Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Calhoun Press Conference Recap - 9/4

Below are some of the highlights from Air Force coach Troy Calhoun’s press conference Tuesday afternoon along with some other random thoughts.

-Calhoun’s opening remarks: “Utah, this is a good football team. I think what you can tell right away … this is a talented squad, a group that won eight games last season and candidly was the only team that really pushed BYU to the hilt last season. They lost their quarterback, who was a very good player, Brian Johnson, and yet, again, last year he’s a guy that did not play a snap for them. We’re going to face a darn good team, and yet we’re to a point where I think it will give us another indication as to where we are as a football team and where we are as a football program. We need to go out on the road. Because I think you find out a little about your squad from a maturity standpoint whenever you do play an away game.”

-Utah’s Brian Johnson, who was named to the preseason All-Mountain West Conference first team, was injured in the Utes' opener last week. He won’t play against Air Force. Calhoun was asked how much an injury to a quarterback can hurt a team.

“I think it can,” he said. “And yet as you go through August practices, we tell our guys all the time that we’ve got to practice two-deep. And basically up until you get about 10 days out from your opening ballgame, you’ve got to get two-deep ready – I think especially at quarterback. That’s a great training time for him. So it’s not like he’s been out of the fold. (Utah backup Tommy Grady) is a guy, I’m sure, that they’ve had well-prepared to step in there are any time, and a guy that’s a very gifted passer, very gifted player. This is a guy that was one of the top players coming out of high school.”

-For the second time this week, Calhoun praised kicker Ryan Harrison’s tackle against South Carolina State. On one of his sky kicks, the South Carolina returner broke Air Force’s contain and went 45 yards. It would have been longer, but Harrison took him down with a perfect form tackle.

“The play he made in the open field on the return – which should not have been a return – showed that he’s more than just a guy that’s going to wear short socks,” Calhoun said.

According to junior outside linebacker Hunter Altman: “Ryan’s just an amazing player. He’s more gifted than any kicker I’ve seen.”’

-A couple of weeks ago I passed along Scott Peeples’ description of the Air Force offense (the ax vs. hatchet analogy). Utah coach Kyle Whittingham had a pretty good one yesterday.

“It’s like a blend of what they used to do with some West Coast flavor with some spread stuff,” he said.

-Watch out for Wyoming. The stats from the Cowboys’ game against Virginia should be scary to Air Force fans. Wyoming rolled up 471 yards of offense (218 on the ground, 253 through the air) and limited Virginia to just 110 total yards, including seven on the ground.


jim said...

I just read your article "He's Not Satisfied", and you mentioned that Calhoun seemed displeased about the "poor disguising of blitzes and coverages by the defense — specifically the safeties." Since I wasn't able to watch Saturday's game, could you expand on that? I noticed in the game summary that Chris Thomas led the defense in tackles, and that he led one of the sacks of the SCSU quarterback, for a loss of 9 yards. It doesn't sound too bad for the first-time starter, at least on paper. However, without the benefit of watching the game first-hand, I realize that stats don't show the whole picture. What's your take?

jake.schaller said...

Jim -

I'm going to tackle this in a new blog post.

Thanks for the question!

Ben said...


I'm in high school looking to go for a journalism degree in college. I'd like to get some experience in journalism under my belt before college. I like to write, but haven't really considered writing for a paper and I love sports and would find it interesting to write about a team like Air Force. Do you have any suggestions?

jake.schaller said...


Thanks for the question. My suggestion would be to contact your local newspaper - if you're in The Springs, I can put you in touch with the right people at The Gazette. Volunteer to do whatever the sports department needs - and papers always need help. You might be asked to do some menial tasks at first, but you have to start somewhere and eventually, if you do a good job, you'll probably be asked to cover a story.

Then, when you get to college, start writing for your school paper or magazine immediately and try to get an internship or two during school. Those internships can help pave the way to jobs after college.

Let me know if you have any other questions.