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  • Monday Morning Links

    Mon, March 8, 2010 by admin with 2 comments

    Air Force football will lose three-year starting strong safety Chris Thomas to graduation. But the secondary still has a chance to be really, really good. Read about it – and potential replacements for Thomas – here.

    By the way, one thing I didn’t get in the article was that one potential replacement for Thomas – rising junior Phil Ofili – ran a 4.36 40-yard dash last spring. That’s moving. Although I liked what Ofili said when I asked him about the time:

    “That’s moving, but I’m a firm believer that there’s speed and there’s game speed. I’m trying to work on playing at that game-speed level, because I feel like I’ve kind of struggled with that sometimes – playing at top speed the whole time.”

    Moving to ice hockey, Air Force is hoping to ride the momentum from its sweep of Sacred Heart the weekend before last into this weekend’s Atlantic Hockey Association quarterfinal series against Army.

    One basketball note, the All-Mountain West Conference teams will be revealed this afternoon at 2 (see my ballot, two posts below). I’ll have the teams up on this here blog as soon as they’re announced.

    Finally, this has nothing to do with Air Force, but make a point to check out David Ramsey’s outstanding story on a Colorado Springs basketball legend – the late Sherlock Holmes. Yes, his name really was Sherlock Holmes. It’s a fantastic read, and I highly recommend it, especially if you’re a long-time Springs resident.

  • Friday Morning Links

    Fri, March 5, 2010 by admin with no comments

    I wrote for today’s edition of The Gazette about cornerback Reggie Rembert and how he’s having a much more free and easy spring than he did a year ago. And Gazette columnist David Ramsey wrote about quarterback Connor Dietz, and the improvements he’s made, in his blog: http://daveramseysez.freedomblogging.com.

    Coming in the next couple days: A look at the secondary in general. Who will replace Chris Thomas? And how good could this group be?

    Moving to hoops, it’s a pretty good year for freshmen in the Mountain West Conference. Five are among the top 15 scorers in the league: San Diego State’s Kawhi Leonard (eighth with 12.4 points per game), Colorado State’s Dorian Green (11th, 12.0), Utah’s Marshall Henderson (13th, 11.8), BYU’s Tyler Haws (14th, 11.7) and Wyoming’s Desmar Jackson (15th, 11.3). Here’s an article about Green from The Denver Post.

  • 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.

  • Football Odds and Ends

    Thu, February 11, 2010 by admin with 8 comments

    Air Force opens spring football practice a week from today, and coming in Monday’s edition of The Gazette will be our spring football preview package.

    But here are some quick notes as the Falcons prepare to hit the field …

    Light at linebacker
    Air Force will be relatively healthy for spring but a trio of potential starting linebackers will miss most to all of the 15 practices.

    Junior inside linebacker Ken Lamendola (knee), junior outside linebacker Patrick Hennessey (shoulder) and freshman outside linebacker Alex Means (foot) all still are rehabbing injuries suffered last season.

    Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said Lamendola will not participate in spring practice, and that Means and Hennessey could make it back for the end of spring.

    Jefferson limited
    Sophomore quarterback Tim Jefferson “might be a bit limited,” Calhoun said, in spring practice because of his right knee. Jefferson had a minor arthroscopic procedure on the knee to clean it up.

    Position changes
    Junior Bradley Connor has been moved from the defensive line to offensive guard.

    “We felt that was his best chance to get on the field,” Calhoun said.

    In addition, junior Ben Cochran will begin spring practices at safety. Cochran, who was a reserve quarterback last year and took the majority of snaps in the BYU game after Jefferson left with a rib injury, began last fall on defense but was moved back to quarterback early in the season.

    One player who won’t change positions is Asher Clark. The sophomore, who spent last spring and August at quarterback, will be at tailback in the spring.

    With Jefferson limited, Clark at tailback and Cochran back on defense, Air Force’s snaps will be split between sophomore Connor Dietz and freshmen Justin Smith and Tucker Tipton.

    Graduate assistants chosen
    Air Force has selected its graduate assistants for the 2010 season.

    Justin Moore and Nick Charles will assist the academy team, while Chris Thomas and Ryan Gonzales will work with the prep school squad.

    Etc.
    Calhoun said there would be some players who missed practice time for academics, but he did not name any.

    “Every year we’re going to have that because we’re going to make sure that’s understood thoroughly that that’s the priority.” …

    The Falcons’ first practice is set for Thursday at 3:30 p.m.

  • Football Team Puts 13 on Academic All-MWC Squad

    Thu, February 11, 2010 by admin with 1 comment

    Thirteen Air Force football players earned academic All-Mountain West Conference honors today.

    The 13 selections tie for the second-most in program history. The 1999 squad set a record with 18 academic all-conference selections. The 2000 and 2006 teams each had 13 selections.

    The Fall 2009 Academic All-MWC team includes 384 student-athletes from football, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and men’s and women’s cross country. To be eligible for selection, student-athletes must have completed at least one academic term at the member institution while maintaining a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or better, and be a starter or significant contributor on their athletic team.

    Here are the Air Force football players on the team with their majors and, in parentheses, their grade-point averages:

    Senior Nick Charles, Management (3.13)
    Senior Ben Garland, Systems Engineering Management (3.15)
    Senior Justin Moore, Management (3.00)
    Senior Chris Thomas, Management (3.22)
    Junior Keil Bartholomew, Systems Engineering Management (3.20)
    Junior Kevin Fogler, Management (3.60)
    Junior Kyle Halderman, Economics (3.04)
    Junior Tyler Schonsheck, Aeronautical Engineering (3.21)
    Junior Nathan Walker, Systems Engineering Management (3.03)
    Sophomore Jeffrey Benson, Systems Engineering Management (3.38)
    Sophomore Josh Hall, Legal Studies (3.01)
    Sophomore A.J. Wallerstein, Physics (3.26)
    Freshman Olawale Lawal, Undeclared (3.36)

  • Notes from the Last Football Practice of 2009 at AFA

    Wed, December 16, 2009 by admin with 3 comments

    A few odds and ends from today’s football practice …

    -After about six months, Savier Stephens finally has lifted his self-imposed media ban.

    The junior running back decided last spring to refrain from talking to the press because “he hadn’t done anything yet.” And, despite some fairly good outings during the regular season, he continued to decline interview requests from reporters.

    But today after practice, Stephens waited until I’d finished an interview so he could tell me he was ready to start talking again.

    I, of course, joked that I was now not talking to him, which got a laugh from him. But I was curious what brought on the change of heart. It wasn’t that Stephens felt he’d “done anything,” he said, but he did say he felt like he’d “changed some things.”

    “I feel like last year I was playing for the wrong reasons – as far as the center-of-attention-type things,” he said. “I don’t want to say playing selfish, but it affected my performance. This year I don’t feel like I did much better, but my head was in the right place, so I felt like I was out here for the right reasons.

    “I just wanted to feel like I’m not just dead weight,” he continued. “I expected more. I felt I had potential but I wasn’t producing. This year, if you look just blocking-wise and whatnot, and I did have some carries – I didn’t get as many as I would have liked – but I feel like I did better on the whole, mentally and physically.”

    So is Stephens ready for a big senior year?

    “Yes,” he said. “I’m gonna try to keep the same mindset, so hopefully I won’t not talk to y’all (reporters) and just play for the right reasons. I’m just out here for my brothers. I’m going to be a fighter pilot that serves my country, not an NFL player, realistically, so I just have to be out here for the right reasons.”

    Pretty cool to hear that.

    Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said Stephens had “a solid year,” and added that “just as a young man, it’s been awesome to see how much he’s been able to grow as a person.”

    -Senior strong safety Chris Thomas will play in the East-West Shrine Game, a postseason all-star game, on Jan. 23 at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orland, Fla. (See the rosters here).

    The Shrine Game is the oldest of such games, having been played since 1925.

    Thomas was the lone Air Force senior selected to play in a postseason all-star game. Thought the Falcons should have had more guys picked. Ben Garland should have been a no-brainer.

    -One other thing on Thomas – he walked off the practice field today with blood running down his face.

    Not an uncommon sight. So I asked Calhoun if Thomas ever has left a practice without blood on his face.

    “Only a few,” Calhoun said. “That’s when you know the world is in the right kind of balance – whenever Thomas is bleeding.”

    -Today’s practice was the Falcons’ last until Dec. 26, when they reconvene in Fort Worth. Calhoun said his players needed some time off, especially after final exams and a full semester of work. But while a few days off “will be healthy for them,” Calhoun said players have to continue to work out.

    “They’ve got to lift, they’ve got to get out and do some aerobic activity and then be ready to work when we get there,” Calhoun said.

    -Sophomore quarterback Connor Dietz and junior slot receiver Kyle Halderman both practiced in red jerseys today.

    “They’ve been able to move physically,” Calhoun said. “Dietz has been able to throw, and he should be completely cleared when we go down there (to Fort Worth). What I think will be important for all those guys, but certainly those two, will be what they do here in the next 10 days.”