Monday, August 07, 2006

2006 Spring Opponent Preview - Air Force Academy Falcons

Top player: Gilberto Perez, DL
Make-or-break player: Victor Thompson, WR
Biggest offensive strength: Offensive line
Biggest offensive weakness: Receivers
Biggest defensive strength: Interior line (defensive tackles)
Biggest defensive weakness: Linebackers
Spring Depth Chart

Like the rest of the service academies, Air Force struggles to recruit players that can match up physically with the rest of Division I-A.

However, Coach Fisher DeBerry has consistently been competitive at Air Force with the talent he gets, and was one of the rising stars in college football. As a matter of fact, Air Force is coming off of their first back-to-back losing seasons since DeBerry took the helm 23 years ago. However, DeBerry and Air Force haven't been the same the past few years. To add to their woes, Fisher caught the foot-in-mouth disease, and made racially insensitive comments last year.

DeBerry will need a successful season this year to rehabilitate his image, as nothing heals better than winning. However, he is starting a new quarterback this year, and lost his leading receivers from last year's squad.

Incoming junior QB Shaun Carney has some talent at the QB position, and if WR Victor Thompson can step up his game, the Falcons may have a good year - even a bowl game. However, I don't think that Thompson has the tools necessary to stand out on this team.

The defensive should be stout against the run, but against elite offenses like the Irish, their pass efficiency defense was ranked 112th last year, and there aren't any stars on the horizon that can help them improve much on that front. With the talent they have on the defensive line, don't expect many teams to run the ball against them.

While Air Force is normally far more competitive against the Irish than the other service academies, this year the Irish strengths play into the Air Force weaknesses, and the Faclons don't really have any weapons to threaten the Irish with.

9/9at TennesseeL
9/23at WyomingW
9/30New MexicoW
10/12Colorado StateL
10/21at San Diego StateL
10/28Brigham YoungL
11/3at ArmyW
11/11Notre DameL
11/24at UNLVW
12/2at TCUL

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