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  • 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

    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.)

    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.)

    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?

  • Post-Spring Two-Deep Chart – Rapid Reaction

    Mon, April 5, 2010 by admin with no comments

    Air Force released an updated two-deep chart today. You can see it in the post below.

    Here are some things that stood out to me after my first glance at it:

    -Despite not participating in most of spring practice because he was recovering from surgery on his right knee, Tim Jefferson is listed as the Falcons’ starting quarterback. Connor Dietz, who took the majority of the snaps with the first-team offense in the spring, is listed as his backup.

    I think Jefferson made a strong case to cement possession of the starting job with his play late last season, particularly in the bowl game. Still, expect this to be an open competition in the fall.

    -Calhoun did some shuffling with the starting offensive line on the chart, placing A.J. Wallerstein at left tackle and Jason Kons at left guard (I saw them at right tackle and left tackle, respectively, most of the spring) and Tyler Schonsheck at right tackle (I’d seen him mostly at left guard).

    I know they moved those guys around, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they shuffled a bit more in early August.

    -Calhoun went with some generic position listings. As he did last year, he just listed two “WR” spots, instead of a WR-X (for the outside receiver) and WR-Z (for the slot receiver). If he had been more specific, Kyle Halderman would have been listed behind Jonathan Warzeka at the Z spot, while Mikel Hunter would have been listed behind Kevin Fogler at the X spot.

    Also, there are two “RB” spots, instead of “FB” and “TB,” and on defense there are simply three “DL” spots, four “LB” spots and four “DB” spots. Kind of strange.

    -Air Force will have an inexperienced offensive line in 2010, but if these players stay healthy and gain experience, it’ll pay big dividends down the road. Only three of the 10 offensive line starters and backups listed are seniors. Four are sophomores and three are juniors.

    -Interesting to see sophomore Daniel Compton listed as the backup place kicker behind Erik Soderberg. I would think Soderberg is pretty much entrenched as the starting kicker after an outstanding debut season as a sophomore in 2009. But Compton has a powerful leg and could be utilized on kickoffs.

    -The position that seems most in flux is linebacker. So much depends on how guys heal – and how they’re able to work in the weight room and on the track after they heal. Specifically, Air Force needs seniors Ken Lamendola and Patrick Hennessey to be healthy come Aug. 1.

  • Football Odds and Ends

    Wed, March 3, 2010 by admin with 2 comments

    After tomorrow’s practice (at Falcon Stadium at 3 p.m.), Air Force will be two-thirds of the way through its spring football sessions.

    Among the Falcons’ biggest concerns heading into the spring was how they would replace the five seniors who started on the offensive line in 2009. So far it seems the Falcons have made reasonable progress.

    “The thing that you do notice is they play a little bit quicker,” Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said of his linemen. “They’re a bit more sudden off the ball than they were during the first two or three practices, but they should be too.”

    The Falcons on Wednesday used the same five players as their first-team offensive line as they have throughout spring. From left tackle to right tackle: Freshman Jason Kons, junior Tyler Schonsheck, sophomore Michael Hester, sophomore A.J. Wallerstein and junior Chase Darden.

    Still, Calhoun said “you can foresee that that might not be the same five as you go, day in and day out.”

    -I wrote for tomorrow’s edition of The Gazette about the Falcons’ tailbacks. And while Asher Clark has established himself as the starter, freshmen Cody Getz and Darius Jones both have emerged as potential contributors. Both are tiny guys, however, who need to put on muscle in the weight room.

    “I think after spring will be huge for them, weight-wise, because they’ve got a lot of time from when we finish until we get into the fall,” running backs coach Jemal Singleton said. “So they’ve gotta get stronger.”

    -Getting stronger always is an offseason initiative. But Calhoun said it’s especially important for this group of Falcons.

    “I think the number one area that you see, and it’s probably not just offensive line but across our entire football team is physically, we have to get stronger,” he said. “If you’re going to play guys a little bit early, then what they’re going to have to do is they’re really, really going to have to make some gains in the weight room. And I think that’s one of the things, as soon as we conclude spring ball, you’ve got right around five-and-a-half, six months, where we’ve got to see our guys in their legs or in their back sides where they really, really gain some strength, and then their upper bodies, obviously, too.”

    -Erik Soderberg looked sharp today kicking field goals. Calhoun said he wants the Falcons to make better than 80 percent of their field goals and that he’d ask kickers to do more as far as placing the ball on kickoffs.

    As for whether Soderberg will kick off, Calhoun said: “I think that’s too early to say. (Freshman) Danny Compton’s been pretty good on kickoffs too. And kickoffs might be where he might break through. But we’ll see. Could be a freshman too.”

  • 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).

  • Sunday Morning Links

    Sun, November 15, 2009 by admin with 2 comments

    Air Force woke up to snow and plenty of bowl scenarios today. The way I see it, the Las Vegas, Poinsettia, Armed Forces and New Mexico Bowls all are in play.

    The reps from bowls with Mountain West Conference ties meet with representatives from each bowl-eligible program this week in Vegas. But there are plenty of dominoes that still need to fall – starting with whether TCU gets a BCS bid (looks like the Frogs will). The next biggest domino is how the Falcons finish next weekend at BYU. Like I wrote last night, that game is monstrous for Air Force.

    Some links:

    My game story on Saturday night’s 45-17 victory over UNLV; my sidebar on sophomore tailback Asher Clark’s breakout game and my notebook, which touches on the offensive line, kicker Erik Soderberg and more, both can be found at this link; David Ramsey’s sidebar on quarterback Tim Jefferson; Ramsey’s column about how it’s time for the Falcons to beat a winner; and my 3 Headlines video.

    Also, here’s the take on the game from the Vegas side, where speculation about Mike Sanford’s future increases.

    Finally, Air Force hockey tied Holy Cross Saturday night, 2-2.

  • UNLV Wrap

    Sat, November 14, 2009 by admin with 2 comments

    There was plenty for Air Force to celebrate tonight.

    The offense looked arguably the best it has all season, rolling up 557 yards. The Falcons were balanced (for them) with quarterback Tim Jefferson completing 8-of-13 passes for 126 yards. And the ground game was dominant, with the Falcons picking up 6.1 yards per carry.

    The defense was not quite as impenetrable as it has been at times this season, but it still limited a dangerous UNLV passing attack to just 135 yards.

    Kicker Erik Soderberg continued his outstanding season by nailing a 35-yarder, giving him 20 field goals this season.

    And Air Force’s 15 seniors walked out of Falcon Stadium for the last time as players triumphant, with a 45-17 victory.

    And yet … not to snow on the Falcons’ celebration … but that was a pretty inept UNLV squad.

    I’m not saying that to diminish a standout performance but to highlight the following: Air Force has held serve against the teams it finished above last season and was picked to finish above this season. But it has yet to beat a team it wasn’t “supposed to” beat.

    The Falcons have one more chance next Saturday at Provo. And they’re looking forward to it.

    “Next week’s a huge game,” senior strong safety Chris Thomas said of the clash with BYU. “Been looking forward to that game all year.”

    And there’s plenty at stake. With a victory, the Falcons all of a sudden would seem to have a shot at the Poinsettia Bowl and maybe even the Las Vegas Bowl (if BYU went on to beat Utah the following week and TCU ends up in the BCS).

    More importantly, Air Force would finish no worse than third in the Mountain West Conference. Instead of thinking about the Falcons as “the best of the rest,” we’d have to re-define “The Big Three.”

    “This next week is huge for us as a program,” Thomas said. “If we can play well and get a ‘W,’ I think it would show that this program has definitely taken some strides forward.”

    Other Thoughts:
    Jefferson showed up at the post-game press conference wearing flip-flops.

    He had socks on, but it still was surprising for a kid from Georgia.

    “I’ve gotten used to Colorado,” he said.

    The Falcons were at home in the cold and snow on Saturday night, much more so than UNLV. Don’t know if it was a big factor, but I think it played a part in Air Force’s dominance. Troy Calhoun loves practicing in inclement weather to get his guys ready for days like today. That definitely has helped.

    -I think we safely can say Air Force has a big-time receiving threat.

    Kevin Fogler made three catches for 73 yards, and – as usual – they were significant grabs. All of them gave the Falcons first downs.

    -Rebels coach Mike Sanford thought it would have been “a different game,” had UNLV scored late in the first half to make it 17-10 (instead, Thomas picked off a pass in the end zone and the Falcons then drove 80 yards to go up 24-3 just before the half).

    I’m not going to say that’s delusional, but come on, Mike. It was a momentum-changer, sure. But there was no way Air Force was going to win that game by less than 10 points, let alone lose it.

    -Last thing: Troy Calhoun is the first Air Force coach in program history to lead his first three teams to seven or more victories. Pretty good accomplishment.

  • Sunday Morning Links

    Sun, November 1, 2009 by admin with no comments

    The stories from Fort Collins:

    -My game story deals with the offfense’s breakout performance.

    -Columnist David Ramsey wrote about quarterback Tim Jefferson.

    -I wrote a sidebar on the play of the game, Jefferson’s 34-yard completion to Kevin Fogler.

    -Ramsey wrote a sidebar on CSU’s collapse after a 3-0 start.

    -My notebook deals with the slot receivers, Reggie Rembert, a milestone for Asher Clark and more.

    Also, here’s a story on Air Force hockey’s loss at Canisius.

  • CSU Wrap

    Sat, October 31, 2009 by admin with 2 comments

    It’s kind of funny to talk about a breakout passing performance when a team completes seven passes and gains just more than 100 yards through the air.

    But a breakout performance it was for Air Force’s aerial attack when quarterback Tim Jefferson completed 7-of-12 passes for 111 yards and two scores in today’s 34-16 victory over Colorado State at Hughes Stadium.

    Because remember this: In the Falcons’ previous four games they completed just 24 of 54 passes and averaged 46.4 yards through the air. That’s not good enough. Even for an option team.

    Air Force never will be Texas Tech, or anything close to it. But the Falcons do need to take advantage of the play-action opportunities their running game provides. And they need to do enough through the air to keep opponents honest. They did both today.

    Jefferson, back in the starting lineup, looked the best he has all year. He played like he had something to prove, considering Connor Dietz had seemed to have taken over the starting QB role with his performance last week (before it was found Dietz had broken a bone in his hand and will miss at least three weeks).

    Did Jefferson have something to prove?

    “I don’t know,” Jefferson said. “I know that we’ve been trading the starts, and it kind of hurt us when (Dietz) went down because he’s a great player. I don’t think I had anything to prove, I just wanted to go out there and play, and I got the chance.”

    Jefferson ran the offense with a good tempo and showed off his great feel for the option. Jefferson’s pitches always lead backs so they are full speed when they catch them. And he has an innate ability to hold the ball until the last possible moment, often influencing defenders to come off the pitch man to stop him.

    Still, Jefferson made the key play of the game not with his feet but with his arm, hitting Kevin Fogler for 34 yards down the right sideline on a third-and-18 early in the second half.

    While the throw and the catch both were impressive, I was particularly impressed that Calhoun made the call. So many times this season, we’ve seen Air Force run up the middle in third-and-long situations – especially when it’s backed up in its own territory. More than anything else, simply calling for a pass showed Calhoun had the confidence in Jefferson to make a play. That spoke volumes.

    “It was in the game plan,” Jefferson said of the pass. “Coaches told us we were going to have a chance to hit some shots because their secondary wasn’t that strong.  I was glad that he made the call and glad that he had confidence in us.”

    Other Thoughts:
    -Air Force made two plays of more than 30 yards on Saturday – as many as they’d made in their previous seven games against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents.

    While Air Force is a grind-it-out squad, it never hurts to pick up some big chunks of yardage.

    “There are times you’ve got to grind and make three and four yards on carries, but you just don’t only have to wear your mudder or your plodder shoes,” Calhoun said. “You can wear your other shoes too, where you get up on your toes and go a little bit.”

    -As I wrote earlier this week, sophomore kicker Erik Soderberg has not let his season be defined by his overtime miss at Navy.

    This afternoon Soderberg drilled a career-long 50-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, giving the Falcons a 17-10 advantage at the break after the Rams had scored 10 straight points.

    “It was a good hit,” Calhoun said. “It was a big play, to send you into the half when you’re up by seven and you’re receiving the kickoff in the second half.”

    Soderberg also nailed a 30-yarder, giving him seven straight made field goals since his miss at Navy.

    But he did miss an extra point for the first time this season.

    -Part of the reason Air Force looked better and was able to pick up 382 yards was because players were making things happen with the ball in their hands.

    There was Jared Tew, breaking out of arm tackles. There was Asher Clark, making a spin move to avoid a defender. There was Jonathan Warzeka, beating defenders to the edge.

    “I think we probably broke some tackles today, which we haven’t done a lot of,” Calhoun said. “I think by and large, you look here over about the last month or so, we’ve basically gained yards that were there and that’s it. And what we’ve got to do, we’ve got to have guys that gain more than what’s there.”

    Today, they did.

    -How about the Mohawk worn by senior safety Luke Hyder? I asked Calhoun who gave him the haircut.

    “He’s got a little work to do on it,” Calhoun said. “I don’t think it was his girlfriend. Nor his mom.”

  • Halftime: Air Force 17, Colorado State 10

    Sat, October 31, 2009 by admin with no comments

    Air Force sophomore kicker Erik Soderberg hit a career-long 50-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter to give the Falcons a 17-10 lead over Colorado State at halftime.

    The Falcons, led by sophomore quarterback Tim Jefferson, drove for touchdowns on each of their first two possessions. Jefferson capped the first drive, which covered 80 yards, by hitting junior Kyle Halderman for an 8-yard touchdown. Fullback Jared Tew capped the second drive with a 6-yard touchdown run with 1:05 left in the first quarter.

    But just as the Falcons seemed ready to turn the game into a blowout, Colorado State showed signs of life. The Rams drove for a field goal, held the Falcons to three plays and a punt and then drove 59 yards for a touchdown with 1:43 left in the half to cut the Air Force lead to 14-10.

    Air Force, however, went from its own 27 to the Colorado Sate 33 in seven plays to set up Soderberg’s boot.

  • Thursday Morning Links

    Thu, October 29, 2009 by admin with no comments

    In today’s edition of The Gazette is my story on sophomore kicker Erik Soderberg.

    Through eight games of his first season as Air Force’s kicker, Soderberg has made 17 of 22 field goals. One of the misses, of course, was at Navy, when his 31-yard attempt in overtime sailed wide left.

    But instead of letting that kick define his season, Soderberg has rebounded admirably. He’s made five straight kicks including a 48-yarder last Saturday at Utah that tied the game.

    When asked how Soderberg was able to rebound from the miss at Navy, coach Troy Calhoun said, “I just think you keep kicking.

    “There are three different positions, but it’s a little bit of the same. If you’re a relief pitcher, if you’re a corner(back), if you’re a kicker, you better keep firing.”

    Soderberg’s game-tying kick at Utah came with less than seven minutes to play. It was far from a chip shot, but Soderberg made it look like a routine extra point.

    “The impressive part about it, it might have been good from eight to 10 (more yards) – it might have been a 56-, 57-yarder,” Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said. “He hit it well without over-swinging. And I think there are some times when you first get into kicking field goals, especially at this level, there are times when you think you’ve got to put a little extra pop to it, and what you do, you don’t hit it as well. It’s like your driver.”

    Also in today’s paper is a short piece on Air Force’s tailbacks. And here’s the link to my story about Colorado State that I didn’t link yesterday.