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Air Force Football Preview
by Matt Fargo - 08/20/2008
No. 89 Air Force Falcons
2007 Record ~ 9-4 SU ~ 9-3 ATS
Starters Returning ~ Offense (3) Defense (5)
Air Force is coming off a season with the most wins it has compiled since 2000 but the nine wins are going to be difficult to match in 2008. Head coach Troy Calhoun took home MWC Coach of the Year honors last season after a five-win turnaround from the previous season but he has lost a lot of parts from last seasonâ€™s Armed Forces Bowl squad. Only eight starters overall are back but 18 projected starters are either juniors or seniors so the well is not completely dry.
The rushing offense looked like the old days as the Falcons finished second in the nation with 299.5 ypg, the most since 2002. Now Air Force needs to replace all four components of its triple option attack and that could mean Calhoun might finally break in the offense he was known for and that is a pro passing attack. The quarterback situation remains unclear but Travis Dekker, who caught 25 passes a season ago, will be the key to the offense. The offensive line needs to replace three starters but it is very experienced.
The strength of the defense is up front with starting experience all over the place and the Falcons may stray away from their normal 3-4 set to utilize the strength. Defensive end Ryan Kemp was an honorable mention last season and is solid against the run. The linebackers bring back only Hunter Altman, the returning sack leader with five while the secondary only brings back Chris Thomas, the returning tackle leader with 110. Players need to step up to make up for the losses.
With Army and Navy always in the mix, the Falcons have only two other non-conference games. Last year it was South Carolina St. and Notre Dame and this year it is Southern Utah and Houston so there is not much of a difference. Utah, BYU and TCU are the class of the conference and Air Force gets the first two at home before the season finale at TCU. This is a tough team to go against because it is always sound and efficient but with a completely revamped offense, going against the Falcons early may be the right call.