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2009 CFN Air Force Preview
Air Force QB Tim Jefferson
Air Force QB Tim Jefferson
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jul 23, 2009


CollegeFootballNews.com 2009 Preview - Air Force Falcons

Air Force Falcons

Preview 2009


By Pete Fiutak

- 2009 CFN Air Force Preview | 2009 Air Force Offense
- 2009 Air Force Defense
| 2009 Air Force Depth Chart
-
2008 Air Force Preview | 2007 Air Force Preview
| 2006 Air Force Preview 

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Head coach: Troy Calhoun
3rd year: 17=9
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 22, Def. 21, ST 1
Lettermen Lost: 21
Ten Best Falcon Players
1.
SS Chris Thomas, Sr.
2. CB/PR Reggie Rembert, Jr.
3. OG Nick Charles, Sr.
4. OT Chris Campbell, Sr.
5. LB Ken Lamendola, Jr.
6. NG Ben Garland, Sr.
7. QB/RB Asher Clark, Soph.
8. WR Kyle Halderman, Jr.
9. DB Anthony Wright, Soph.
10. DB Jon Davis, Soph.

2009 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
6-6
2009 Record: 0-0

9/5 Nicholls State
9/12 at Minnesota
9/19 at New Mexico
9/26 San Diego State
10/3 at Navy
10/10 TCU
10/17 Wyoming
10/24 at Utah
10/31 at Colorado State
11/7 Army
11/14 UNLV
11/21 at BYU
11/28 OPEN DATE

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
7-5
2008 Record: 8-5

Aug. 30 Southern Utah W 41-7
Sept. 6 at Wyoming W 23-3
Sept. 13 at Houston W 31-28
Sept. 20 Utah L 30-23
Sept. 27
OPEN DATE
Oct. 4 Navy L 33-27
Oct. 11 at San Diego St W 35-10
Oct. 18 at UNLV W 29-28
Oct. 23 New Mexico W 23-10
Nov. 1 at Army W 16-7
Nov. 8 Colorado State W 38-17
Nov. 15 BYU L 38-24
Nov. 22 at TCU L 44-10
Armed Forces Bowl
Dec. 31 Houston L 34-28

Air Force and head coach Troy Calhoun proved last season that the system works. While there’s a hard ceiling on what the program can do, the academic and military restrictions are always going to be too great, but 2007 was supposed to be a problem, rebuilding year. Instead it was a nice 8-5 campaign with a bowl appearance.

The lumps, what few there were, taken last year should all pay off with a veteran team that should be strong enough to be more than just a high-end Mountain West squad. Seven starters return in the defensive back eight, three great starters are back on the offensive line, and most of the holes, like at defensive end, should be filled without a problem. At least the issues are minor compared to the total lack of experience across the board last season.

So now the Falcons have to break through and be more than just a bowl team. The delineation was clear last year as they were a step behind the league’s big three, Utah, BYU and TCU, but ahead of the rest of the pack. How pigeonholed was Air Force? It went 0-3 against the big boys, losing to them by a combined score of 112 to 55, while going 5-0 against the rest of the league. But even with the excitement about the returning experience, and with all arrows pointed up over the next few years, Calhoun is keeping everyone on their toes. QB Tim Jefferson, the promising star of the second half of last year, is being forced to fight and fight hard to get his job back with RB Asher Clark being move to under center. Message sent.

The coaching staff seems to understand that to be a top team, and to beat a top team, there has to be more production all across the board. The running game was good, and now it has to be devastating and explosive. The veteran receiving corps needs to be more than just along for the ride. The secondary has to take advantage of a good pass rush, the special teams have to go back to 2007 form, and depth needs to be developed across the board.

However, if the team could go 8-5 last year, ten wins and a run for the Mountain West title aren’t out of the question this season.

What to watch for on offense: The quarterback situation. Tim Jefferson was special as a freshman, but he was a good, mature leader for his age and inexperience and showed the upside to potentially be the face of the franchise for the next few years. The coaching staff put a halt to that by moving speedy Asher Clark to quarterback this spring. Decision-making skills are nice, but the offense wants more pop from the position.

What to watch for on defense: A great year from the secondary. Chris Thomas is a special safety who made 200 tackles over the last few years and is a lock for 100 stops this year. Reggie Rembert might only be 5-7, but he’s one of the Mountain West’s most dynamic all-around players. Jon Davis is a rising star, and Anthony Wright will be a major producer for the secondary over the next three years. These four form a defensive backfield that should make far more plays and should be one of the team’s major positives.

The team will be far better if … the secondary tightens up against the top teams. While the defensive backfield should be better, and it wasn’t bad last year, it struggled against the better teams. Houston threw for 614 yards and five touchdowns in the two games against the Falcons, BYU threw for 354 yards and two scores, and Utah got 243 yards with a score, along with three rushing scores. Even TCU, not exactly Texas Tech last year, threw for 354 yards and two scores.

The Schedule: The non-conference schedule might be the Mountain West's easiest, even though the Falcons are the honored guest by Minnesota in the opening of the spanking-new TCU Bank stadium. While going to Navy is always tough, that's a truly bad game to deal with. Utah and BYU are both road trips with three away games in the final five. Unfortunately, five of the six road games are against teams that went to a bowl game last year, while TCU is the only bowl team coming to Fort Collins.

Best Offensive Player: Senior OG Nick Charles. The skill players will have time and room to operate thanks to a veteran line that was the best in the nation in sacks allowed and was perfect for the ground attack. Charles is the star of the show with tremendous run blocking skills and toughness. OT Chris Campbell isn’t far behind.

Best Defensive Player: Senior SS Chris Thomas. He has done a little of everything well over the last two seasons. Along with being a great run stopper, he has been a great blitzer who’ll be a regular in the backfield. He hits like a ton of bricks, doesn’t back down from a tough play, and gets in on everything.

Key player to a successful season: Junior DE Rick Ricketts. The defense might return a ton of experience, but it needs a big push from the front three to be successful. Last year, Jake Paulsen came up with nine sacks leading a D that came up with 34. While several players will get in on the act, the defense needs Ricketts and Myles Morales to become backfield regulars.

The season will be a success if ... Air Force wins nine games. The team might not be good enough to win the Mountain West, but it needs to beat at least one of the big three, beat the five non-BYU, Utah and TCU conference teams again, and it needs to come up with wins at Navy and against Army. It’s time to keep moving forward, and nine wins would do it. Key game: Oct. 10 vs. TCU. The Horned Frogs have won three of the last four games against the Falcons, with the victories all ugly. If Air Force can get by a trip to New Mexico and at home against San Diego State, the TCU game will be the key to whether or not it’ll be a player in the Mountain West race. With the Utah and BYU games on the road, the Falcons are done if they lose to TCU for the second year in a row.

2008 Fun Stats:
- Second quarter scoring: Air Force 102 – Opponents 57

- Sacks: Air Force 34 for 234 yards – Opponents 5 for 29 yards
- Rushing yards: Air Force 3,470 – Opponents 1,840

- 2009 CFN Air Force Preview | 2009 Air Force Offense
- 2009 Air Force Defense
| 2009 Air Force Depth Chart
-
2008 Air Force Preview | 2007 Air Force Preview
| 2006 Air Force Preview