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Posts Tagged ‘Troy Calhoun’

No. 49: Air Force

You can’t control injuries. There’s nothing a staff can do to keep players on the field and off of crutches; try as one might – and I’m sure there’s a detail-obsessed coach out there who has chewed it over – there’s no way to control the flow of injuries. Typically, those teams that dominate the national title conversation remain largely injury-free, outside of the common nicks and bruises that impact every roster. But for most teams, injuries are a constant, never ending source of pain and anguish. For some the pain stings worse: Air Force, for example, is not a football factory, one that spews out five-star recruits like a slot machine, but rather one of those programs that needs all it can get from each and every player on its roster. Put the Falcons among those teams that must stay healthy – and if they don’t, a once-promising season can quickly take a turn for the worse.

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    Picture the M.W.C. in 2013 and Beyond

    Upon further review of today’s post on Colorado State, one line that I first viewed as a throwaway quote seemed worthy of future examination: “The Mountain West will have a power vacuum after this season,” I wrote, “and there’s no reason why the Rams, after one or two seasons of development, can’t be one of two or three teams capable of filling the void.” While this idea — that the Mountain West will be up for grabs beginning in 2013 — has no impact on Colorado State’s coming season, the idea that the Rams stand as one of a few teams in line to take control of this Boise State-free league come next fall is an important factor for the program to consider as it struggles through an inevitable first-year learning curve under former Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain.

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      Revisiting the Coaching Class of 2007

      We’re now five years removed from the coaching class of 2007. This 24-member group included Neil Callaway, who was discussed yesterday today as part of the U.A.B. preview, as well as more than a few coaching luminaries: Nick Saban, Brian Kelly, Mark Dantonio and Jim Harbaugh, for example. Callaway, who won 18 games over five years with the Blazers, is the impetus for the idea behind the post, as well as just one member of the class of 2007 who never came to close to matching the promises made at their initial press conference. No coach loses his introductory press conference; for many, however, it’s all downhill from there.

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        The Year in Review: Air Force (7-6, 3-4)

        Sometimes, too many cooks spoil the broth. Sometimes, it’s possible to put too much on one’s plate — not in terms of dinner, but in the number of tasks given to an assistant coach. Air Force has a head coach, the underrated Troy Calhoun. He has nine assistants, like everyone else in the country, but only one assistant is given a single task to manage: Matt Weikert handles Air Force’s outside linebackers, and that’s it. Everyone else is doubling down, tripling down or even quadrupling down, and sometimes — as just noted above — it’s possible to put too much on an assistant’s plate. Could that be happening at Air Force?

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          K.U.’s Search Moves Ahead From Fedora

          As of Friday, Larry Fedora was a clear target. And an attainable target, one firmly on Kansas’s radar once the university dismissed Turner Gill after two seasons in Lawrence. Fedora may not have topped the program’s wish list, but he was on the most-wanted list — this even after his team lost to U.A.B. in November. Then came Saturday, when Southern Mississippi kicked Houston up and down its home field for 60 minutes, and lo and behold: Fedora is no longer on Kansas’s radar.

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            Thinking About Who’s Next at Arizona

            Where does Arizona go next? Defensive coordinator Tim Kish will run the show for the rest of 2011, but we know the track record of interim coaches becoming the permanent replacement at the end of their partial-season audition: there have been coaches who parlayed a short stint into the full-time position, but it’s a short list. Barring the near-impossible, the overwhelming odds point towards athletic director Greg Byrne and Arizona opening up the job formerly held by Mike Stoops to a nationwide search. Does the university want someone with prior head coach experience? An offensive-minded coach, a defense-first coach? Perhaps the only certainty is that Arizona wants a coach with a more stoic, less demonstrative manner – the anti-Stoops, in short. Let’s look at a few names the Wildcats may consider:

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              No. 23: Air Force

              Wouldn’t it be great if Air Force ran the Air Raid offense? You know, throwing the ball into the wide blue yonder, passes climbing high into the sun before falling gently into a receiver’s hands for six. Unfortunately, the Air Force offense is all meat-and-potatoes, no flash or frills, just the running game. Third-to-last in passing in 2010, no higher than 117th in the F.B.S. since 2006, the Falcons adopted this philosophy long before Paul Johnson revamped Navy and decades before Rich Ellerson did the same at Army. If it’s not broke, why fix it? Yeah, the Air Force Academy puts men and women in the skies, but that doesn’t mean the football program needs to do more than run on first down, run on second down, run on third-and-short and then, if need be, run the ball to convert on fourth down. It’s a philosophy the football program has embraced with open arms for decades.

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                Georgia Tech’s Mistakes Loom Large

                It’s fitting, I suppose, that a dreadfully disappointing season would end in such a dreadfully disappointing manner. Far from taking another step forward in Paul Johnson’s third season — history had shown the third year under his watch to be a turning point — Georgia Tech enters the winter nursing its wounds, eyeballing a cloudier future at the tail end of a 6-7 finish, the program’s first sub-.500 campaign since 1996.

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                  The Countdown

                  A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.