The Forgettable Five
Loss of Artillery
We just concluded a countdown of the Top Five Moments from the Falcon’s 2019 football season. In case you missed this series, you can catch up on all five here; Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 , Part 4 and Part 5 .
When you have the kind of success that Air Force did this season, it’s not too difficult to recall five fond memories that helped shape the year. Conversely, you would be hard-pressed to identify five things that you would like to forget in such a campaign.
However, that is exactly what we are going to do here. And to kick things off, we will have to turn back the calendars to the pre-season.
COMING IN AT #5
Cole Fagan is dismissed from the team
Coming into the 2019 season, there was a lot of optimism around the Air Force football program. From the outside, it may have seemed misplaced considering this was a school that failed to be Bowl eligible for two prior seasons. But those who observed things a little more closely didn’t take much convincing to buy into a bounce back season for the Falcons.
Admittedly, a lot of the optimism surrounding the 2019 campaign was around returning talent and experience. For most, Cole Fagan returning to the Falcons backfield was the primary cause of confidence. The centerpiece to the triple option offense, Fagan epitomized the productivity and prototype you look for in this offensive scheme.
Fagan was more than just a key cog to the offensive wheel. He was expected to be a catalyst to the team. After finishing the 2018 seasons with a monster game against Colorado State, which saw Fagan run for 260 yards, which left him just three yards shy of 1,000 on the year.
Unfortunately, before anyone could get too enamored at the thought of what could be, Air Force found itself re-evaluating depth at one of their most critical positions, fullback. One poor decision in Breckenridge, Colorado meant dismissal from the team for Fagan. It meant there would be one great-big-void in the backfield for the Falcons.
That’s not how this season was supposed to go. Fullback is one area where the Falcons could feature two starting caliber players, one of which an All-Conference Talent.
As the season progressed, we found out that Air Force would be set at fullback for the foreseeable future, thanks to Timothy Jackson. And Taven Birdow confirmed what we had already expected, he could punish the middle of a defense for four quarters. So they did in fact have two start of starting caliber, one of which earning All-Conference Mention.
Had the dismissal of Fagan not occurred, we may not of learned how good Duval (Timothy) Jackson would be for another year. Next man up is the mantra of every team. Injuries happen. Players leave. But losing such a critical member of your team rarely concludes with the narrative that Air Force was able to write.
The Military Academies are not like other institutions. They do not afford redshirts and only in the rarest of circumstances are you granted an additional semester or year of eligibility. And you shouldn’t expect to play if you have broken the rules. Much less if you are up for court-martial.
Cole Fagan was a fantastic player who made a mistake. Regardless of how successful the cast who replaced him performed, it was unfortunate to see the 2019 Falcons play without him.