2014 Air Force Preview: What You Need To Know
Air Force WR Colton Huntsman
Air Force WR Colton Huntsman
Posted May 26, 2014

Preview 2014 - What You Need To Know About Air Force (Getty Images)

2014 Air Force Preview

What You Need To Know

- 2014 Air Force Preview 
2014 Depth Chart & Unit Rankings To Come This Summer

What You Need To Know About The Offense: After a rough season without as much pop or explosion as normal, the offense could be steadier and more consistent with a good backfield that should be a bit more cohesive. The running attack that needs to dominate was its normal self at times, but it didn't control games. QB Nate Romine came on late last year and got his feet wet. The attack is never going to start bombing away, but the receivers and targets are in place to do it with good veterans and big hitters in Jalen Robinette and TE Garrett Griffin. It all comes down the line that loses four starters around all-star center Michael Husar, Jr.

What You Need To Know About The Defense: Let's try this again. A total disaster over the last few years, the defense has to start coming up with a few third down stops and get off the field. As always, getting to the quarterback is going to be a problem, but that's okay as long as the quick and experienced back eight can hold its own. Really, really small with 260-pound defensive linemen and 220-pound linebackers, finding a good rotation will be vital right away and there can't be a major rash of injuries. The linebacking corps should be a plus with Spencer Proctor and Dexter Walker excellent ones to work around, but they can't make so many plays – the front three has to do its job and hold up against anyone with a little power. The lack of a pass rush killed the secondary that was lit up like a Christmas tree, but safety Christian Spears is a good veteran to start with.  

1. C Michael Husar, Sr.
While he's an undersized 6-0 and 270 pounds, he's bigger and stronger than he was a few years ago when he was a feisty interior presence able to play either guard or center. While the running game and the line had their problems last season, Husar held his one as an all-star in the middle, serving as one of the team's most reliable and dependable players. Able to get great leverage, and terrific at opening up the hole for the fullback, he's a banger, but he's also able to get out on the move.

2. FS Christian Spears, Sr.
At only 5-9 and 185 pounds, Spears held up well with a team-leading 92 tackles with two picks and three broken up passes. A workout warrior, he brings a great attitude and a fearless style of play throwing his body around. Able to work in a variety of ways, he can cheat up against the run and be an extra linebacker, or be like a nickelback. His main job will be to do more against the pass and help the secondary, but he'll spend way too much time cleaning up messes after making seven tackles or more in eight games.

3. LB Joey Nichol, Sr.
There isn't a ton of size in the Air Force linebacking corps, but the 6-1, 230-pound Nichol is the biggest of the bunch with the toughness to hold his own on the inside. A tackling machine, he registered double-digit stops in four of the first nine games before getting knocked out for the year with a groin injury. With good range and nice pop, he should be the team's leading tackler if he can stay healthy, and he should be the team's top playmaker in the backfield after generating a team-leading 7.5 tackles for loss.

4. RB Broam Hart, Sr.
The backfield might work best when the quick runners are zipping around the corner, but it all starts with linebackers and safeties respecting the fullback up the gut. That's where Hart comes in, finishing second on the team with 469 yards and six touchdowns. The 6-0, 220-pound fullback isn't necessarily a blaster, but he's a tough, punishing runner with just enough quickness to make things happen when he gets the chance. However, he started out the season running 18 times for 101 yards and a score against Colgate, but by the end of the year his load had been diminished to next to nothing – all of his double-digit carry games came in the first half of the season. On the plus side, he was a solid goal line runner with three scores in the final month, finishing with six on the year.

5. LB Dexter Walker, Jr.
Part safety, part linebacker, the 6-0, 205-pound Walker had to do a little of everything for the beleaguered defense finishing second on the team with 91 stops with two sacks. A big hitter for his size, he led the team with three forced fumbles and was in on way too many tackles considering his position, making 25 in a two game span against New Mexico and UNLV and coming up with double-digit stops five times on the season. More of a nickel back than a true outside linebacker, he'll roam to make plays.

6. LB Spencer Proctor, Sr.
After not doing much of anything as a sophomore, the 6-2, 220-pound Proctor came on last year to finish fourth on the year with 78 tackles and two sacks with five tackles for loss. While he's built like a big safety, he can deliver a good pop and gets all over the field from his spot inside. Steady, he registered six or more tackles in every game but three, coming up with a season-high ten against UNLV.

7. QB Nate Romine, Soph.
The quarterback situation was up in the air going into last year with several options being thrown into the mix and five being brought in to develop over the next several years. After the drama losing Jaleel Awini, Romine took over the job and completed 54% of his passes for 603 yards and five scores with a pick, and ran for 205 yards and three touchdowns. He's a smallish 5-11, 195-pound quick runner – like all Falcon quarterbacks – and has the passing skills to do more for the offense.

8. WR Jalen Robinette, Soph.
The passing game is never going to be a big part of the attack, but Robinette is a dangerous enough target to make defenses think about the deep ball. The 6-3, 220-pound sophomore can hit and block downfield, but he can also stretch the field averaging over 18 yards per catch on his 16 grabs. Nine of his catches came late in the year with four against New Mexico and five against Colorado State, but his job is to come up with two big grabs a game.

9. PK Will Conant, Sr.
The placekicking situation was a problem in 2012, but Conant settled things down last year nailing 11-of-13 kicks showing off his big leg with a 52-yarder against Colgate and a 52-yard shot against San Diego State. His misses were from 44 and 50 yards out, and he hit everything short range. With his 50+ range, he'll get plenty of chances.

10. TE Garrett Griffin, Jr.
With a terrific combination of 6-4, 225-pound size and excellent speed and athleticism, he's more like a big wide receiver than a true tight end making a team-leading 19 catches for 237 yards and a touchdown. A Kansas state-champion track athlete, he's able to move even after adding 20 pounds to his frame. While he didn't make too many big plays down the field, he was a good midrange target with the hands and route-running ability to do more.  

- 2014 Air Force Preview