As you’ll read in Monday's edition of The Gazette, Air Force coach Troy Calhoun has a laundry list of things upon which his Falcons have to improve before facing Utah on Saturday.
Typically, this is what happens when coaches get a chance to watch film of a game. There always are plenty of problems spotted – even in blowouts.
Calhoun said that even before watching the game tape, he "had a gut feeling that it certainly wasn’t a Mona Lisa.”
It was a start, though. And getting a victory in the opener was critical for this Air Force team, no matter the opponent.
Sometimes, when teams go into tailspins, players forget how to win. That might sound silly, but it’s true. In the same way that winning breeds winning and inspires more and more confidence, losses breed more losing and fertilizes doubt. Instead of expecting something good to happen, players wait for something to go wrong.
Case in point: losing to UNLV last season. Had Air Force played the Rebels early last year or even mid-way through the season, the result would have been different. But coming into that game on a slide and one week after losing as time expired to Utah made the Falcons vulnerable.
With one victory, maybe Air Force has built up a little confidence. The Falcons certainly will need it for the four-game stretch that awaits them. At Utah, home against conference favorite TCU, at defending conference champion BYU, at rival Navy. Considering the ugly way in which Notre Dame lost on Saturday, I would argue that these next four games are the Falcons’ toughest of the season.
There still will be seven games left after September, but the rest of this month will tell a whole lot about how the Falcons’ season will unfold.