Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Not satisfied

I meant to blog about this last night, but it still makes sense this morning, as I can piggy-back off what columnist David Ramsey wrote about in today’s edition of The Gazette.

Air Force’s 3-0 start is nice, but coaches aren’t letting players get too happy.

On Monday, defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter (the subject of Ramsey’s column), abruptly stopped practice near the end of the session and gathered his defensive players. He made them do a series of “up-downs,” (a conditioning drill) as punishment and then got in the players’ faces and screamed at them.

He demanded to see each of his players’ eyes and then told them that their effort in practice wasn’t near good enough. He reminded them that they were playing the defending Mountain West Conference champions this weekend. And he reminded them that those champs (the BYU Cougars) have beaten the Falcons convincingly the last three years.

“We didn’t have a great practice,” DeRuyter said afterwards. “Guys got to understand, if we really want to play for a championship, we’ve got to play like champions and practice like champions every time we come out. And we were just sloppy today. I don’t know if it was the weather, the weekend, what it was, but we had too much of a hangover.”

After the practice Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said his team has to improve “across the board” if it wants to be “a really good football team.”

“I’m not as pleased with the offense as we should be, I’m not as pleased with our defense as we should be,” he said. “I just look the other night – offense, there were too many parts of the game where we struggled and defense, we gave up way too many yards. We bent a lot the other night on defense. And then kicking game-wise, we’re just too inconsistent. So we’ve got plenty we can work on.”

One other note: Air Force likely will continue to use a rotation of tailbacks this season. Kip McCarthy seemed to seize the starting spot in the Falcons’ opener, but he’s been hampered by a knee injury. Jim Ollis seemed to seize the starting role with his performance against TCU, but his left ankle continues to give him problems. Either one – or Savier Stephens or senior Chad Smith or a combination of all of them – could carry the load this Saturday.

Check back later tonight for a recap of Calhoun’s Tuesday press conference.


Anonymous said...

Chad Smith is already back? How does he look? He just had surgery in late August. What about Brenton Byrd? Is he in the Mix?

AF has had 3 100yr Rushers: McCarthy, Ollis, and Carney. How many others will crack 100 yards before the season is over? Hall? Chad Smith? Stephens? Ryan Williams?

jake.schaller said...

Yes. Smith is back, and he likely will play this weekend. He's way ahead of schedule.

Byrd, I think is in the mix, but he's still behind the Smith/Ollis/McCarthy/Savier Stephens crew.

Air Force has six players who have rushed for 79 and 175 yards. That's what you call a committee of backs.

Ben said...

You know, I find it odd that the coached aren't praising the team more for their first 3-0 start ever. Don't get me wrong, I understand that they're prepping the team for BYU, who might be even more difficult than TCU, but can't you take a day at least to praise the guys for a HUGE upset?

On the note of 3-0... didn't Air Force go 6-0 to start the season back in 2002 when Chance Herridge was at the helm? Am I just pulling that out of thin air?

Anonymous said...

Yes we are winning, but the defensive pass coverage is a little weak. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

This new coaching staff are going to tell it like it is and a lackluster practice will not help to beat BYU, doesn't matter who they have played recently. As far as Air Force is concerned (and measured by) they are only as good as their last game. A loss to BYU puts Air Force out of the "contender" category, and into the category of a team who got lucky playing some banged up teams when they were at their weakest. BYU will be ready and mostly healthy, something TCU and Utah were not when they were played.

And Ben, the 3-0 start is for a new coach. Air Force has gone 3-0 several times before, but this only the second time a new coach has done it in his first season.

I just hope Air Force is going to be ready for BYU. I think this will easily be the toughest game for the falcons so far.

Anonymous said...

Ultimately, if Air Force comes out of September 4-1, then we are in super-good shape. Not only would this set us up nicely for a bowl game but still leaving in contention for the MWC. I think the conference champ will have two losses. And BYU still needs to play Utah and TCU.

jake.schaller said...

Hi all,

Yes, AF did start the 2002 season 6-0. Then went 2-5 from there. The Falcons started 2003 6-1 and went 1-4 from there.

As for not praising the team. ... I'm sure the coaches were praising them like crazy in the locker room after the game. But once they started back to practice, the coaches needed to get the focus on the next game. You can never get too excited about a season - as coach Calhoun says, if you're standing still, you're getting passed. And there's a looooooong weay to go this season. The start is nice, but, as was pointed out, AF got some wins over some teams that had injury problems.

This one against BYU (and the following week against Navy) will tell us a lot about this Air Force team.

Ben said...

I was listening to the weekly teleconference audio yesterday and a reporter asked Coach if we were in contention for being a BCS Buster. If I remember correctly, I believe Coach's response went something like this. "Absolutely not." I'm not saying that if we continue to win, then we could possibly be the Boise State of 2007. We need to just take this season one game at a time. BYU and Navy will be the big tests of this year, and we'll have to live up to those 8 votes cast for us in the top 25 poll.

This may be jumping ahead a bit, but I think that with Notre Dame's poor performance against a lackluster Michigan team on Saturday is actually good for us. I think it gives us a fighting chance in the "House that Rockne Built."

Anonymous said...

This team won't fade down the stretch like previous teams. I imagine Calhoun picked up a few things in the NFL about keeping teams fresh for 16 week seasons. Also, our schedule gets easier. SDSU, Army and Notre Dame will not be world beaters.

Notre Dame's lousy season will diminish any slim chance we have for a BCS Bowl. Too bad Navy is having an off year too.

Ben said...

Do you think that our reputation from the the past three years played into the minds of the top 35 voters? I think that we should have at least broken the top 30, but I think that it's reputation that left us out this week, and I think that our reputation will play a part in the voting if we do infact earn a BCS berth.

Ben said...

Typographical error - In my last post, I said the 'top 35 voters." I meant the top 25 voters.

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