Tale of two halves
Time for the Falcons to regroup
Air Force visited a very inhospitable Boise State to open up Conference play. When Abertsons stadium in Boise, Idaho originally unveiled its new blue turf in 1986, there were concerns with aviary activists because birds were mistaking the field for a large pool of water and crash landing onto the turf. That pretty much sums up the Falcons visit there on Friday. You get the visual.
What looked to be a promising start, finished with the Broncos asserting their will and pulling away with the victory. I believed this was going to be a closely matched contest going in, and that seemed to be a fair consider for the first two quarters.
I recall in the first quarter an Air Force 4th and two around the Boise 40 yard line, and they elected to punt. I looked at this and noted it because I thought this was going to be a pivotal point to reference in the game. Particularly because it reminded me of some of the decision making that contributed to a loss to Army last season. Going for it under these circumstances seemed in the DNA of an effective triple option offense. For some anyways.
However, a Donald Hammond injury and a shredded secondary later, that notion proved to be little more than a data point. Air Force showed they were capable of competing with Boise State, but the overall talent disparity became apparent and won out.
It was also obvious that in spite of all the criticism from ESPN commentary towards Bryan Harsin for throwing the ball so much and not establishing a ground game; coach Harsin knew what he was doing. It was apparent that Boise did not fear or even respect the Air Force secondary, so they didn’t bother creating a faux balance even on offense. They just kept chucking it and it paid off.
The Falcons can’t dwell on this loss, they have another Friday night contest next week with an improved San Jose State Spartans team. And noone is going to feel sorry for Air Force as they are about to head down a daunting stretch on the schedule.
The offense needs to look at how they can be prepared for two different styles of play between their quarterbacks Hammond and Sanders. The hope was for healthy quarterback play from Hammond in particular, because the offense is looks dynamic when he is healthy. But as is unfortunately routine with Air Force, you can count on testing your depth at this position.
This is still a Mountain Division Contender. Just how much of a threat will be determined by the aforementioned health at quarterback, and how the defense comes along. In particular, how the secondary is able to progress. Time will tell.