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  • Tough day for Air Force alums: Garland and Hall released

    Fri, August 31, 2012 by admin with 1 comment

    NFL cutdown day was Friday, and former Air Force receiver Chad Hall and defensive tackle Ben Garland were released by the Eagles and Broncos, respectively.

    The Eagles announced their cuts on Friday. A source, who didn’t want to be identified because the Broncos haven’t yet announced their cuts, said Garland was let go as well. Both players have practice squad eligibility and could be brought back in that capacity by their respective teams.

    Hall has been added to the Eagles roster in midseason each of the past two years, appearing in 15 games total. Garland, who recently completed his two-year commitment and joined the Broncos full time this year as part of the Palace Chase program, has yet to appear in a NFL regular season game.

  • Air Force ready for foray into streaming football video

    Fri, August 31, 2012 by admin with 8 comments

    While Air Force was hoping to get all 12 of its football games on television this year, getting only 11 on did provide an opportunity.

    Air Force will stream Saturday’s game against Idaho State live on www.goairforcefalcons.com, which will give the academy a chance to try out a new medium for its football games. The broadcast will be free and the academy is hoping for no major glitches.

    With a big help from KVOR play-by-play man Jim Arthur, who has been a big part of bringing the radio feed to the internet broadcast, the Falcons think they are ready for the new adventure into online broadcasting. There was a test run at the stadium during last Saturday’s practice, which went well.

    “At this point we have not encountered any major issues,” associate athletic director of communications Troy Garnhart said.

    Air Force has streamed other sports on its website, but nothing as large as a home football game. Air Force has no idea how many people will tune in online, but Garnhart said the academy expects the number to be in the thousands.

  • Alex Means knows what Air Force’s freshmen will be feeling on Saturday

    Thu, August 30, 2012 by admin with no comments

    Air Force has had one freshman start the season opener on defense since 1981, and that was current senior Alex Means. This Saturday against Idaho State, freshman Alexander Hansen might start at defensive end. Even if he doesn’t start, he’ll likely get some playing time. So will freshmen like linebacker Connor Healy and cornerback Gavin McHenry. If the Falcons blow out Idaho State, which went 2-9 last year in the Football Championship Subdivision, many freshmen will make their college football debuts.

    Means knows better than anyone on the roster how difficult that first game can be for a freshman.

    “It was difficult,” Means said. “I remember that whole week leading up to it, with the rigors of the academy and trying to deal with all of that and then school and trying to focus on a football game – I had a week where I was nervous. When Thursday and Friday came and I said, ‘This is nothing, this is just another football game,’ and tried to tell myself I wasn’t nervous.

    “I remember on the field,  running out I was like, ‘I belong here, I can do this.’ And then the nerves caught up on that first play. I don’t think I took a step. The play ran right by me. I didn’t move once. Then I remember Kenny (Lamendola) came up and smacked me on the head and said, ‘Hey, it’s just football, let’s go.’ And that’s what we’ve been trying to tell the younger guys: ‘Listen, you’re young and you may not start but you’re going to be getting reps, and don’t be nervous. I was there, I understand that position. You get a little cottonmouth the night before. You might get nervous thinking this is different, but it’s just football. You play the game you grew up loving since fourth grade. Just play.’ Us as older guys try to help them out with that.”

  • Air Force releases depth chart

    Mon, August 27, 2012 by admin with no comments

    As always, take it for what it’s worth, but Air Force released a depth chart for the first time this season, and it lists five starting spots as being up for grabs. Here it is, with the starter listed and the backup in parentheses:

    OFFENSE

    QB: Connor Dietz (Kale Pearson OR Tucker Tipton)

    RB: Wes Cobb OR Cody Getz OR Jon Lee

    FB: Mike DeWitt (Broam Hart)

    WR: Ty MacArthur (Colton Huntsman)

    WR: Chris Jordan (Dontae Strickland)

    TE: Austin Briehl (Marcus Hendricks)

    LT: Jason Kons (Evan Kaufman)

    LG: Drew Kerber (David Lore)

    C: Michael Husar (Austin Hayes)

    RG: Jordan Eason (Moshood Adeniji)

    RT: Alex Huskisson (Jerry Henry)

    DEFENSE

    DE: Joseph Champaign (Riley Cannon)

    NG: Cody Miller OR Nick DeJulio

    DE: Nick Fitzgerald OR Alexander Hansen

    OLB: Alex Means (Miles Fisher)

    ILB: Austin Niklas (Connor Healy)

    ILB: Josh Kusan (James Chambers)

    OLB: Jared Jones OR Steven Sumpter

    CB: Chris Miller (Gavin McHenry)

    SS: Brian Lindsay

    FS: Christian Spears OR Anthony LaCoste

    CB: Steffon Batts (Gavin McHenry)

    SPECIAL TEAMS

    K: Parker Herrington FG/PAT (Briceton Cannada kickoffs)

    P: David Baska (Zach Hoffmann

    LS: Harrison Elliott (Kevin Carrington)

    Holder: Tucker Tipton (David Baska)

    PR: Cody Getz (Ty MacArthur)

    KOR: Anthony LaCoste OR Ty MacArthur

     

    Some notes:

    - Alexander Hansen would be just the second freshman since 1981, joining Alex Means, to start on Air Force’s defense in the season opener if he wins the job.

    - This is a young team. Of the 44 players listed on the offense or defense two deep, only 18 are seniors.

    - The roster doesn’t reflect every player in the program. There were seven freshmen listed on this year’s opening day roster, compared to just two last year. The freshmen listed on the varsity roster are: defensive back Dexter Walker, linebacker Connor Healy, quarterback Dano Graves, cornerback Gavin McHenry, linebacker Reggie Barnes, tight end Garrett Griffin and Hansen.

    - That Graves was listed on the roster and fellow freshman quarterback Jaleel Awini wasn’t shows that Graves is ahead on the program’s depth chart. Awini lined up a little bit at receiver on Monday in practice but Calhoun said Awini is still a quarterback for the long haul.

    - Players like receiver Drew Coleman and outside linebacker Stephan Atrice aren’t listed on the depth chart because they missed most of camp with injuries. They could move up the depth chart quickly now that they’re back.

  • ESPN and CBS project Air Force’s bowl streak to end

    Mon, August 27, 2012 by admin with 22 comments

    At least Air Force doesn’t have to worry about bloated expectations this year. ESPN.com and CBSSports.com each have put out their bowl projections, and Air Force is not listed on either of them. There are 35 bowls, so just about every team with a winning record should be invited to the postseason. So it’s clear the national media doesn’t figure that Air Force will be much of a factor this season.

    That happens when a team loses 16 starters, and has five other potential key contributors are dropped from the team before training camp, which is the situation the Falcons are facing. ESPN.com had two of its writers do bowl projections, and Air Force didn’t make either list (though Army and Navy made both). CBSSports.com’s list was done by Jerry Palm, a noted and respected numbers guru.

    An easy schedule won’t hurt the Falcons’ quest for bowl eligibility, and Air Force probably wouldn’t get left out if it is eligible because it sells a lot of tickets. The Falcons have been to a bowl game in every one of Troy Calhoun’s first five seasons as Falcons coach including 2007 – when his team blew past preseason expectations to finish second in the Mountain West and go to a bowl.

    (UPDATE: I hadn’t seen that SI.com had posted its bowl projections today, and Stewart Mandel did have Air Force in, going to the Armed Forces Bowl.)

  • Former Air Force QB Griebel ends up at Montana State

    Thu, August 23, 2012 by admin with 35 comments

    Mitch Greibel, who would have been a sophomore for the Falcons this fall, decided to withdraw from the academy when he started to get concerned that he was going to fall too far behind academically, and landed at Montana State with an assist to coach Troy Calhoun.

    “Coach Calhoun gave (Montana State coach Rob) Ash a glowing recommendation for Mitch,” said Mike Griebel, Mitch’s father. “That was really cool. I’m glad everything left in good standing.”

    Griebel isn’t sure yet if he’ll have three or four years of eligibility, because he played junior varsity games last year and is unsure if that counts against NCAA eligibility. Griebel was set to compete for a backup quarterback job with the Falcons this year.

  • Air Force announces game day security procedures

    Wed, August 22, 2012 by admin with 8 comments

    Here’s the press release from Air Force on its game day security procedures:

    “Air Force football opens the 2012 season hosting Idaho State on Saturday, Sept. 1, at noon in Falcon Stadium.

    The Air Force Academy’s North and South entrances will open at 8 a.m. for the Idaho State game, and will open four hours prior to kickoff for subsequent games.  This allows fans access to Falcon Stadium parking lots for pre-game activities, and pre- and post-game tailgating.

    Please note that security barriers are installed at both North and South gates thus reducing speed and lane changes at the entry gates. Fans will proceed through these gates with caution and avoid any lane changes as traffic will be flowing through in all entry lanes.

    Fanfest starts at 9:30 a.m. in front of the stadium and will open two and one-half hours prior to each kickoff. Parking Lot 3 and gates t o Falcon Stadium open at 10 a.m. Fans are welcome to tailgate in the stadium parking lots prior to the game and for up to three hours after.

    Security restrictions for entry to the stadium are the same as last year, with regard to water bottles and camera bags. Still cameras and handheld video cameras will be allowed, but flash photography is not permitted. Empty or factory-sealed soft plastic water (water only) bottles, 24 ounces or less will be permitted.

    Items prohibited at Falcon Stadium include: alcoholic beverages, food, umbrellas, backpacks or large bags, artificial noisemakers, banners or large signs (no signs larger than 18 x 24 inches), laser pointers, weapons, firearms, fireworks, glass containers, cans, bags larger than 8×11 inches, and any items that cannot be readily inspected.

    The only exceptions to the food and drink prohibition will be for people with certain medical conditions and infants (if possible, these must be requested in advance, by contacting Athletic Events Management at 719-333-6273).

    Pets other than working service dogs are not permitted. Infant carrier bags and diaper bags are allowed if an infant is present, but the bags will be searched. All hand-carried items will be checked, to include purses, diaper bags, fanny packs, seat cushions, and blankets. Express lines will be available for those spectators entering the stadium with nothing to be searched.

    All patrons entering the stadium are subject to search. Initial visual screening and a pat-down will be performed upon entry. Elevated screening procedures may be used, including metal detectors, if the base’s security posture is heightened. Lastly, there is no overnight tailgating allowed at Falcon Stadium.

    For more information, visit the Air Force athletics website at goairforcefalcons.com and click on FANS, then event information. “

  • Training camp recap

    Wed, August 22, 2012 by admin with 15 comments

    Let’s go position by position, shall we?

    QUARTERBACK: I think Connor Dietz had a solid camp. I don’t think he’s going to surprise Air Force fans this year, and I don’t mean that as a negative. He’ll be the steady quarterback everyone figures he will be this season. The player who stood out the most of this group was sophomore Kale Pearson, who surprised me at how adept he was running the offense and also how good he is physically. I think if he continues to develop, he has a chance to be a good quarterback for Air Force the next few years. Jaleel Awini and Dano Graves each did some good things too in camp, it’ll be interesting to see next spring how much they’re able to progress.

    RUNNING BACK: As I alluded to yesterday, I’m not sure where Wes Cobb fits in anymore, if the Falcons will use him as a tailback or fullback. He has been at fullback for the last few practices. Cobb said he’s ready and willing to play either spot. I think Cody Getz’s performance this month opened some eyes. He looks like he could have a nice year, though I’m not sure if he can be the workhorse Asher Clark was, considering he is undersized. Jon Lee is a tremendous talent and I’m looking forward to when he gets his opportunity to really shine. At fullback, I think Mike DeWitt will have a big year and Broam Hart is a solid backup (and Cobb might fit in here somehow too). Keep an eye on Aaron Clinton-Earl, a big freshman fullback who was making a move up the depth chart near the end of camp.

    WIDE RECEIVER: Ty MacArthur, Dontae Strickland and Drew Coleman all missed time in camp, so this position is a bit unclear. Chris Jordan had a very good camp in the “X” receiver spot – the senior should finally get a significant shot at playing time. Colton Huntsman did well at the “Z” spot. Aloysious Brown, another freshman, is getting a lot of repetitions with the varsity as camp ends. Christian Gann and Luke Duncavage are a couple of young receivers who have made plays. But this position is tough to gauge with all the injuries.

    OFFENSIVE LINE: There’s just not much to say other than, this group is good. So that’s that. I will add that I figure backup tackle Jerry Henry sees some time in a rotation, since the coaches are high on him. Also, the coaches are very excited about center Michael Husar. He could be a good one for the Falcons.

    DEFENSIVE LINE: The Falcons seem to have settled on Cody Miller at nose tackle and Nick Fitzgerald and Joseph Champaign at ends as the starters. And Nick DeJulio is a good backup at nose tackle, and probably would be the first end in off the bench. But the Falcons can’t afford injuries on the line, like they had last year. There’s just not a lot of proven depth behind those four.

    LINEBACKER: It’s a shame if a hamstring injury keeps Stephan Atrice from a starting spot. He missed most of camp and is now with the third team as he works back. Jared Jones has been in his place with the starters. Austin Niklas and Josh Kusan seem entrenched as the starters on the inside. I am intrigued by freshman Connor Healy, who has not given up his inside linebacker spot with the second team. Alex Means had a good camp and should have a big year at outside linebacker.

    DEFENSIVE BACKS: The starting cornerbacks, Chris Miller and Steffon Batts, will be a strength of the team.They were fantastic in camp – and they’re only juniors. Strong safety Brian Lindsay had a good camp too, he seems ready to bounce back from a disappointing junior year. The backup cornerbacks were David Baska and Gavin McHenry. McHenry has been very sound, and Baska picked up the position surprisingly quick. The spot that is a concern is free safety. Christian Spears looks like the frontrunner after coming on late in camp, but converted running back Anthony LaCoste is in the mix. That position was hit hard in the preseason by Jay Fullam’s injury and Anthony Wooding being removed from the team. It’s a spot to keep a close eye on.

    SPECIALISTS: I assume Harrison Elliott will be the long snapper, and will do well in that role. That doesn’t seem to be a position of concern anymore. I figure on Baska being the punter. And Parker Herrington had a quiet, good camp and should provide stability at kicker, as expected.

  • Big East commissioner mentions Air Force as a target; what does that mean?

    Wed, August 22, 2012 by admin with 29 comments

    According to The Beat of Sports, a radio station in Orlando, Big East commissioner Mike Aresco mentioned BYU and Air Force as obvious targets for expansion.

    And here we go again.

    The Air Force-Big East rumors haven’t died since the academy said it wasn’t interested in leaving the Mountain West last December. Nobody at Air Force has told me anything has changed since then. And it’s not like the Big East didn’t put on its best presentation last year. Now, perhaps Aresco will have new ideas and be able to sway Air Force to change its mind (Aresco is the new Big East commissioner, replacing John Marinatto, who made the pitch last year). The Big East might strike gold on a new television deal. One of Lt. Gen. Mike Gould’s concerns about the Big East – though not the only one – was that the money being promised by the Big East wouldn’t be as lucrative as hoped. And Gould did say Air Force could revisit its decision in the future, because he didn’t want to close any doors. But just because the Big East could come calling again doesn’t mean Air Force will jump this time.

    The Big East hasn’t gotten stronger since Air Force declined, especially with automatic Bowl Championship Series bids going away and the Big East seemingly losing its status as a power conference in college football. The Big East’s new television contract hasn’t been worked out, so nobody is sure yet how much each school will make. There are still plenty of rumors that Louisville and Connecticut want to leave the Big East, so stability could be a lingering concern. The situation hasn’t changed that much and I don’t see why leaving the Mountain West is any more appealing to Air Force than it was when it said no to the Big East nine months ago. And like I said, from all the sources I’ve talked to, the issue has been pretty dead at Air Force for a while.

    The biggest factor might be this: The two men at Air Force most responsible for wanting to stay in the Mountain West, Gould and football coach Troy Calhoun, haven’t left the academy. Gould’s term as superintendent is up in 2013. Calhoun could leave for another job, though he has passed on pursuing other opportunities so far. If one or both leaves, that might open a window for Air Force to look into the Big East again. But until we see a shift in something – the Big East getting a huge TV contract, the Big East becoming stronger as a football conference, Aresco making a more convincing argument to Air Force joining than his predecessor did, either Gould and/or Calhoun leaving and there being a different attitude about moving to the Big East from their replacement(s) at the academy, or some more changes in the Mountain West – I don’t think much has changed since the academy said no the first time.

  • Today’s training camp report

    Tue, August 21, 2012 by admin with 8 comments

    With practice shifting to preparation for the season opener, this will be the last daily camp report, but I’m planning on a position-by-position training camp recap tomorrow. Here’s the latest on a few players and spots:

    - Players like receiver Drew Coleman and outside linebacker Stephan Atrice are back from injuries and can start working back up the depth chart. Senior Chris Jordan has done well in camp and is one of the players who has emerged as a possibility for playing time at the “X” receiver spot that Coleman plays. Atrice has returned to third-team duty.

    - I’m not sure what to make of the way the coaches have used Wes Cobb the past week and a half. Troy Calhoun has insisted Cobb is still a tailback, but he has worked exclusively at fullback for many days in a row now. I don’t think the staff would spend that much practice time simply to get a guy ready at fullback “just in case.”

    - The “Z” receiver spot is really thin with Ty MacArthur and Dontae Strickland banged up. The good news is Air Force still has 11 days before the opener for them to heal.

    - Christian Spears has spent a lot of time with the first-team defense at free safety the past few days, he and Anthony LaCoste are in a battle for the starting spot in the opener. Spears is a player that Calhoun singled out before camp started as having a chance to start at safety.