Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Mountain West 2010-Air Force Falcons
2009 Record: 8-5 (5-3)
Head Coach: Troy Calhoun (4th season, 25-14)
Offensive Coordinator: Clay Hendrix (4th season), Blane Morgan (4th season) and Mike Thiessen (2nd season)
Defensive Coordinator: Matt Wallerstedt (1st season) and Charlton Warren (2nd season)
2009 Bowl Game: Armed Forces Bowl, defeated Houston 47-20
Offense: Air Force is always going to run the ball, and that won't change this season. They bring back all of their backifield and receiving corps this season, so the Falcons will roll on and even be better then they were a season ago at the skill positions. Tim Jefferson returns at QB, as does his backup, a very capable Connor Dietz. It's really their job to get the ball into the hands of TB Asher Clark and FB Jared Tew, who can make a wreck out of most defenses. The major problem on the offensive side of the ball is that the entire offensive line is starting from scratch, including at TE. If the line does not come together quickly, the fun comes to a halt.
Defense: The Falcons had the 11th best defense in football last seaosn, and picked off super QB Case Keenum 6 times in the bowl win over Houston. Anthony Wright and Reggie Rembert are super CBs and will be joined by FS Jon Davis as returnees in the secondary. Air Force ranked 5th against the pass in 2009. The front 7 will be thin. LB Andre Morris and DE Rick Ricketts are the lone returnees up front. This group has to come together or else the secondary will get overrun.
Special Teams: Erik Soderberg returns as the PK, and he comes off of a season in which he scored 104 points. Keil Bartholomew will be the new punter, and that's going to be a huge job for the Falcons as field position will be key to breaking in the new front 7 on D.
Wins: 9/4 Northwestern State, 10/9 Colorado State, 10/16 @ San Diego State, 11/13 New Mexico, 11/18 @ UNLV
Toss Up Games: 9/11 BYU, 9/25 @ Wyoming, 11/6 @ Army
Losses: 9/18 @ Oklahoma, 10/2 Navy, 10/23 @ TCU, 10/30 Utah
The schedule guarantees ony 5 wins this season, but it could contribute as many as 8. BYU is in flux, and Wyoming is a very similar team in nature to Air Force. Army has a mean group up front and is very skilled, which could give the Falcons line fits. The Falcons have to steal 2 of the toss games to qualify for a bowl, as Northwestern State is a 1-AA program from the Southland Conference.
Outlook: There is so much skill at the skill spots on offense and in the secondary on defense, but the front group of both units have huge questions in 2010. If those two items are shored up early, than the Falcons will soar to another bowl, if not, they are home to nest come bowl season.