Thursday, April 10, 2008

Rembert Looks Good in Blue

Went to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band in San Jose on Saturday night. Amazing show.

To kick off the encore, Bruce played his “Detroit Medley,” which begins and ends with him covering “Devil with a Blue Dress On.”

So what does that have to do with Falcon football? Well, nothing really. Except that I started to hear the song in my head this afternoon at practice after I saw Reggie with a blue shirt on.

That’d be freshman Reggie Rembert – who will start at one cornerback spot next season – donning the color worn at practice by Air Force offensive players.

Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said before the start of spring practice that he’d like to try using Rembert – the most explosive player on his roster – on offense in addition to defense. And Thursday, for the third time in 14 spring practices, Rembert practiced with the offense, lining up at the Falcons’ Z receiver spot – a hybrid running back/receiver position.

“He said after the end of the (2007 season) that we were going to try it out, and if I can’t handle it, then we’ll try it next year," Rembert said, referring to the following spring. “But hopefully he thinks I’m handling it alright.”

So, is he?

It was tough to get a really good read Thursday because, thanks to the weather, the team practiced indoors in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts. But I’ll say this: Of the players on the Air Force roster right now – not counting incoming freshmen – Rembert has the most burst of anyone that touches the ball.

Last year, when he first stepped on the field in August, Rembert immediately stood out because of his speed, agility and play-making ability. It was the same Thursday. He just seemed to have that extra little zip when he got the ball in his hands.

Granted, Air Force doesn’t have a lot of dynamic playmakers on this team, so Rembert looks that much faster. But look for him to become one of the Falcons’ top weapons.

Calhoun said in a perfect world Rembert would play 12 to 15 snaps per game, but “that might be a bit much this year,” he said. “But maybe this year is at a half dozen every other game or something like that. We’ll just have to see.”

Rembert also is handling punt and kickoff returns. But Calhoun has said defense – where he played last season and even started one game in place of an ill Carson Bird – will be his first priority.

“If there’s ever a moment where I think it’s too much,” Calhoun said of playing both ways, “then we will not do it.”

But both Calhoun and Rembert seem confident that Rembert can handle it. Rembert said after three practices with the offense he feels comfortable at Z and knows all the plays. However, he said he doesn’t have the signals for the plays down perfectly. And he’ll need to because Air Force runs a no-huddle offense and gets its plays via signals from the sideline.

“He’s still learning his way a little bit, but that’s not a real difficult spot to learn,” Calhoun said of the Z receiver position. “So I think he can do it. During August he’s going to have to play both sides a little bit for us to make it feasible once we get into the season.”

Rembert said he likes playing both corner and Z, but “I like having the ball,” he said.

Fans will like watching him with it.

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