Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Practice Wrap - 8/8

Talk about a headline writer’s dream – freshman tailback Savier Stephens of Jacksonville, Fla., began practicing with the Falcons on Wednesday afternoon.

I’ve already got a suggestion, should Stephens win the starting tailback spot this season: “Air Force’s backfield Savier.” Any good? Or how about if he has a great practice and coach Troy Calhoun says all sorts of great things about him to the media? I’d go with: “Calhoun praises Savier.” Or what if he has a great game against Notre Dame? I’ve got about 20 here, 12 of which involve, “Touchdown Jesus,” but I better refrain.

Who stood out: Kicker Ryan Harrison. On the turf field during Wednesday’s morning session, Harrison split the uprights with a 55-yard attempt.

“He kicked well this morning,” Calhoun said. “He was in the neighborhood of like 10 for 11. He was down on the turf with pressure coming at him, and he hit the ball well today.”

Also, defensive end Josh Clayton looked good shedding blocks in Air Force’s afternoon “lightning drill,” and outside linebacker Julian Madrid seemed to be around the ball a lot in seven-on-seven and team drills.

Lasting image: Air Force players in red jerseys doing sit-ups and push-ups on the side of a hill during Wednesday’s second session. Red jerseys always have been worn by players who cannot play because of injury. But under Calhoun and new strength and conditioning coach Matt McGettigan, those who sit out practice might work harder than those on the field.

In addition to keeping the kids who don’t participate in practice in shape, the drills run by McGettigan act as a deterrent. Sitting out an extra practice to nurse a bump or a bruise isn’t going to happen too much anymore now that injured players aren’t just watching practice from the sideline.

Coach’s quote: “It’s like drinking from a firehose for them – they’re getting the full dose.” – Troy Calhoun on the freshmen football players’ first few days of practice.

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