Thursday, August 9, 2007

Practice Wrap - 8/9

There no doubt was a ton of enthusiasm and effort during the first week of preseason practice at Air Force.

But it will be interesting to see what happens during the next couple of weeks now that classes have started at the academy.

Coach Troy Calhoun and quarterback Shaun Carney both said all the right things on Thursday – that players can’t allow the early start to the academic year to affect their practices, that this is part of what players at the academy have to deal with, etc.

Still, it’s a lot easier to be ready for practice when you don’t have to worry about studying and you don’t have to get up at 6:45 in the morning.

One thing working in the Falcons’ favor – the fact that Calhoun and most of his assistants graduated from the academy. Having gone through what their players are going through, coaches should have a better idea of when to push the players and when to ease off the gas.

Who stood out: Nose guard Ryan Gonzales. At 6-foot-3 and 300 pounds, Gonzales is the most physically imposing player on the Air Force roster. He was listed third on the Falcons’ last depth chart, but Thursday he took some snaps with the first-team defense.

“There’s still times he doesn’t play with his hands and his pads as well as he needs to, and yet he does have moments too where he’s hard to move just because he’s a natural knee-bender,” Calhoun said. “He’s a guy that I think ought to be able to give us a bunch of snaps this fall.”


Anonymous said...

Jake--about the 6:45 wake-up---Most of the players were up during preaseason practice days by at least 7:00am because they had to be at breakfast by 7:45, and most arrived earlier than that for the beginning of those 8:45 practices. Freshman were up all summer at 4:30 am for that matter, as were the cadre that trained them. Still other player have worked all summer with early wake up times!
I think the practices, which were originally scheduled for the afternoons, were moved because of the threat of afternoon weather, but served another purpose in that they got the players ready for the early "wake-ups" once school started. The seasoned veterans (juniors and seniors) have been through all this before. Personally, I don't think that the intensity at practices will be maintained. I think it will ESCALATE now that we are looking at SC state looming closer and closer on the calendar. Just my two cents. GO FALCONS!

Anonymous said...

school is easy at the start of the semster. Falcons always seem to play well in September. Players at civilian schools are still on a mental summer vacation during training camp. No sense of urgency.

Anonymous said...

Last comment poster has a good point. Maybe that is why AF traditionally starts strong and then as other schools' athletes are getting mentally focused, ours are "burning out." The last staff accepted that, maybe a little too much. This staff will understand, (empathy carries more weight than sympathy) and do things to help, but will accept no excuses. That's why Calhoun's group will be great for AFA football. A scheduling note that helps the aforementioned trend---All our big conference foes are at the beginning. That would seem to bode well for us, providing we can remain good from an injury standpoint. Time will tell.

jake.schaller said...

All good points. Thanks so much to all for writing in.
The schedule is interesting. I would argue that four of Air Force's five toughest games this year will take place in September (at Utah, v. TCU, at BYU, at Navy). So if Air Force plays its best early, maybe it is good to get the toughest teams first. However, Air Force could play well in September - very well - and still come out of the month 1-4. Not saying that it will happen, just that it's a possibility.
The two most critical games on the schedule, in my opinion are at Utah and at Navy. TCU might just be too good this year (even though the Falcons are catching the Horned Frogs just four days after they face Texas) and winning at BYU will be tough.
But the Utah and Navy games are very winnable.

Anonymous said...

Good comments, Mr. Schaller.
As frustrating as a 1-4 start would be, if that ONE is against Navy, it would be huge encouragment for heading into the softer part of the schedule beginning in October. For some, a 2-4 start with a loss to Navy would be in some ways even more frustrating, especially since one of the wins would have been a huge upset (BYU or TCU), and the team would have shown its potential to beat the midshipmen. Having said all of that, if the Falcons ARE 1 and 4 to start the season, lose to Notre Dame and win the rest, they are probably bowl bound at 7 and 5, and all the wins at the end would make the losses earlier in the season less "defining" if you will, of the early "Calhoun" era.