Taking a few days break from the blog.
Will post Sunday from Invesco during Broncos-Chargers.
Taking a few days break from the blog.
Will post Sunday from Invesco during Broncos-Chargers.
SHREVEPORT,La. – We had a crisis at Independence Stadium.
Air Force’s mascot – a falcon, of course – had flown away, and fans were sharing their worries with Gazetteer Frank Schwab. We knew we had to find out where the falcon had landed.
In the final minutes of Air Force’s win over Georgia Tech, I was standing on the field. I looked over and saw the falcon’s handler walking right by me.
And the fly-away falcon was roosting on his arm. (The falcon is named Ace.)
The handler didn’t say much. He said they had found Ace ”right around here.”
Turns out, the falcon had flown about five miles away to take up temporary residence in a downtown Shreveport parking lot. Air Force handlers used a tracking device to find Ace.
Been thinking about the falcon’s journey, and it makes sense. Air Force used the Sam’s Town Casino as its headquarters for this bowl and, yes, Sam’s Town is in the middle of downtown Shreveport. The falcon seemed to be thinking he was taking a little trip back to his Louisiana home.
This morning, ESPN gave more time to the fly-away falcon than it did to Air Force’s come-from-behind victory.
The team was upstaged by the bird.
Here’s Frank Schwab’s updated story on Ace. This is a good read:
Talked with Fisher DeBerry after Air Force’s 14-7 win over Georgia Tech.
“Vintage Air Force football,” he said.
This wasn’t especially beautiful. The Falcons crawled their way to this victory.
“We persevered,” quarterback Tim Jefferson said.
That’s a solid description.
Score one – a very big one – for Tim Tebow supporters.
Tebow’s second-half performance against the Houston Texans revealed a multi-talented, ultra-competitive quarterback. He’s made the Denver Broncos exciting and, better yet, relevant.
No doubt, he silenced – for a day, at least – those who doubt him.
I watched the Broncos comeback in a sports bar on the banks of the Red River in Shreveport, La. The room was packed, and as Tebow pushed the Broncos to the go-ahead touchdown, fans roared in approval.
Remember where I was sitting. This is the heart of LSU Tigers territory. Tebow and the Florida Gators are despised here.
Check that. The Gators are still despised. Tebow, now that he’s moved to Denver, is gaining popularity. Even in Tigerland, Tebow is earning converts with his charismatic, barbaric approach to the game.
There’s no way around it. Tebow delivered a magnificent second half. Yes, I’ve expressed doubt about Tebow’s left arm and his ability to conquer ridiculously complex NFL defenses.
He’s just a kid. He has plenty of time to prove me correct. Remember, the Texans defense is ranked No. 32 in the NFL against the pass.
But he has plenty of time to prove me – and the rest of his doubters – wrong. He made a big step in squashing those doubts on Sunday.
This has been an excruciatingly dreadful season for Broncos fans, who watched a franchise dissolve right before their eyes.
Tebow delivers hope.
He delivered a massive, entertaining dose of hope on a magical Sunday.
Norm the dog has predicted Georgia Tech will defeat Air Force in today’s Independence Bowl.
Here’s Norm’s pick:
Here’s the human pick:
Air Force 24, Georgia Tech 21 – Tim Jefferson will throw a touchdown. Jared Tew will rush for more than 100 yards in his Air Force farewell. And the Falcons defense will “hold” Tech to 257 yards rushing.
One thing Norm and I see the same way:
“The Fighter” is solid, although I thought Amy Adams delivered the movie’s best performance.
Tim DeRuyter left Air Force with two major regrets.
In his three seasons as AFA defensive coordinator, he never beat Brigham Young.
And even worse, he never beat Navy.
When he watched Air Force beat Navy this season, he was thrilled.
“Oh, I was so excited for the players and for Troy (Calhoun) and the staff, too. That was a big monkey on their back. I really thought that this was the year they were somehow going to find a way. They had a chip on their shoulder, and I knew this was the year that they were going to get Navy. To see it come to fruition was awesome.”
For days after the AFA win over Navy, DeRuyter walked around College Station, Texas, celebrating.
“People asked me about it all the time. Why are you all smiles? What’s up? And I told them, ’Air Force beat Navy this week.””
Now, the Falcons face a final test. In Monday’s Independence Bowl, Air Force faces Georgia Tech and old nemesis Paul Johnson, who led Navy’s revival early in this century and also led the Midshipmen to five straight wins over the Falcons.
“Coach Johnson has done an awesome job down there at Georgia Tech. It’s an intriguing matchup strategy wise between him and Troy. I think it will be a hell of a game. It will be fun for me to watch.”
SHREVEPORT, La . – For the past four seasons, Air Force cornerback Reggie Rembert’s parents have been a near-constant presence at Falcons games.
After talking with Reggie Rembert Sr. after practice on Friday, I now see “near-constant” is inaccurate. Let’s just go with “constant.”
Rembert Sr. said he and his wife, Ida, have missed one of their son’s games in four seasons. They stayed at home in the Dallas area to watch Air Force’s 20-17 televised upset of TCU in 2007. That victory helped cement the Remberts’ resolve to watch the rest of Reggie Jr.’s games.
Reggie Sr. laughed when asked about the resolve he and his wife have shown. He reminded me Reggie is their only child. “No split loyalties,” he said.
Reggie Sr.”s favorite game?
“I’ll go with Navy this year. We needed that one.”
Next on the blog: Former AFA defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter talks about the Navy win, and his view of Monday’s matchup against Georgia Tech and the Falcons long-time nemesis Paul Johnson.
SHREVEPORT, La. – Used to be, Paul Johnson worked as a master propagandist. Johnson, of course, is Georgia Tech’s football coach, and he’s quietly preparing his Yellow Jackets to battle Air Force in Monday’s Independence Bowl.
But it used to get loud. When Johnson worked as Navy’s head football coach, he could take any word from an Air Force football player and turn it into an unforgivable insult to his Midshipmen. And I mean any word, including “the” and, well, “and.”
When Johnson arrived at Navy, Air Force ruled service-academy football, and he used every angle possible in his quest to pass the Falcons. One angle was propaganda.
Once Johnson passed the Falcons, he turned down the rhetorical battle. In his final couple seasons at Navy, Johnson worked diligently to downplay his team’s rivalry with Air Force. The verbal wars were over.
And those wars have not been re-ignited here in Shreveport.
Johnson has placed his master propagandist role in hibernation. And that’s too bad. No one was better turning nothing into something than Paul Johnson.
SHREVEPORT, La. - Midway through Wednesday’s Air Force practice, Jared Tew busted out of the backfield and ripped past his teammates. I had to make sure it was Tew wearing No. 42. He looked, despite his still-recovering broken leg, 100 percent. He was moving.
Troy Calhoun was standing on top of the pressbox at Messmer Stadium, a high school field that sits a few hundreds yards from the Red River here in Shreveport.
He was watching the same play.
“I did see it,” Calhoun said. “Why, were you tempted to tackle him?”
“He showed some decent quickness, but we need to see how he does in full gear.”
Thursday’s practice, Calhoun said, will offer more challenges for Tew.
“He’ll see more activity around his knee, and we’ll be seeing the power and the thrust.”
Calhoun and running back coach Jemal Singleton emphasize that Tew will have to be 100 percent if he wants to play against Georgia Tech in Monday’s Independence Bowl.
Heard from four or five dozen readers after my Monday column on Tim Tebow.
You can read it here: http://www.gazette.com/sports/tebow-109867-love-tim.html
I wonder if Tebow owns the left arm required for success in the NFL.
Most – about 75 percent of readers – believe Tebow is headed for big things. Heard several times that he’s the next John Elway. Heard he will lead the Broncos back to the playoffs.
For the most part, this has been fun. Endured one long, rambling, largely obscene defense of Tebow, that also included a weird side trip into the great might of North Dakota’s hockey team, but otherwise the responses have been spirited and interesting.
Yes, I have doubts about Tebow’s arm. I’m not alone. The Broncos coaching staff appears to share those doubts.
But Tebow has plenty of time to prove me - and his legion of other critics – wrong. He can start this crusade on Sunday against Houston.
David Ramsey has written sports columns for The Gazette for 10 years. He's visited all 50 states, and he's wise enough to realize Colorado is the best of those 50.
He's a graduate of Denver South High School, Abilene Christian University and Syracuse University, where he earned a master's degree in American History in 2003. He's placed nine times in the national Asssociated Press Sports Editors (APSE) contest, including two first-place finishes. He's covered the Athens, Beijing and London Olympics for The Gazette. He's the father of Ruth, a Rampart High grad, and Luke and Caleb, both grads of Pikes Peak Christian. He's an avid cyclist. He hopes to climb Mount Massive this summer, but he says that every year.
Gazette sports columnist David Ramsey brings you the personal side of sports along with his personal analysis. You can follow him on Twitter @davidlukeramsey