2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • DeRuyter should be candidate for CU coaching job

    Sun, November 28, 2010 by David Ramsey with 1 comment

    Former Air Force defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter should be a candidate for the head coaching job at the University of Colorado. The Buffs are badly in need of transformation, and DeRuyter could lead the transforming.

    A year ago, the Texas A&M defense was in shambles and coach Mike Sherman was in peril.

    Then Sherman made a brilliant move.

    He raided Air Force Academy, where DeRuyter had revived the Falcons defense. Air Force had lost 26 of 41 games before DeRuyter’s arrival in 2007, and the Falcons had surrendered 30 or more points in 16 of those losses.

    Last season, Air Force finished 11th in the nation in total defense.

    Meanwhile, the Texas A&M defense finished 105th.

    Under DeRuyter’s direction, the Aggies held Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas to a total of 42 points. He’s one of the prime reasons A&M is 9-3 and ranked 19th in the nation.

    DeRuyter wants to be a head coach, and he’s basically the head-coach-in-waiting at Air Force. When Troy Calhoun departs, Hans Mueh’s first phone call will be to DeRuyter.

    Colorado AD Mike Bohn should beat Air Force to that call.

    DeRuyter should be a candidate for the CU job.

  • Broncos: A limited team shows its true face, gets stomped by Chargers

    Tue, November 23, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    For years, the frustration of Broncos fans came from underachieving.

    Their favorite team had the tools to take a ride to the playoffs, but could never quite put all the pieces together.

    That’s changed this season.

    The Broncos suffered through a 35-14 stomping by the Chargers while the football world watched on Monday night.

    But fans can’t get angry at the Broncos for underachieving. That’s not this team’s problem.

    The problem is this edition of the Broncos lacks speed, brawn and elusiveness. The defense is ancient. The offense has virtually no running game.

    The Broncos, in short, aren’t very good. When they lose, it’s not because they don’t want it bad enough or they’re not coached with enough brilliance.

    It’s because they don’t have enough talent.

    When this season is over – and it’s all but over right now – here’s the play that will stick in the minds of Broncos fans:

    The Chargers Patrick Crayton catches a short pass in the second quarter and faces Broncos defensive back Brian Dawkins in the open field. Used to be, Dawkins ranked as one of the NFL’s best, fiercest defenders, but those days are gone.

    Today, he’s a creaking, fading player who turned 37 last month.

    Crayton brushes Dawkins aside in an amazingly nonchalant – and effective - move and trots to a 40-yard touchdown. The Chargers lead, 21-7. This game is over.

    The play sums up the season.

    Dawkins is no match for Crayton. The Broncos are no match for most opponents.

    The Broncos, once again, were exposed for what they really are:

    A football  team severely lacking in weapons.



    This team is showing its honest face.

    It’s weak, through and through.

  • Reynolds reflects on CC loss and my word choice

    Sun, November 21, 2010 by David Ramsey with 6 comments

    After an encouraging victory, Jeff Reynolds reflected on the worst defeat of his Air Force career, or anybody else’s Air Force career.

    The Falcons lost, 60-57, Wednesday night to crosstown rival Colorado College. Air Force plays in D-1. CC plays in D-3. Air Force was playing at home. Reynolds played his starters nearly the entire game.

    Air Force still lost. The defeat inspired athletic director Hans Mueh to announce he will be watching Reynolds and the program the rest of the season. Mueh was clearly, and understandably shaken, by the defeat. He told the Gazette’s Frank Schwab he didn’t sleep Wednesday night

    Reynolds has the entire season to show AFA fans the loss was an abberation. And he has 16 Mountain West games to prove his merits as a game coach and a program builder.

    He can make the CC defeat fade. That will  require a lot of wins, but redemption  remains in the realm of possibility.

    One thing I want to make clear:

    Would love to see an instant, complete Air Force basketball revival. Would love it. Would be a great story to follow, filled with all kinds of fun and drama. And several of my closest Springs friends are devout Falcons basketball fans, and I don’t want to see them continue to suffer.

    So here’s wishing Reynolds and his team the best of luck the rest of the season.

    But a complete turnaround would not change this truth:

    The loss to CC was a complete disaster. There’s no way around it.

    I described the defeat as a “catastrophe.”

    Reynolds saw it differently.

    “It wasn’t as catastrophic as some people thought,” he said of the CC loss. He spoke after defeating Tennessee State Saturday night.

    Been thinking about what Reynolds said, and want to add these thoughts about the CC loss.

    It was one of the most humiliating, indefensible defeats in Air Force sports history. It might have been the most humiliating, indefensible defeat.

    It might be a catastrophe that awakens Reynolds and his team, and that would be wonderful. I’m all for watching an awakened version of Reynolds and his Falcons.

    So, it might become a helpful catastrophe, but it was a catastrophe.

    You know, catastrophic.

    I would say really catastrophic or hugely catastrophic, but catastrophic works well all by itself.

    Here’s Brian Gomez’s Tennessee State game story from The Gazette. The article includes more Reynolds postgame comments:


  • Here are a few words from a lone (so far) Jeff Reynolds supporter

    Fri, November 19, 2010 by David Ramsey with 12 comments

    Have heard from several dozen readers, who have shared their thoughts on AFA basketball coach Jeff Reynolds.

    Reynolds and his Falcons lost to Colorado College on Wednesday. This has started of firestorm of criticism. Deserved criticism, in my view.

    Everyone I’ve heard from is down, extremely down, on the Falcons coach. Most want to see him fired.


    This morning, received a call from a longtime reader named George.

    He supports Reynolds.

    George is the only supporter I’ve heard from.

    “Coach Reynolds is doing a good job for the amount of talent that he has,” George said. If Reynolds was coaching at the University of Connecticut, George contends, he would be doing a “fabulous” job.

    I don’t agree with George, but I appreciate his courage and loyalty. He might be right about Reynolds doing a “good” job with the talent that he has, but it’s Reynolds job to go out and get talent that can win him games.

    Any other Reynolds supporters out there?

    Love to hear from you.

  • UNLV-AFA final: Falcons fly to eight wins … again

    Fri, November 19, 2010 by David Ramsey with 4 comments

    In Friday’s column, I talked about how much Air Force struggled to beat UNLV, which is not a very good football team.

    But give the Falcons credit.

    A team that suffered from injuries and from a couple disappointing, impressive losses found a way to win eight games.


    Troy Calhoun has won at least eight games four straight times.

    That’s impressive.

  • UNLV-Air Force halftime: The Rebels lead, 17-14

    Thu, November 18, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Yes, you read that right.

    Worst half of the season for the Falcons.

  • UNLV-Air Force pregame: Ah, yet another sleepy-time MWC atmosphere

    Thu, November 18, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    LAS VEGAS – The Mountain West Conference boasts two of the best programs in the country (TCU and Utah), along with a solid, traditional regional power (BYU) and two rising regional powers (San Diego State and Air Force).

    The MWC, alas, is plagued by the ever-stumbling UNLV program.

    I’m sitting at Sam Boyd Stadium, joined by about 5,000 Vegas fans and another 2,000  Air Force fans.

    This would be a great place to take an evening nap.

  • CC 60, AFA 57: This is the team Jeff Reynolds built

    Thu, November 18, 2010 by David Ramsey with 8 comments

    For the past two seasons, while the Falcons tumbled to the depths of college basketball, one word has been used by Air Force officials to excuse and explain everything about Jeff Reynolds:


    The basketball team, said AD Hans Mueh and superintendent Mike Gould, was rebuilding. This implied – virtually promised – better days were ahead.

    On Wednesday night at Clune Arena, Reynolds offered a look at what he has built. Remember, this is his fourth season as head coach. Remember, he was the lead recruiter for the program two seasons before that.

    This is his team, through and through. This is his creation.

    Colorado College, which finished 12-13 in Division III last season, conquered The Team That Reynolds Built, 60-57.

    The Tigers won at Clune. The Tigers won despite shooting 33 percent from the field. The Tigers won while Reynolds played his starters almost the entire game.

    This isn’t just another tough loss. This is a catastrophe. Air Force officials can kid themselves and say that’s an overstatement.

    It is the absolute truth. After losing to his crosstown rival, a D-3 crosstown rival, Reynolds must be held accountable for his creation.

    It’s time for a new era in Air Force basketall.

    No more excuses. No more whining, by Reynolds, about not being able to obtain transfers or international players. No more looking soulfully off into the distance, by Mueh, and talking suggestively about improvement.

    The day of reckoning has arrived.

    When Reynolds arrived at Air Force, the Falcons soared near the top of the Mountain West. They traveled to the NCAA Tournament in 2004 and, with Reynolds working as an assistant, in 2006. They had a precise, intricate, dangerous offense, known as The Princeton, solidly in place.

    This was a program the school could be proud of, and it was.  Section 8 was a blast to watch, a blast to listen to.  It was packed with manic students who produced a frightening, uplifting amount of sound and emotion.

    Section 8 is virtually gone, dried up by 31 losses in 32 MWC games.

    The Princeton Offense no longer operates at Air Force. Yes, there’s some kind of mutation that slightly resembles The Princeton, but it’s not the real thing.

    Air Force is the worst team in the Mountain West, and one of the worst teams in the country. A  thrilling revival has been completely stamped out. The program had been horrible for a quarter century, and then it was  respectable, even briefly powerful. The revival lasted half a decade.

    The revival is over.

    Can Reynolds recover?

    Sure, he can, but it won’t be easy.

    If Reynolds wants to remain in charge of the Falcons, he needs to win at least six games in the Mountain West. That would require a 6-10 record. Not easy, but not impossible. He would need to finish 4-4 at Clune and  2-6 on  the road. This is his fourth season. This is not an unfair expectation.

    If he delivers another 0-fer – 0-16 – or anything close to it, there is no doubt it’s time for a new coach at Air Force.

    It will help if he steps up and takes responsibility. He knew when he accepted the job transfers and internationals were not in his Air Force future.

    After the CC loss, we heard typical Reynolds.

    “You hope they learn,” Reynolds said. “You hate to lose a game like that, but you hope they learn from it.”

    Let’s try a variation of what Reynolds said. Let’s take the burden off the players and place the burden where it belongs:

    You hope Reynolds learns. You hope Reynolds learns from it.

    Stay tuned. The Reynolds era isn’t over yet.

    It might be almost over.

    But it’s not over yet.

  • Falcons will stomp Rebels without a defense

    Wed, November 17, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Say this for UNLV:

    The Rebels don’t make their fans sweat  during losses. UNLV gets behind early and loses big. In their four Mountain West losses, the Rebs have been beaten by an average of 38 points.

    The Rebs run defense is 114th (out of 120 teams) in the nation, allowing 5.13 yards per carry. That’s the bad news.

    The good news is the Rebs have a better run defense than Wyoming (117th) and New Mexico (120th). The MWC’s worst teams seem to have a little trouble against the rush.

    The Falcons will - suprise! – run to an easy victory.

    Air Force 42, Vegas 14.

    For the season, I’m 2-0 and the famed BlogDog is 1-1. (For those of you who missed it, I’m picking games against Norm, who has been picking games for years on the Gazette’s Air Force blog. Here’s the link: http://gazetteafasports.freedomblogging.com/)

    Thursday: Will be blogging about UNLV-Air Force in the morning and then immediately before the game, at halftime and after the game. Hope you can stop by. 

  • AFA football: Dietz and the agony of watching from the bench

    Tue, November 16, 2010 by David Ramsey with 2 comments

    Connor Dietz is a rugged, elusive, opportunistic option quarterback who is an ideal fit for Air Force’s run-obsessed attack.

    But it’s obvious he will spend his AFA career as a backup to Tim Jefferson. Both players are juniors and only the most oblivious Dietz supporter believes the backup will become the starter next season.

    Jefferson has a chance to become one of the Mountain West’s top three offensive players next season, a season when Dietz will almost certainly again be watching from the sideline.

    And that’s too bad. Starting at quarterback is the best starting gig in football.

    And backing up at quarterback is the worst backup gig in football.

    “Yeah, it’s been really tough,” Dietz said of spending games watching fro the sideline. “Kind of a humbling experience, you know.”