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  • 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)

  • Calhoun Says No Contact with UVA (And Practice Notes)

    Fri, December 4, 2009 by admin with no comments

    Air Force coach Troy Calhoun’s name has been mentioned as a candidate for the vacant University of Virginia job, but Calhoun said after this afternoon’s practice that speculation is just that.

    Calhoun said he hasn’t had any contact with Virginia.

    “The only thing I’m thinking about is here,” Calhoun said. “That’s when we recruit, that’s in all of our game prep, that’s in raising our kids. Everything we do. That’s the only thing we’ve even given consideration to, and that’s the only way we’re going to operate.”

    Asked if that meant he’d be at the academy next year, Calhoun said, “I hope so. Absolutely we hope so.”

    Practice Notes
    -In addition to Calhoun, Air Force defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter’s name has begun to circulate as a candidate for vacant jobs. Georgia is one school looking for a new defensive coordinator.

    “All I care about is winning our bowl game and getting these guys ready to play in it,” DeRuyter said. “That’s all I care about. … People are going to say what I want. All I care about is these guys and sending these seniors out the right way.”

    DeRuyter was outstanding in the 2009 regular season. His defense ranks eighth in the country in scoring defense (15.3 points allowed per game) and ninth in total defense (284.8 yards allowed per game).

    -Sophomore quarterbacks Tim Jefferson and Connor Dietz both participated in practice today. More on this in my article, which will appear on-line shortly.

    -Dontae Strickland, who had been practicing at cornerback all season, spent some time at slot receiver this afternoon.

    “We switched him over in the middle of practice,” Calhoun said of the 5-foot-10, 170-pound freshman from Kansas City. “We’ll see. That’s something we’ve been considering for a long time. … It’s something kind of in the back of our minds, we’ve always wondered do we play him at corner or slot. And I wanted to give him every chance in the world to get into the two-deep at corner, and if we think he can get on the field sooner at receiver, then we’ll move him to wide receiver if he wants to do that.”

    -Air Force got just one player on the first-team All-Mountain West Conference squad – junior cornerback Reggie Rembert.

    The most notable omission was senior nose guard Ben Garland.

    DeRuyter said he was “disappointed, because I really thought Benny probably played the best on our defense this year. … I though he deserved it.”

    Calhoun said he thought Garland and MWC Defensive Player of the Year Jerry Hughes of TCU were “clear-cut no-brainers” for the first-team.

    Being a nose guard might have hurt Garland, Calhoun said.

    “We asked him to do a lot where he had to take on blocks and eat up blocks rather than putting him in positions where he was only going to make tackles to enhance his stats,” Calhoun said. “He’s one of those guys he knew what he needed to do and because of it it helped free up the ‘backers like John Falgout and Justin Moore for those guys to make a ton of tackles and he did that. But as a football player, if you only looked at the football part of it there was no doubt, he should have been a first-team pick. And I think also what happens too is I think sometimes coaches tend a little bit to overlook Air Force players, and I think that might have been the case there.”

  • Thursday Notes

    Thu, October 22, 2009 by admin with 3 comments

    Air Force hasn’t had the same quarterback start two consecutive games since sophomore Tim Jefferson started the Falcons’ second and third games of the season (at Minnesota and at New Mexico).

    Granted, the flip-flopping mostly has had to do with Jefferson’s right ankle, which he injured against New Mexico and then re-injured against Navy.

    But last Saturday, Jefferson was pulled for sophomore Connor Dietz – who started the games Jefferson did not in recent weeks. And it marked the first time a quarterback change was made for reasons other than health. Coach Troy Calhoun was looking for a spark and thought Dietz could make more plays in the running game.

    Calhoun has said he’s not opposed to using a two-quarterback system but admits it works better when you settle on one.

    I would think one reason it works better with one is because if you’re rotating quarterbacks, they might become afraid to make mistakes that lead to a quick hook. Dietz said a quarterback can’t play with that fear.

    “The worst thing for a quarterback is to play conservative,” he said. “So whether you have that pressure on you or not, you really can’t hold back. If you’re going out there kind of second-minded, you’re far more likely to make a mistake.”

    Calhoun hasn’t named a starter for Saturday’s game at Utah but said last Sunday that Dietz had been “more effective” of late.

    No matter who starts, it will be interesting to see what happens to the quarterbacks’ styles of play if more mid-game changes are made.

    Moore with less: Air Force senior inside linebacker Justin Moore has been an observer at most Air Force practices in recent weeks, standing away from the action with a protective boot on his right foot.

    But it hasn’t hurt his production. He’s had 11, 12 and five tackles, respectively, in the Falcons’ last three games.

    Moore said the fact he’s been in the system for a while has a lot to do with how he’s been able to stay productive without practice.

    “I know what’s going on,” he said. “And then just watching film. Because that’s basically my practice – watching film and then standing behind a play 20, 30 yards (during practice) and watching what’s going on. That’s been helping a lot, because obviously I can’t be in there getting the reps up close.

    MWC Bowl Agreements: The Mountain West Conference today announced a deal with the Independence Bowl and renewed deals with the New Mexico and Armed Forces Bowls in future seasons.

    So here is what the bowl landscape looks like for the MWC. First, this season:

    Las Vegas: MWC #1 vs. Pac-10 #4 or 5
    Poinsettia: MWC #2 vs. Pac-10 #6
    New Mexico: MWC #3 or 4 vs. WAC #1, 2 or 3
    Armed Forces: MWC #3 or 4 vs. C-USA #2, 3, 4, 5 or 6
    Humanitarian: MWC #5 v. WAC #1, 2 or 3

    And here is what it looks like for 2010 through 2013:

    Las Vegas: MWC #1 vs. Pac-10 #5
    Poinsettia: MWC #2 vs. Navy* (2010); WAC #1, 2 or 3 (2011 and 2012); Army* (2013)
    Independence: MWC #3 vs. ACC #7
    New Mexico: MWC #4 or 5 vs. WAC
    Armed Forces: MWC #4 or 5 vs. C-USA

    * – If Army or Navy are not bowl eligible in these years, a WAC opponent will be selected.

    Navy QB Change: GoMids.com is reporting that sophomore Kriss Proctor will start Saturday against Wake Forest in place of Ricky Dobbs, who is considered day-to-day.