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Issues to watch during spring football for Air Force

Published: February 18, 2014, 1:53 pm, by Brent Briggeman

What to watch in Air Force spring practice
“Spring” practice begins for Air Force on Wednesday afternoon with the start of 15 dates that will be competed by the actual beginning of spring. Semantics aside, there are plenty of issues to watch as the Falcons begin rebuilding after a 2-10 season, here are a few:

1. Coaching assignments
With two new coaches in the mix – Tim Cross and Ron Vanderlinden – the Falcons will likely reveal who will be coaching in which spots. The only change coach Troy Calhoun has confirmed is that Steve Russ has assumed the sole defensive coordinator position and will coach defensive backs, a switch from coaching inside linebackers and perhaps indicative of an intention to be more physical vs. receivers on the line of scrimmage.

2. Personnel in the running game
After losing its top rusher and three starting offensive lineman, spring practice figures to be an open audition to fill the key components in the Falcons’ running attack. Jon Lee figures to be the frontrunner to take the bulk of carries at tailback, but after an injury-plagued junior season that saw him gain just 429 yards – 130 of which came in the opener against Colgate. Calhoun likes durability, so look for sophomore Devin Rushing to get an honest crack at the position.

3. Everything on defense
Only one senior starter will be missing from last year’s squad, but that doesn’t mean changes won’t be in order for a unit that ranked near the bottom on the nation in nearly every key statistic. The change in coaches could signal a change in philosophy or scheme, which in turn could impact the personnel. No returning starter should be considered untouchable when it comes to a position battle.

 

Tentative Practice Schedule

Wednesday – 3:15 p.m., Practice fields/HAC
Thursday – 3:15 p.m., Practice fields/HAC
Saturday – 9:30 a.m., Practice fields/HAC
Monday – 3:15 p.m., Practice fields/HAC
Feb. 26 – 3:15 p.m., Practice fields/HAC
Feb. 27 – 3:15 p.m., Practice fields/HAC
Mar. 1 – 9:30 a.m., Falcon Stadium
Mar. 3 – 3:15 p.m., Practice fields/HAC
Mar. 4 – 3:15 p.m., Practice fields/HAC
Mar. 6 – 3:15 p.m., Practice fields/HAC
Mar. 8 – 9:30 a.m., Falcon Stadium/HAC
Mar. 11 – 3:15 p.m., Practice fields/HAC
Mar. 12 – 3:15 p.m., Practice fields/HAC
Mar. 18 – 3:15 p.m., Practice fields/HAC
Mar. 19 – 3:15 p.m., TBA