COLORADO SPRINGS – New year, new Falcons but apparently the same attitude in 2019 for Air Force Football.
“We had an attitude last year and I think it’s going to roll into this year,” according to Kyle Johnson, senior linebacker.
Air Force opened their spring practice this week with a bitter taste in their mouth – again – the same aftertaste for two seasons after failing to make a bowl game.
“We just had a long, grueling off season in the weight room,” to-be senior fullback Cole Fagan said. “Kyle (Johnson) and I were just talking about how excited we were to strap it back up and get out on the field.”
“The losing record thing came down to certain plays being made or not made,” Johnson said. “You can just tell from the scores of the games just how close they were and how close we were to having nine or ten wins.”
But instead they finished 5-7 for the second straight season. And Johnson is on the right path: Air Force’s two worst losses were by ten points (42-32 vs. Utah State, 48-38 vs. Boise State), losing the other five by a combined 24 points. It showed AFA that with an inexperienced offensive line (bonus in 2019) and a young quarterback in Donald Hammond III (even with Isaiah Thomas in the rotation early) they can score and hang on the road.
So over the next 15 practices allowed by the NCAA, Air Force is trying to shake off the cobwebs from a long winter on the Hill.
“I think of the things that are most evident when you go back and look at the season is fundamentally we have to be better,” said head coach Troy Calhoun. “Playing with the right leverage on defense, knowing where your help is and understanding that quality of instruction and being able to use it so you can be more productive as a player, collectively on your side of the ball and ultimately together as a team.”
So it’s back to basics for the Falcons; bigger, faster, stronger, tougher and hopefully better.