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.