Expectations? Not the answer you think.
Is there a change in scheme in Colorado Springs?
The Mountain West Conference’s Media Day’s kicked off this week to give us our latest dose of sound bytes. Troy Calhoun is a stalwart for providing insightful interviews, and some of what he had to say this week at the Media Day’s certainly did not disappoint.
Coach Calhoun may be known for his oft times quirky responses or opinions on matters, but the reality is, the man is highly calculated. Just like his approach to his football team’s philosophy, Coach puts purpose behind his remarks. For great context, see his diatribe on “ball sports” captured nearly a year ago when asked about the great 1998 Air Force Football team. Calculated.
As for the 2019 Falcons
When asked about this season’s Air Force team, Coach was quick to acknowledge a transition from last year. Even though the Falcons return a lot of talent and experience, he was quick to point out that they must replace 30 seniors. He placed particular emphasis on having new players at quarterback, wide receiver and linebacker. I’m not so sure about the former, but perhaps a simple tip of the cap to Arion Worthman’s contribution as a Cadet.
If you try too hard to dissect the iterations of a word-smith like Troy Calhoun, you do at times run the risk of missing something sincere and profound. I chose to take his response when asked about expectations for the team on face value. Coach Calhoun said one single goal stands above all others at his program, and that is to graduate as many seniors to serve as officers as possible.
He was also very quick to weigh a lot of praise on Conference Rivals Utah State, Boise State and Fresno State. He was particularly flattering towards Gary Andersen and his Aggies, noting that team was is so talented, and they could have been in “the Big Bowl Game” last season. I also enjoyed his use of the word “splendid” when describing Andersen’s defenses dating back to his time in Utah.
By Troy Calhoun’s own words, the team’s scheme will not change this year from years past. This is not surprising. But what is interesting is hearing him talk about how the scheme changes week to week and is always driven by personnel. That’s fair. And here I was obviously generalizing the Air Force variety of the triple-option offense.
Air Force is not for everyone
Similar to his remarked focus on graduating seniors, Coach has some interesting commentary on identifying the right fit of person, not just athlete for the Academy’s football program. Noting that players who they would like to pursue for pure athletic reason’s won’t necessarily be part of the recruiting process simply because they may not fit the mold cast by the rigors and requirements of a Cadet at the Air Force Academy.
There is a lot to appreciate about Troy Calhoun. You could find endless compliments on what he’s been able to accomplish with the well-documented restraints of being at a Military Academy, but there is so much more to it. At the heart, he is an Air Force Man. He served as an officer. He served as a player. And still this day, with that experience abreast, he serves as the coach. He reflected the very sentiment in closing with gratitude to the state of Utah for their treatment of the men and women serving out of the Hill Air Force Base near Salt Lake City.
Air Force should not catch anyone by surprise this year. The fact that there is even Media Coverage that reflects confidence in what Calhoun’s Falcons will be able to do this year serves as such notice. You’ll probably never hear him hypothesize on a successful season, in spite of the fact that he’s led quite a few of them. 2019 looks to be another one.