• Jake’s Preseason MWC Ballots

    Tue, July 20, 2010 by admin with 9 comments

    I’ve got only a couple more weeks left on the Air Force beat (more on that in a later post), but I plan to sprint hard toward the finish line.

    So I’ll be with Frank in Vegas next week to play blackja – I mean, provide you with all the information that comes out of the Mountain West Conference media days.

    Along with the commissioner’s State of the Conference address, one of the most anticipated aspects of the media days is the release of the preseason MWC poll and preseason All-MWC squad.

    I submitted my ballots today, which you can find below. As I’ve said in the past, preseason squads are kinda tricky. They’re part reward for past performance and part anticipation of future performance. Some value one more than the other. I try to go 50-50.

    Anyhow, without further ado, here’s what I submitted:

    Preseason MWC Poll
    1. TCU
    2. Utah
    3. Air Force
    4. BYU
    5. Wyoming
    6. San Diego State
    7. Colorado State
    8. UNLV
    9. New Mexico

    Preseason All-MWC
    Offense

    WR – Vincent Brown (San Diego State, Sr.)
    WR – Phillip Payne (UNLV, Jr.)
    OL – Matt Reynolds (BYU, Jr.)
    OL – Marcus Cannon (TCU, Sr.)
    OL – Jake Kirkpatrick (TCU, Sr.)
    OL – Caleb Schlauderaff (Utah, Sr.)
    OL – Zane Taylor (Utah, Sr.)
    TE – Alston Umuolo (San Diego State, Sr.)
    QB – Andy Dalton (TCU, Sr.)
    RB – Eddie Wide (Utah, Sr.)
    RB – Jared Tew (Air Force, Sr.)

    Defense
    DL – Wayne Daniels (TCU, Sr.)
    DL – Dave Kruger (Utah, So.)
    DL – Johnathan Rainey (New Mexico, Jr.)
    LB – Tank Carder (TCU, Jr.)
    LB – Mychal Sisson (Colorado State, Jr.)
    LB – Carmen Messina (New Mexico, Jr.)
    LB – Brian Hendricks (Wyoming, Jr.)
    DB – Anthony Wright Jr. (Air Force, Jr.)
    DB – Reggie Rembert (Air Force, Sr.)
    DB – Tejay Johnson (TCU, Sr.)
    DB – Andrew Rich (BYU, Sr.)

    Specialists
    P – Brian Stahovich (San Diego State, Jr.)
    K – Ross Evans (TCU, Jr.)
    KR – Jeremy Kerley (TCU, Sr.)

    Offensive Player of the Year: QB Andy Dalton (TCU, Sr.)
    Defensive Player of the Year: LB Tank Carder (TCU, Jr.)
    Special Teams Player of the Year: KR Jeremy Kerley (TCU, Sr.)

    As you can see, I went with three Air Force players on the first team.

    Rembert was a first-team all-conference selection last season, but it could be argued that Wright – who led the Falcons with seven picks – had the better season. I went with both of them, which might be a stretch, but it’s hard to pick one over the other. And I think they’ll form the MWC’s best corner tandem.

    I went with Tew because of how he ended the 2009 season, his potential (I think he can be both a workhorse and a big-play threat) and the fact there aren’t so many obvious standout tailbacks in the league that I thought I needed to select two of them.

    Here are some other Air Force players who could make a push for all-conference honors by the end of the season.

    Strong Contenders:
    -FS Jon Davis. Coaches have always raved about Davis’ potential, and he started to show what he could do last year. Look no further than his ridiculous pick-six against New Mexico (where he weaved through Lobos, absorbed a huge hit at the goal line and still managed to get into the end zone). He might be the best athlete on the team (he played a few basketball games for the prep school a few years ago), he has great instincts and he loves to hit. I predict a breakout year for him in 2010.

    -TB Asher Clark. After struggling in the middle of last season (he gained just 142 yards on 46 carries – 3.1 yards per carry – in games four through eightt), he finished strong (he had 481 on 67 carries – 7.2 yards per carry – and all seven of his touchdowns in the final five games of the campaign. With a healthy knee and the fact he’s not starting the year with thoughts of playing quarterback, he should get off to a better start in 2010.

    K Erik Soderberg. In 2009, his first year as a starter, Soderberg made 38-of-40 extra points and 22-of-30 field goals, including a long of 50 yards, en route to second-team all-league honors. He should be even better this season.

    Other Contenders:
    -G A.J. Wallerstein. If the Falcons’ brand new offensive line comes together and Air Force’s ground game continues to be strong, it likely will have a lot to do with Wallerstein. He got his feet wet in 2008 and last season played considerable snaps as part of a rotation at guard. Big, athletic and very, very smart, he could be a good one for the Falcons.

    -DE Rick Ricketts. He’ll be the leader up front as the Falcons’ lone returning starter on the defensive line. He’s undersized, but he plays with a relentless intensity and has a bit of crazy in him on the field (in a good way). He also always seems to be around the ball and has shown an ability to make plays. Working against him – there are a bunch of quality defensive linemen in the league and Ricketts isn’t a big name in the league heading into the season.

    -OLB Andre Morris Jr. Morris has talent, size and experience. This could be the year he puts it all together and goes from good to great.

    Keep an Eye on:
    -TE Chaz Demerath. Made just five catches for 25 yards last season, and Air Force tight ends had just 11 catches total. But I feel like the tight end will become a bigger part of the offense. It has to, right? And having a more experienced quarterback delivering the ball should help. Demerath’s an athletic kid and there aren’t a whole lot of touted tight ends in the MWC.

    -WR-Z/Ret Jonathan Warzeka. Showed his ability as a returner with the kickoff return for a touchdown in the Armed Forces Bowl. Always has had potential. Now that he’s a junior, he should make a substantial leap.

    -WR-Z Kyle Halderman. Missed more than half of last season with a broken collarbone. But he showed big-play potential as a sophomore.

    -All the LBs coming off injury. Among them are senior inside linebacker Ken Lamendola, senior outside linebacker Pat Hennessey and sophomore outside linebacker Alex Means. All could have big seasons … if they’re healthy.

    Long Shots:
    -WR-X Kevin Fogler. A long shot because Fogler won’t get the opportunity to catch nearly as many passes as the talented receivers at San Diego State, BYU and UNLV. But he’s become a bona fide big-play receiver. Last season he grabbed 25 passes for 567 yards and five touchdowns.

    -QB Tim Jefferson. So many good QBs in the league this year. And Jefferson probably won’t have the stats. But if he runs like he did as a freshman and passes like he did in the Armed Forces Bowl, he could force his way into contention.

    -NG Ryan Gardner. Coaches gave him high marks for his work during spring practices attempting to fill the shoes of Ben Garland.

    With that, I want to hear what readers think. Who should have been on the first team that I left off my ballot? Which Air Force players do you think will make their way onto all-conference? What do you think of the preseason poll? Is Air Force too high, too low or just about right?

  • Wright on Lott Trophy Watch List

    Thu, April 15, 2010 by admin with no comments

    Air Force cornerback Anthony Wright Jr. has been named to the 2010 Lott Trophy Watch List.

    Named after Pro Football Hall of Fame safety Ronnie Lott and founded in 2004 by The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation, The Lott Trophy is awarded to college football’s Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. That is a player who exhibits the same characteristics Lott embodied during his career: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

    Wright, who will be a junior in the fall, led the Mountain West Conference and ranked seventh nationally in 2009 with seven interceptions. He set a school record with three interceptions in the Armed Forces Bowl victory over Houston. The Cleveland, Ohio native also scored three touchdowns – two on interception returns and one on a punt return.

    The winner of The Lott Trophy receives $25,000 for his school’s general scholarship fund.

    The previous winners of the Lott Trophy are David Pollack (Georgia, 2004), DeMeco Ryans (Alabama, 2005), Dante Hughes (Cal, 2006), Glenn Dorsey (LSU, 2007), James Laurinaitis (Ohio State, 2008) and Jerry Hughes (TCU, 2009).

  • Falcons Open Spring Practices

    Fri, February 19, 2010 by admin with 2 comments

    Sure didn’t feel like spring out at Falcon Stadium this afternoon.

    It was cold and, near the end of practice, some snow began to fall.

    But that’s how Air Force coach Troy Calhoun likes it.

    I wrote for tomorrow’s edition of The Gazette about the Falcons’ offensive line. Though Calhoun noted that the starting spots are written in pencil, here was the group that worked with the first-team offense, from left tackle to right tackle:

    Freshman Jason Kons, junior Tyler Schonsheck, sophomore Michael Hester, sophomore A.J. Wallerstein and junior Chase Darden.

    As I noted in the article, Calhoun would like to find eight players who he can use on a rotating basis (two centers, three guards and three tackles). But I think it will be important for the Falcons to decide on starters and their backups soon. Because one of the reasons the 2009 line was so good was their familiarity with each other. They knew each other’s tendencies and how to play with one another.

    “Yeah, they did,” Calhoun said.

    Calhoun said he isn’t in a hurry to name a starting five. However, he acknowledged that it would be good to establish the rotation “just because there’s so many calls that change as the defense alters, and you’ve got to be able to communicate it instantly.”

    Odds and Ends
    -Sophomore running back Paul Weatheroy, who blew out his left knee in the fall of his freshman season (2008) and then again last spring, was not at practice Monday. Calhoun said Weatheroy still is rehabbing the knee.

    -A real strength of this team could be the secondary. Both starting corners (Anthony Wright Jr. and Reggie Rembert) are back, along with their backups (P.J. Adeji-Paul and Josh Hall). Starting free safety Jon Davis also returns. It appears as if sophomore Phil Ofili will get first crack at replacing Chris Thomas at strong safety.

    -Air Force has cancelled its March 11 practice and instead will practice tomorrow (Friday) at 4 p.m. at the stadium.

  • All-MWC Football Teams Awards

    Tue, December 1, 2009 by admin with 3 comments

    The All-Mountain West Conference football teams were announced this afternoon, and just one Air Force player – junior cornerback Reggie Rembert – earned first-team honors.

    Six Falcons were named to the second team: Junior fullback Jared Tew, senior guards Nick Charles and Peter Lusk, sophomore kicker Erik Soderberg, senior nose guard Ben Garland and sophomore cornerback Anthony Wright Jr.

    Teams and award-winners are below:

    Offensive Player of the Year: QB Andy Dalton (TCJ, Jr.)

    Defensive Player of the Year: DE Jerry Hughes (TCU, Sr.)

    Special Teams Player of the Year: Ret. Jeremy Kerley (TCU, Jr.)

    Freshman of the Year: QB Austyn Carta-Samuels (Wyoming)

    Coach of the Year: Gary Patterson (TCU)

    First-Team Offense
    QB: Andy Dalton (TCU, Jr.)
    WR: David Reed (Utah, Sr.)
    WR: Ryan Wolfe (UNLV, Sr.)
    RB: Harvey Unga (BYU, Jr.)
    RB: Eddie Wide (Utah, Jr.)
    TE: Dennis Pitta (BYU, Sr.)
    OL: Matt Reynolds (BYU, So.)
    OL: Erik Cook (New Mexico, Sr.)
    OL: Marshall Newhouse (TCU, Sr.)
    OL: Marcus Cannon (TCU, Jr.)
    OL: Zane Beadles (Utah, Sr.)
    PK: Ross Evans (TCU, So.)
    PR/KR: Jeremy Kerley (TCU, Jr.)

    First-Team Defense
    DL: Jan Jorgensen (BYU, Sr.)
    DL: Jerry Hughes (TCU, Sr.)
    DL: Koa Misi (Utah, Sr.)
    DL: John Fletcher (Wyoming, Sr.)
    LB: Carmen Messina (New Mexico, So.)
    LB: Daryl Washington (TCU, Sr.)
    LB: Stevenson Sylvester (Utah, Sr.)
    DB: Reggie Rembert (Air Force, Jr.)
    DB: Rafael Priest (TCU, Sr.)
    DB: Nick Sanders (TCU, Sr.)
    DB: Robert Johnson (Utah, Sr.)
    P: Adam Miller (New Mexico, Sr.)

    Second-Team Offense
    QB: Max Hall (BYU, Sr.)
    WR: Vincent Brown (San Diego State, Jr.)
    WR: DeMarco Sampson (San Diego State, Sr.)
    RB: Joseph Turner (TCU, Sr.)
    RB: Jared Tew (Air Force, Jr.)
    TE: Andrew George (BYU, Sr.)
    OL: Nick Charles (Air Force, Sr.)
    OL: Peter Lusk (Air Force, Sr.)

    OL: Caleb Schlauderaff (Utah, Jr.)
    OL: Jake Kirkpatrick (TCU, Jr.)
    OL: Zane Taylor (Utah, Jr.)
    PK: Erik Soderberg (Air Force, So.)
    PR/KR: Dion Morton (Colorado State, So.)

    Second-Team Defense
    DL: Wayne Daniels (TCU, Jr.)
    DL: Ben Garland (Air Force, Sr.)
    DL: Johnathan Rainey (New Mexico, So.)
    DL: Cory Grant (TCU, Jr.)
    LB: Tank Carder (TCU, So.)
    LB: Mychal Sisson (Colorado State, So.)
    LB: Brian Hendricks (Wyoming, So.)
    DB: Andrew Rich (BYU, Jr.)
    DB: Anthony Wright Jr. (Air Force, So.)
    DB: Tejay Johnson (TCU, Jr.)
    DB: Chris Prosinski (Wyoming, Jr.)
    P: Brian Stahovich (San Diego State, So.)

    Honorable Mention
    Air Force:
    John Falgout (Sr. LB), Brandon Geyer (Sr. P), Ryan Gonzales (Sr. OL), Chris Thomas (Sr. DB).
    BYU: Coleby Clawson (Sr. LB), Brett Denney (Sr. DL), Scott Johnson (Sr. DB), Brian Logan (Jr. DB), Riley Stephenson (Fr. P), R.J. Willing (Sr. OL).
    Colorado State: Adrian Martinez (Sr. OL), Nick Oppenneer (Sr. DB), Cole Pemberton (Sr. OL), Shelley Smith (Sr. OL), Tim Walter (Sr. OL).
    New Mexico: Kendall Briscoe (Sr. DL).
    San Diego State: Davion Mauldin (Sr. KR), Jerry Milling (Sr. LB).
    TCU: Evan Frosch (Jr. TE), Antoine Hicks (So. WR), Jeremy Kerley (Jr. WR), Ed Wesley (Fr. RB), Jimmy Young (Jr. WR).
    UNLV: Jason Beauchamp (Sr. LB), Joe Hawley (Sr. OL), Matt Murphy (Jr. OL).
    Utah: Joe Phillips (Jr. K), Sean Sellwood (Fr. P), Sealver Siliga (So. DL), Mike Wright (Sr. LB).
    Wyoming: David Leonard (Jr. WR), Austin McCoy (So. P), Mitch Unrein (Sr. DL).

  • Monday Morning Links

    Mon, November 9, 2009 by admin with no comments

    Good Monday morning.

    In today’s edition of The Gazette, Brian Gomez wrote a follow-up story on the Falcons’ 35-7 victory over Army, which includes some bowl possibilities.

    Big thanks to Brian for pinch-hitting for me for the last few days and hitting a few home runs.

    Here’s the game story he wrote on Saturday’s victory, a sidebar he wrote on the presence of ESPN College GameDay and a notebook he wrote that includes thoughts from the Armed Forces Bowl rep at Saturday’s game. Also, here’s a column written by David Ramsey about receiver Kevin Fogler and his long touchdown and a sidebar written by Ramsey on Anthony Wright Jr.’s punt return. Ramsey wrote more about Fogler’s catch and run today in his blog.

    Also, check out SI.com writer Stewart Mandel’s College Football Overtime column and ESPN.com’s updated bowl projections. Both writers still see the Falcons back in Fort Worth.

    Finally, the new BCS, Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls can be found here. My ballot for the AP poll, and Air Force coach Troy Calhoun’s ballot for the coaches poll are below.

    Calhoun’s Ballot
    1. Florida
    2. Texas
    3. Alabama
    4. TCU
    5. Cincinnati
    6. Boise State
    7. Georgia Tech
    8. Pittsburgh
    9. USC
    10. LSU
    11. Ohio State
    12. Iowa
    13. Houston
    14. Utah
    15. Oregon
    16. Oklahoma State
    17. Penn State
    18. Miami
    19. Clemson
    20. Arizona
    21. Virginia Tech
    22. Wisconsin
    23. BYU
    24. Rutgers
    25. Auburn

    Jake’s Ballot
    1. Alabama
    2. Florida
    3. Texas
    4. TCU
    5. Cincinnati
    6. Boise State
    7. Georgia Tech
    8. LSU
    9. Pittsburgh
    10. Miami
    11. Houston
    12. Oregon
    13. USC
    14. Utah
    15. Ohio State
    16. Iowa
    17. Oklahoma State
    18. Penn State
    19. Arizona
    20. Wisconsin
    21. Virginia Tech
    22. Clemson
    23. Auburn
    24. South Florida
    25. Navy