Aug. 25, 2008
Complete Media Notes - AF vs. SUU - in PDF Format
Air Force vs. Southern Utah
Saturday, Sept. 1, 12:05 p.m. Mtn.
Falcon Stadium (46,692); USAF Academy, CO
KVOR AM 740 in Colorado Springs
1510 KCKK AM in Denver and Northern Colorado
Jim Arthur (play-by-play); Lee Douglas (anaylst); Jay Ritchie (pre- and post-game)
Air Force opens season by hosting Southern Utah
Air Force opens the 2008 season, its 53rd season of varsity football, by hosting Southern Utah on Saturday, Aug. 30, at noon in Falcon Stadium. The Falcons enter their second season with Troy Calhoun as head coach. Air Force puts an undefeated home record (6-0) in the Calhoun era on the line when SUU comes to town.
Air Force is undefeated against teams from the Football Championship Subdivision, formerally known as Division I-AA. The Falcons defeated South Carolina State, 34-3, in the season opener last year. Air Force is 12-0 all-time vs. teams from the FCS.
This weekend is Parent's Weekend at the Academy. Parent's Weekend is when parents of freshmen cadets have the opportunity to visit the Academy and see their sons and daughters for the first time since they arrived at Basic Cadet Training at the end of June. There are several events, including parades, throughout the weekend. The football game has typically been part of the tradition for about the last 20 years.
Air Force is 31-19-2 overall in season openers, including a 26-8 mark in season openers at home. This is the first-ever meeting between the Falcons and Southern Utah and the first time Air Force has played a team from the Great West Conference.
Falcon's Nest (U1 and U13) tickets are available this week for just $5. The first 5,000 fans into Falcon Stadium will receive a free rally towel.
Tickets still remain for the season opener. Fans may call the Air Force athletic ticket office at 800-666-USAF or 719-472-1895. Fans may also purchase tickets on the internet at goairforcefalcons.com. Falcon Stadium's capacity is 46,692.
Air Force is 31-19-2 overall in season openers, including a 26-8 mark in season openers at home. This season marks the eighth time overall and second straight year that Air Force has opened a season at home against a Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) team. The Falcons are 7-0 in the previous meetings. Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun is 1-0 in season openers, as Air Force defeated South Carolina State, 34-3, last season. Air Force enters this week with a nine-game winning streak in home openers vs. unranked opponents. Air Force's last loss at home to an unranked opponent to open the season was vs. Colorado State, 34-21, in 1994.
This week's game marks the first between Air Force and Southern Utah. The teams played no common opponents during the 2007 season and are not scheduled to play any in 2008.
Air Force vs. Football Championship Subdivision teams
Air Force is 12-0 all-time against teams from the Football Championship Subdivision (Formerly NCAA Division I-AA).
Year Team Result
2008 Southern Utah --
2007 South Carolina State W, 34-3
2004 Eastern Washington W, 42-20
2003 Wofford W, 49-0
2001 Tennessee Tech W, 42-0
2000 Cal State Northridge W, 55-6
1999 Villanova W, 37-13
1997 Idaho W, 14-10
The Citadel W, 17-3
1993 The Citadel W, 35-0
Indiana State W, 35-0
1991 Weber State W, 48-31
1990 The Citadel W, 10-7
Air Force vs. Great West Conference
Southern Utah is the first team Air Force has eve played from the Great West Conference.
First career starts
Air Force has seven players scheduled to make the first start of their career this week, including quarterback Shea Smith. Others making their first start include: OC Andrew Pipes, TB Kyle Lumpkin, WR-Z Kyle Halderman, ILBs Brandon Reeves and Ken Lamendola and CB Brenton Byrd-Fullbright.
Ties to Utah
Air Force's only tie to Utah is sophomore fullback Jared Tew, who is a native of Park City, Utah, and played football at Park City High School. Tew was a three-year lettermen in football and lettered once each in basketball and track.
Air Force vs. non-conference foes
Air Force is 7-9 against non-conference opponents dating back to 2004. After losing four in a row to non-conference opponents in 2005-06, Air Force posted a 4-3 mark over the last seven games, including a 3-2 mark last season. Air Force lost its last game vs. a non-conference oppoent in the 2007 Armed Forces Bowl vs. California.
Year Date Opponent Score
2004 Sept. 4 California L 14-56
Sept. 11 E. Washington W 42-20
Sept. 30 Navy L 21-24
Nov. 6 at Army W 31-22
2005 Sept. 3 Washington (N) W 20-17
Oct. 8 at Navy L 24-27
Nov. 5 Army L 24-27
2006 Sept. 9 at Tennessee L 30-31
Oct. 7 Navy L 17-24
Nov. 3 at Army W 43-7
Nov. 10 Notre Dame L 17-39
2007 Sept. 1 South Carolina St. W 34-3
Sept. 29 at Navy L 20-31
Nov. 3 Army W 30-10
Nov. 10 at Notre Dame W 41-24
Dec. 31 California (N) L 36-42
Undefeated in August
Air Force is 7-0 all-time in the month of August, including a 3-0 mark in games played on Aug. 30. This season's Aug. 30 opener ties as the earliest in school history. The Falcons also opened the season Aug. 30 in 1986, 1997 and 2003. All seven previous August games have been played in Falcon Stadium. A closer look at Air Force's all-time results in August follows below.
Date Opponent Result
Aug. 31, 1985 UTEP W 48-6
Aug. 30, 1986 Hawai'i W 24-17
Aug. 31, 1991 Weber State W 48-31
Aug. 31, 1996 San Jose State W 45-0
Aug. 30, 1997 Idaho W 14-10
Aug. 31, 2002 Northwestern W 52-3
Aug. 30, 2003 Wofford W 49-0
Young team in 2008
Air Force will feature one of its youngest teams in recent history in 2008. The Falcons lost 15 starters from the 2007 squad that finished 9-4 overall and placed second in the Mountain West Conference with a 6-2 mark. The team lost eight starters on offense, including four-year starting quarterback Shaun Carney and all-purpose back Chad Hall, the conference offensive player of the year. Only offensive linemen Nick Charles and Keith Williams, along with tight end Travis Dekker return on offense.
Defensively, the Falcons lost six starters, including first-team all-conference linebackers John Rabold (2007) and Drew Fowler (2006) as well as first-team all-MWC cornerback Carson Bird, the conference's leader in interceptions last year. Five of the top six defensive linemen return, along with outside linebacker Hunter Altman and safety Chris Thomas.
The Falcons lost deep snapper Tony Norman, and return specialist Hall. Kicker Ryan Harrison, who handles all the kicking and punting duties returns.
In terms of games played and started, the Falcons lost 14 players with 30 career games played, plus four more with 25 career games played. In addition, seven players with 20 or more career starts will not return in 2008.
The Falcons have three freshmen on the varsity depth chart compared to two on the opening depth chart last season. Last season, Reggie Rembert and Savier Stephens appeared on the two-deep depth chart for the opening game last season, while this season A.J. Wallerstein (OG), Anthony Wright (CB) and Caleb Konemann (OLB) appear this season.
Air Force lost six players with 20 or more career starts from last season's squad. Air Force doesn't have a player on this year's roster with 20 or more career starts. Junior guard Nick Charles (18) and safety Chris Thomas (14) are the most experienced returners in terms of games started.
Percentage of Offense / Defense lost to graduation
Category Lost Pct Lost Notes
Passing yards 1,491 95.7 Top passer lost
Rushing yards 3,482 89.4 Top six rushers lost
Receiving 952 61.1 Top two receivers lost
Punt returns 176 100.0 Top punt returner lost
Scoring 210 54.0 Three of top four scoreres lost
All-purpose yards 5,254 79.8 Top four lost
Total offense 4,974 91.2 Top six lost
Interceptions 14 ints 93.3 Top three and seven of top eight lost
Tackles 534 53.2 Team leader, four of top five lost
Looking to keep the streak alive
Air Force is undefeated (6-0) at home under head coach Troy Calhoun. The Falcons posted just the third undefeated home season in school history last year, joining the 1985 and 1998 squads as the only perfect teams at home. Air Force has been dominant in its six home games with Calhoun at the helm. The Falcons have out-scored their opponents 31.7 points per-game to 13.2. The team has scored 20 or more points in every game while allowing fewer than 20 in five of six games. A closer look at the team's home field success follows:
Home winning streak
9-1 South Carolina State - W 34-2
9-13 TCU* - W 20-17 ot
10-6 UNLV* - W 31-14
10-20 Wyoming* - W 20-12
11-3 Army - W 30-10
11-17 San Diego St.* - W 55-23
* - MWC games
Category Air Force Opponent
Scoring 31.7 13.2
Rushing Avg 332.7 100.0
Passing Avg 128.7 255.2
Total Offense Avg 461.3 355.2
Turnover Margin +7 -7
Time of Possession 30:59 29:01
Recent QB debuts in school history
Shea Smith or Eric Herbort will make his debut as Air Force's starting quarterback this week.
Some Air Force quarterbacks have had memorable debuts in recent history. Two of the most notable came in 1998 with Cale Bonds and 1994 with Beau Morgan. Bonds stepped in for an injured Blane Morgan and helped Air Force roll past Navy, 49-7. Bonds rushed for 167 yards and two touchdowns and hit nine of 13 passes for 194 yards and two more scores. Beau Morgan replaced an injured Preston McConnell and led Air Force to a stunning, 40-33 victory over 10th-ranked Utah in Falcon Stadium. Morgan rushed for 85 yards and touchdown and hit seven of 16 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns. He started every game from that point for the remainder of his career. A closer look at some recent debuts follows below.
Year Quarterback Opponent, Result Statistics
2004 Shaun Carney California, L 56-14 18-75 rushing; 9-15-1-89 yds, TD passing
2002 Chance Harridge Northwestern, W 52-3 16-94-2TDs rushing; 5-7, 47 yards passing, TD
2001 Keith Boyea Oklahoma, L 3-44 19-80 rushing; 11-23-1-112 yds passing
1999 Mike Thiessen Navy, W 19-14 18-108 TD rushing; 1-7, 23 yards passing
1998 Cale Bonds Navy, W 49-7 16-167, 2 TDs rushing;
9-13-194 yds, 2TDs passing
1997 Blane Morgan Idaho, W 14-10 13-49 rushing; 10-18-1-143 yards passing
1994 Beau Morgan Utah, W 40-33 28-85 yds, TD rushing;
7-16-0, 175 yds 2 TDs passing
1993 Scott Teigen Indiana State, W 63-21 9-23 yds, TD rushing;
6-14-1-99 yds, 2 TDs passing
1993 Demond Cash San Diego St., L 31-38 18-172, TD rushing; 3-9-1-46 yards passing
One of America's top coaches
Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun is quickly becoming one of America's top coaches. In his first year at Air Force, the 1989 Academy graduate led the Falcons to the most wins ever by a first-year head coach, along with the nine wins by Ben Martin in 1958. Calhoun led the team to six conference wins which is the most ever by a first-year head coach, breaking the mark of four set by Fisher DeBerry in 1984.
Calhoun began his coaching career at the Academy, then after serving his military committment, was an assistant at Ohio University, later becoming the offensive coordinator. He was the offensive coordinator at Wake Forest before joining the National Football League with the Denver Broncos from 2003-05. He was the offensive coorinator for the Houston Texans in 2006 before returning to his alma mater last season as the sixth head coach in school history.
Calhoun was named the AFCA Region 5 Coach of the Year for 2007. Calhoun, who was also named the Mountain West Conference coach of the year, joined five other coaches to win the honor.
Calhoun enters 2008 tied for third in Mountain West Conference history in career winning percentage in conference games with a .750 mark (6-2).
Winningest MWC Coaches
# Name, School Tenure Record Pct.
1. Urban Myer, Utah 2003-05 13-1 .929
2. Bronco Mendenhall 2005- 21-3 .875
3. Gary Patterson, TCU 2005- 18-6 .750
Troy Calhoun, Air Force 2007- 6-2 .750
Calhoun ranked fifth, Mueh fourth
Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun was named Colorado Spring's fifth most influential sports figure by the Colorado Springs Gazette last week. Director of Athletics Dr. Hans Mueh was ranked fourth the following day. The paper ranked the top 20 influential sports figures in the Pikes Peak region. Air Force hockey coach Frank Serratore ranked 20th.
Air Force's record-breaking 2007 season
Air Force finished the 2007 season with a 9-4 overall mark and a 6-2 mark in the Mountain West Conference for a second-place finish.
Air Force posted a five-game turnaround from 2006, when the team was 4-8, which is the second-best turnaround in school history and best since 1957-58 (six games)
The team's nine wins are the most since 2000, when the team went 9-3
Air Force's 6-2 MWC mark is the best in school history and best conference mark overall since going 7-1 in the WAC in 1998
Air Force posted just the third undefeated home record (6-0) in school history
Air Force posted the nation's third-largest turnaround in 2007. The Falcons improved five games from 2006's 4-8 mark to finish the season at 9-4. Only Illinois, who had a seven-game improvement, and Kansas' six-game turnaround ranked better.
Team 2007 2006 Improvement
Illinois 9-4 2-10 +7
Kansas 12-1 6-6 +6
Air Force 9-4 4-8 +5
UCF 9-3 4-8 +5
UConn 9-5 4-8 +5
Memphis 7-5 2-10 +5
Air Force conference/national rushing numbers
Air Force has won 24 conference rushing titles since joining conference play in 1980.
In 2002, the Falcons won the school's first national rushing title with a 307.8 per-game average.
The Falcons won their 10th straight conference title in 2007 with its best average since 2002.
Year Stats Conf. National
1980 170.7 5th 79th
1981 185.1 4th 53rd
1982 301.7 1st 4th
1983 246.5 1st 2nd
1984 326.5 1st 2nd
1985 293.2 1st 6th
1986 232.6 1st 15th
1987 386.3 1st 2nd
1988 377.5 1st 2nd
1989 356.0 1st 3rd
1990 267.5 1st 7th
1991 338.1 1st 2nd
1992 242.4 2nd 7th
1993 284.9 1st 4th
1994 304.8 1st 2nd
1995 332.4 1st 2nd
1996 328.9 1st 2nd
1997 332.7 2nd 9th
1998 266.8 1st 3rd
1999 285.5 1st 2nd
2000 294.9 1st 2nd
2001 273.2 1st 3rd
2002 307.8 1st 1st
2003 280.6 1st 4th
2004 277.4 1st 4th
2005 246.5 1st 8th
2006 229.4 1st 3rd
2007 299.5 1st 2nd
Falcons picked sixth at MWC media day
Two-time defending Mountain West Conference football champion BYU was predicted to capture its third consecutive title in 2008 in a poll of media members. The Cougars made their second straight undefeated run in conference play in 2007, compiling an 8-0 mark against league opponents en route to an 11-2 overall record and a Top 20 ranking in the final USA Today Coaches (t-14), Associated Press (14) and Harris (18) polls.
BYU returns 10 starters from an offensive unit that ranked among the top 25 nationally in passing and total offense a year ago. The Cougars are led by first-team all-MWC honorees Max Hall (QB), Dennis Pitta (TE), Ray Feinga (OL) and Dallas Reynolds (OL). Three starters also return on defense for BYU, which ranked among the top 10 nationally in scoring, rushing and total defense. BYU, which enters the 2008 season with the nation's longest win streak at 10 games, received 29 first-place votes and a total of 299 points.
Utah was chosen second with 274 points and five first-place votes. The Utes tied for third place (5-3) in Conference play in 2007, winning eight of their last nine games and ending the season with a 9-4 mark overall. Utah, which enters the season with the nation's second-longest bowl win streak at seven games, returns six starters from a defense that ranked among the top 20 nationally in scoring, pass and total defense last season.
TCU was picked to finish third after posting an 8-5 record (4-4 MWC) and winning its third consecutive bowl game last season. The Horned Frogs, who return eight starters on offense and six on defense, totaled 239 points in the poll.
New Mexico was chosen fourth with 197 points, followed by Wyoming (5th - 156 points), Air Force (6th - 141 points), San Diego State (7th - 92 points), Colorado State (8th - 73 points) and UNLV (9th - 59 points).
# Team Points
1. BYU (29) 299
2. Utah (5) 274
3. TCU 239
4. New Mexico 197
5. Wyoming 156
6. Air Force 141
7. San Diego State 92
8. Colorado State 73
9. UNLV 59
Air Force's history in the MWC poll (Year - Where AF selected)
Year Selection Finish/Difference
1999 2nd (3) 7th / -5
2000 4th 2nd / +2
2001 5th T5th / 0
2002 5th (1) T3rd / +2
2003 3rd (1) T4th / -1
2004 7th T4th / +3
2005 7th 7thj / 0
2006 7th T6th / +1
2007 7th 2nd / +5
(#) - First place votes
Air Force sixth nationally
n Air Force has scored in 181 consecutive games dating back to 1992.
n The Falcons were last shutout by Mississippi, 13-0, in the 1992 Liberty Bowl.
n Air Force's streak is the second-longest active streak of teams in the Mountain West Conference and the sixthlongest in the country.
# School Streak Last Shutout
1. Michigan 287 Oct. 20, 1984 at Iowa (0-26)
2. Washington State 274 Sept. 15, 1984 at Ohio State (0-44)
3. Florida 242 Oct. 29, 1988 vs. Auburn (0-16)
4. Colorado 235 Nov. 12, 1988 at Nebraska (0-7)
5. TCU (MWC) 189 Nov. 16, 1991 at Texas (0-32)
6. Air Force (MWC) 181 #--Dec. 31, 1992 vs. Mississippi (0-13), #--Liberty Bowl)
Playing best when it matters most
The Falcons entered 2007 with a 12-24 record over the last six games of the regular season since 2001. The Falcons went 5-1 last season over the final six games which is the best mark since the 1998 team was 6-0.
Final 6 Regular Season Games
Total 12-24 (Entering 2007)
- The Falcons have blocked 101 kicks since 1990.
- Air Force blocked two kicks last season, a field goal by Chris Thomas vs. TCU and a field goal vs. Navy by Ryan Kemp.
- Jake Paulson (PAT vs. UNLV in 2006), Hunter Altman (Punt vs. UNLV in 2006), Chris Thomas (FG vs. TCU) and Ryan Kemp (FG vs. Navy) are current Falcons with a blocked kick in their career.
Year-by-Year Blocks Since 1990
Year Total Punts FGs PATs
1990 6 3 1 2
1991 3 1 1 1
1992 8 6 1 1
1993 5 2 3 0
1994 5 4 1 0
1995 3 1 2 0
1996 4 1 3 0
1997 11* 7 3 1 * - school record
1998 7 4 3 0
1999 8 6 1 1
2000 9 4 2 3
2001 7 2 3 2
2002 4 3 1 0
2003 7 3 3 1
2004 2 0 0 2
2005 3 2 0 1
2006 7 2 0 5
2007 2 0 2 0
Totals 101 51 30 20
Rushing for 100 is the key
Air Force was 9-1 last season in games when when it had a player rush for over 100 yards and 8-2 when they out-rushed their opponents. The list of 100-yard rushers for each game follows below:
Game Player Yards
South Carolina St. Kip McCarthy 129 W 34-3
Utah Shaun Carney 113 W 20-12
TCU Jim Ollis 138 W 20-17 OT
UNLV Chad Hall 169 W 31-14
Colorado State Chad Hall 256 W 45-21
Wyoming Chad Hall 167 W 20-12
Army Chad Hall 275 W 30-10
Notre Dame Chad Hall 142 W 41-24
San Diego State Jim Ollis 163 W 55-23
Chad Hall 151
Ty Paffett 105
California Shaun Carney 108 L 36-42
Jim Ollis 101
Air Force takes it away
The Air Force defense had 28 takeaways last season which ranked second in the Mountain West Conference behind only Utah (33). The Falcons scored 120 points off those turnovers. The team's +10 turnover margin ranked second in the MWC and 15th in the nation. The Falcons forced 15 interceptions and 13 fumble recoveries.
Air Force takeaways and +/- in last 10 years
Year Takeaways(Int./Fum.) +/- W/L
2007 28 (15/13) +10 9-4
2006 22 (9/13) +8 4-8
2005 17 (9/8) -7 4-7
2004 17 (9/8) +1 5-7
2003 23 (13/10) +6 7-5
2002 26 (12/14) +9 8-5
2001 28 (14/14) +8 6-6
2000 19 (7/12) +7 9-3
1999 14 (8/6) -4 6-5
1998 30 (17/13) +17 12-1
Air Force football best in MWC, among the nation's best in academic success
The Air Force Academy football team, along with men's basketball, wrestling and men's and women's outdoor track and field were honored by the NCAA for being in the top 10 percent of their respective sports in the Academic Performance Reports (APR), released last summer.
Air Force continues to be the leader in academic excellence among the Mountain West Conference. The football team's score of 975 ranked highest among the nine-team MWC. Air Force is one of only five football playing Division I institutions to post a four-year APR in the top 10 percent nationally while playing in a major conference with the football bowl subdivision. Duke, Rice, Rutgers and Stanford are the other four.
Air Force football also tops the MWC in the other NCAA academic benchmark of graduation success rate. The Falcons have a 92 percent graduation success rate. The rate is more than 20 percent higher than any other school within the conference.
Top MWC Programs
APR: Graduation Success Rates
Air Force -- 976 Air Force -- 92
TCU -- 959 SDSU -- 70
BYU -- 946 TCU -- 69
Utah -- 944 CSU -- 66
CSU -- 941 Wyoming -- 63
The APR provides a real-time look at a team's academic success each semester by tracking the academic progress of each student-athlete. The APR includes eligibility, retention and graduation in the calculation and provides a clear picture of the academic culture in each sport. High-performing teams receiving awards posted APR scores ranging from 965 to a perfect 1,000.
Air Force, Army and Navy compete each year for the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, which is emblematic of service academy football supremecy. The trophy goes annually to the winning academy with the best record in round-robin competition. The President of the United States presents the trophy to the seniors from the winning team each year at a ceremony at the White House.
The 2008 season marks the 37th year of trophy competition. Air Force has a 46-25-0 all-time CIC record and has won 16 trophy titles. Air Force's overall record and number of trophy titles are best among the three academies. Air Force finished second in the 2007 CIC Trophy chase after its 31-20 loss at Navy Sept. 29 and 30-10 win vs. Army 30-10 Nov. 3. Navy won the trophy by beating both Air Force and Army.
Team Record Pct.
Air Force 47-25-0 .644
Navy 35-36-1 .493
Army 25-46-1 .354
Air Force outright CIC title years:
`82, `83, `85, `87, `89, `90, `91, `92, `94, `95, `97, `98, `99, `00, `01, `02
Dekker nominted for AFCA Good Works Team
Air Force senior tight end Travis Dekker is one of 71 nominees for the 71st annual Allstate American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Good Works Team. The Good Works Team recognizes this group of committed and hard-working players for their off-the-field achievements.
Dekker carries a 3.75 grade point average in biochemistry and has been on the Academy's superintendent's list for military, academic and athletic excellence four semesters. The Albuquerque, N.M., native is a two-year starter for the Falcons and a two-time academic all-conference selection. Last season, he had 25 receptions for 382 yards and caught at least one pass in every game. His catches and yards are the most by a Falcon tight end since 1989. This past summer, he was selected to participate in the Cadet Summer Research Project at the Air Force Research Lab in Albuquerque. He has held numerous leadership positions at the Academy and has also volunteered for several community projects, including the Salvation Army and a helped raise funds for Hurricane Katrina relief in 2005.
Through a partnership, Allstate has teamed with the AFCA to honor the college football players whose involvement with charitable organizations and community service contributions stand out among the more than 50,000 student-athletes participating in the sport at all four-year collegiate institutions. From among the 71 nominations submitted by sports information directors on behalf of their team, a special selection committee assembled by the AFCA and Allstate will select two 11-player Good Works Teams® - one composed of players competing in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (I-A) and a combined team representing players competing in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (I-AA), Divisions II, III, and the NAIA.
The 2008 Allstate AFCA Good Works Teams® voting panel includes: Allstate senior vice president, Steve Sorenson; former Good Works Teams® members Matt Stinchcomb (University of Georgia, 1997 team), Mike Proman (Amherst College, 2002 team), Deuce McAllister (University of Mississippi, 1999 team), Dan Lord (Tufts University, 1997 team), Zaid Abdul-Aleem (Duke University, 1994 team); media members Kirk Herbstreit (ESPN), Dennis Dodd (CBS Sportsline), Tony Barnhart (Atlanta Journal-Constitution), Kelly Whiteside (USA Today), Ivan Maisel (ESPN.com); current AFCA president and University of Washington head coach Tyrone Willingham; and 1996 AFCA president Fisher DeBerry, former head coach at the United States Air Force Academy.
The committee will be responsible for selecting 22 players from the 71 nominations received over the summer at the AFCA headquarters in Waco, Texas. The following players have been nominated for consideration to be included among the 2008 Allstate AFCA Good Works Teams®.
Sophomore Reggie Rembert will be a busy man this season. Rembert is slated to start at cornerback on the defense and is a backup at WR-Z on offense. In addition, Rember will be a part of the kickoff and punt return special teams. Rembert is the first two-way offense/defense player at the Academy since Chris Evans in 2006. Evans played both tight end and defensive end due to injuries against Army in 2006. Evans did not have any statistics and played both only that week. LeRon Hudgins is the last player to play both ways significantly as a safety and running back in 1995. Hudgins was listed as a starter on defense and played most of the season as a backup halfback in the option offense.
The Air Force trio of juniors Chris Thomas (safety) and Justin Moore (ILB) and sophomore Will Keuchler (OLB) have reunited at the Academy. The trio of classmates was first together in Westerville, Ohio, at St. Francis DeSales High School where they helped the football team to a state championship game appearance. They are together again this season. Keuchler, who attended the Academy's Prep School, is a back at outside linebacker, while Thomas enters his second season as a starter at safety. Moore is listed as a backup inside linebacker. They were coached by Bob Jacoby in high school.
Breaking down the Falcons
Offensive Line: Considered one of the strengths of the team ... two returning starters in Nick Charles and Keith Williams have 18 and 12 career starts, respectively ... center Andrew Pipes is the only starter without a career start entering this season ... guard Peter Lusk (three career starts) and tackle Chris Campbell (two career starts) each started games last season.
Tight End: Returning starter Travis Dekker, who started 12 of 13 games last year, is out with a broken ankle and not expected back until October ... third-stringer Steve Shaffer was forced to stop playing football due to complications from concussions ... backup Keith Madsen assumes the starting role ... Madsen has played in 22 career games with three starts ... he caught five passes for 49 yards and two touchdowns in 2007 ... receiver Sean Quintana is the backup.
Receivers: Considered a strength with junior Sean Quintana and senior Spencer Armstrong at the X ... both played significantly last season, combining for 11 catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns ... Sophomore Kevin Fogler will also see plenty of action at the X ... the Z position is the biggest hole to fill, as All-American Chad Hall is lost to graduation ... 2007 backup Ty Paffett is out while recovering from back surgery, so sophomores Kyle Halderman and Reggie Rember are the top two at the position. Rembert is playing both ways this year, at Z and CB.
Running Backs: A pair of sophomores, Xavier Stephens and Kyle Lumpkin, will combine at the tailback position ... Stephens saw action as a freshman last season while Lumpkin was a junior varsity player ... Lumpkin will make his varsity debut against Southern Utah ... fullback Todd Newell returns from last season where he played in all 13 games, starting the regular season finale against San Diego State ... sophomore Jared Tew is the backup.
Defensive Line: The strength of the defense ... Ryan Kemp (DE), Ben Garland (DE) and Jared Marvin (NG) are returning starters ... Marvin has been slowed due to an injury suffered in the spring, so Garland has moved to nose guard ... Senior Jake Paulson replaced Garland at defensive end ... Kemp, Garland and Marvin played every game last season while Paulson played in 10 of the 13.
Linebacker: Only senior Hunter Altman returns as a starter, starting 12 games last season ... He missed one game due to injury and was replaced by sophomore Andre Morris, Jr., who is back this season ... sophomore Will Keuchler returns after seeing mostly special teams action as a freshman ... Ken Lamendola and Brandon Reeves are slated as starters at inside linebacker while Justin Moore and Clay Bryant will be the backups.
Secondary: Chris Thomas is the lone returning starter, but the secondary has playing experience ... Reggie Rembert started one game as a freshman and is expected to start this season. Aaron Kirchoff will start at free safety and Kevin Rivers and Brenton Byrd-Fullbright battle it out for the other starting nod at corner. The secondary will have some freshmen contribute, as Jon Davis and Anthony Wright will play at safety and corner, respectively.
Special Teams: Do-everything Ryan Harrison returns to handle the kickoff and punting duties ... deep snapper Scott Howley returns after part-time duty last season and Brandon Geyer returns as the holder and backup punter.
Honors for Air Force football players so far in 2008
- Ryan Harrison, PK,P - 11th best kicker in the nation by Phill Steele's Magazine ... second-team preseason all-MWC as kicker and punter by Phil Steele's Magazine.
- Nick Charles, OL - First-team all-MWC preseason ... second-team preseason all-MWC by Phil Steele's Magazine.
- Keith Williams, OL - second-team preseason all-MWC by Phil Steele's Magazine.
- Chris Thomas, DB - second-team preseason all-MWC by Phil Steele's Magazine.
- Ryan Kemp, DE - First-team all-MWC preseason.
- Travis Dekker, TE - Nominated for the AFCA Good Works Team.