force did in the spring, is official. He will start camp there. Mike DeWitt will be the starting fullback. Calhoun singled out DeWitt for getting in great shape during the offseason and said he thinks DeWitt can be even better this season. Depth at tailback is a potential problem, however.

    Cody Getz, who is coming off a knee injury suffered late last season that kept him out most of spring practice, will start camp as the primary backup at tailback. Fullback is pretty well set, with Scott Day and Broam Hart backing up DeWitt (that’s one reason the Falcons could move Cobb to tailback), but tailback depth is something worth watching.

    “That is an area you say could be a tad thin,” Calhoun said.

    Calhoun said perhaps a freshman or sophomore could emerge behind Cobb.

    Wide receiver: The Falcons are replacing Jonathan Warzeka and Zack Kauth, two productive receivers, and this is an area that Calhoun has some concern about. Ty MacArthur had an impressive spring and is one starter, though he has to stay healthy. At the other receiver spot, Calhoun said Dontae Strickland has taken the lead for the starting spot. Others like Mikel Hunter and Brandon Hirneise have experience but Calhoun wants to see them have a good camp. Right now, he’s unsure about the depth at the position.

    “That’s what we’re going to find out in August,” he said.

    At tight end, Calhoun said Austin Briehl will enter camp as the starter.

    Offensive line: The Falcons feel pretty good about this group. Left tackle Jason Kons and left guard Jordan Eason are two of the Falcons’ three returning starters on offense. Center Michael Husar, right guard Drew Kerber and right tackle Alex Huskisson played well in the spring to enter camp as starters, and tackle Evan Kaufman was singled out as a top backup by Calhoun. With a lot of uncertainty going into camp, the line is pretty well set.

    Specialists: The Falcons obviously feel good about preseason all-conference pick Parker Herrington at kicker. But punter?

    “Nobody emerged in the spring,” Calhoun said.

    And long snapper?

    “You got any eligibility left?” Calhoun said.

    David Baska, Air Force’s punter last season, and Will Conant will battle for that job. Calhoun said the snapping job is wide open.

  • Air Force picked to finish sixth in Mountain West; Means and Herrington named preseason all-conference

    Tue, July 24, 2012 by admin with 4 comments

    Air Force’s lack of experience returning was reflected in the Mountain West preseason poll, released this morning at the conference’s media days.

    The Falcons are picked to finish sixth in the league, in a vote of league media. Air Force is replacing at least 16 starters, eight on both sides of the ball. The only time Air Force has been picked to finish lower in the league was in 2007, Troy Calhoun’s first season as coach, when it was picked to finish seventh. Air Force finished second that season. Boise State was picked to finish first this season, grabbing 27 of 30 first-place votes.

    Air Force had two players on the Mountain West preseason all-conference team: outside linebacker Alex Means and kicker Parker Herrington. Means led the Falcons with six sacks last year. Herrington hit 83.3 percent of his field goals last season to lead the league.

    Predicted order of finish (first place votes in parentheses):

    1. Boise State (27)

    2. Nevada

    3. Fresno State (2)

    4. Wyoming

    5. San Diego (1)

    6. Air Force

    7. Hawaii

    8. Colorado State

    9. UNLV

    10. New Mexico

  • Air Force checks in at No. 49 on Pre-Snap Read, ahead of Navy and Army

    Mon, July 23, 2012 by admin with 3 comments

    There are roughly a thousand college football previews, whether it’s magazines or web sites, but one that stands out is the site Pre-Snap Read. They are counting down their rankings, and Air Force came in at No. 49.

    The writer, Paul Myerberg, was high on the Falcons last year, and puts a lot of the blame for the disappointing season on injuries. He acknowledges the turnover with a lot of graduating starters, but thinks Air Force can handle that to have a solid season.

    “(T)hanks to a fairly easy schedule and the projected progression from last year’s reserves, the Falcons should win seven or eight games before making a program-record sixth straight bowl appearance,” the site proclaims.

    He also has Air Force ahead of service academy rivals Navy (No. 60), and Army (No. 88). Considering Air Force gets Navy at home, Myerberg seems to like the Falcons’ chances of winning another Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy (though I do think Army is underrated here and will present a significant challenge to both Air Force and Navy).

    As a reminder, the season is approaching and starting tomorrow I’ll be covering Mountain West Media Days in Las Vegas. Check me out on Twitter and keep checking the blog for a lot of updates over the next couple days, including the all-conference preseason team and where Air Force is picked to finish in the league this year.

  • Air Force’s 2012 football schedule poster

    Thu, July 12, 2012 by admin with 18 comments

    Little different look from the Falcons for their schedule poster this year – I’m sure you guys will leave comments below on what you think of it.

     

     

  • Some follow ups to Air Force future football scheduling, including date for 2013 Notre Dame game

    Thu, July 12, 2012 by admin with 3 comments

    Had some follow-up questions from folks on my story of Air Force future football scheduling, including @fbschedules on Twitter, who runs a comprehensive scheduling website. So I asked Air Force senior associate athletic director Jim Trego and got some answers:

    - Air Force’s game at Falcon Stadium vs. Notre Dame will be Oct. 26, 2013, not in late September as indicated in the story.

    - There is no BYU nonconference series planned in the near future.

    - Air Force had agreed to a series with Cincinnati, but Trego said Cincinnati approached him about canceling and “that is probably the direction we will go.” Paperwork hasn’t been worked out to end that series yet, however.

     

  • Parker Herrington named to Lou Groza Award watch list

    Wed, July 11, 2012 by admin with no comments

    Air Force kicker Parker Herrington, who was one of the Falcons’ most pleasant surprises last season, was one of 30 college kickers named to the Lou Groza Award watch list. The award is given to the top kicker in the nation.

    Herrington is the only Mountain West kicker on the list. It won’t be a surprise if Herrington is on the all-Mountain West preseason team when it is announced in two weeks at MW Media Days. Herrington hit 83.3 percent of his field goals last season, which led the conference.