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  • 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.”

  • Tuesday Notes

    Tue, October 27, 2009 by admin with no comments

    Air Force is two victories away from becoming bowl eligible for the third time in Troy Calhoun’s three seasons at the academy.

    But Calhoun said today he isn’t thinking about getting two victories. Just one this Saturday at Colorado State.

    “You’ve got to get one,” he said. “This isn’t like stairs, where you can jump up three steps. You’ve got to get one. And the one’s going to be hard. But it’s doable.”

    Bombs Away: Air Force will see a unique offense on Saturday.

    Colorado State mashes with the running game but also takes lots of deep shots down the field. Probably more than any other team in the conference.

    “They’re really a unique combination that way,” Calhoun said. “What they do is physically, I think with their offensive line and their tailback position and being a two-back team, they’re able to run it downhill. We probably haven’t played a team yet, just in terms of pure commitment to being a downhill squad, like we’re going to see on Saturday. And I’m sure size-wise that’s something they’re going to try and mash on us. And then the other part, what they’re going to do, they’re going to throw the ball down the field.”

    Said Colorado State coach Steve Fairchild: “It’s just our mode of operation on offense is to try and run the ball at you and then throw it over your head. … We’re going to try to throw the ball over the top of the defense a number of times during the game. That’s just our approach to offensive football here.”

    Dietz Update: Calhoun said today he’s talked with sophomore quarterback Connor Dietz since Dietz underwent surgery on his right hand.

    “He’s naturally a little bit disappointed,” Calhoun said. “I think anybody that’s competitive and anybody that’s got that much fire in you, which he does, you want to play.”

    Calhoun said because Dietz’s right hand is his dominant hand, “It’s not just football. He’s taking over 18 semester hours right now. You think about something as simple as taking a note.”

    Asked if he would help Dietz with his school work, Calhoun said, “I don’t think he’d want me to do that. He saw my grades when I was a freshman and sophomore at the academy.”

    Other Personnel Matters: Not much of an update on Reggie Rembert, who left last Saturday’s game at Utah after absorbing a pair of big hits on consecutive kickoffs. The junior cornerback/kick returner did not participate in practice Tuesday. “We’ve just got to wait and see,” Calhoun said.

    Senior safety Luke Hyder missed practice because he is sick, but Calhoun said Hyder will be fine for Saturday’s game at Colorado State.