Depth chart day.
As I wrote in an article that will appear in tomorrow’s Gazette, the biggest surprise on coach Troy Calhoun’s new depth chart was the placement of senior Bobby Giannini – at backup free safety.
Giannini was an honorable mention all-conference performer in 2005 and has started every game the past two seasons. But Air Force’s coaching staff has sent a message that past deeds will not be rewarded this season, and Giannini – in part due to a pair of nagging injuries – has not played like one of the two best safeties on the team so far in the preseason.
“We’re going to play productive guys,” Air Force defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter said. “Bobby knows what to do, and he’s dinged up a little bit. He’s got to be able to go out and be productive and strain his body more.”
Kudos to Giannini for the way he handled the news. Not only did he refuse to blame his injuries, he admitted he hasn’t played as well as he can and should.
“Coach DeRuyter told me I need to work for it, and I came out today with the attitude that I was going to get (the starting position) back,” he said. “It’s early (in the preseason), and I think they’re really trying to push me. That’s what good coaches do, they push their players, and I’m looking forward to getting that spot back.”
Giannini, who ended up practicing with the starting defense today anyway because Chris Thomas was resting his right knee, did have an extra bounce in his step. He dove in an attempt to make an interception and threw his body into a ball carrier along the sidelines during a seven-on-seven drill.
Who stood out: Kip McCarthy. The senior tailback, who has been practicing with the starting offense since the first day of contact drills, looked sharp and ran hard.
Lasting image: DeRuyter admonishing a group of linebackers for trying to hide from the heat in the shade provided by a tarp. “Get out from under the shade – now!” DeRuyter yelled.
Coach's quote: “What you do is the guys that are playing the best play the most. I don’t get too wrapped up in the depth chart because I don’t think, when you’ve got a healthy football program, I don’t think it’s ever static.” – Troy Calhoun
One last note – if you’re looking for freshman cornerback Reggie Rembert out at practice, he’s now wearing No. 8.