Troy Calhoun Is Bad for Service Academy Football and Needs to Go

Air Force opened their season with a 63-7 win over Morgan State. The following day, head coach Troy Calhoun said this:

As with most things that Calhoun says on Twitter, it was somewhat random. His reaction to a season-opening win was to warn against moving a home game to a neutral site? That’s out of left field, even for Calhoun.

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Navy 33, Air Force 11

Keenan Reynolds ran for 183 yards and Chris Swain ran for two touchdowns as Navy overcame the elements to top Air Force, 33-11. The 22-point margin of victory was Navy’s largest over the Falcons since 1978 and moved Navy to 4-0, while Air Force fell to 2-2.

I’m not usually a big fan of “revenge” or “redemption” storylines when it comes to football games. What exactly are you getting revenge for? Were you wronged? Isn’t the other team supposed to try to beat you? It rarely makes sense, although I’ll make an exception for this game for a couple of reasons.

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Game Week: Air Force

Fisher DeBerry’s tenure as Air Force’s head coach did not end well. The Falcons finished with a losing record in each of his last three seasons, including a 2-7 stretch over his last nine games. Troy Calhoun took over in 2007 and gave the program an immediate jolt, winning nine games that year and again in 2010. It was an impressive run, and Calhoun deserved credit for turning around a sliding program. Some of the praise he received was a bit over-the-top, though, reaching the point where media speculation even had Calhoun as a candidate for the Denver Broncos’ head coaching job.

It wouldn’t last. Air Force fell to 7-6 in 2011 and 6-7 in 2012, and people began to notice. The wheels completely fell off the wagon in 2013, when Air Force suffered the worst season in program history at 2-10. It led to some changes, including Calhoun shaking up his staff. After rebounding with a 10-win season in 2014, I think it’s safe to say that the changes worked.

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Can’t Have it Both Ways

Troy Calhoun really doesn’t want to run an option offense. He said as much when he was hired, claiming that modern defenses were too fast to for his team to rely on an offense that, in his opinion, spends too much time in the backfield. Instead, he wanted a “balanced” offense, mixing in more passing with a tailback that would get 20-25 carries per game. Continue reading


In news that will surprise nobody, I don’t like Air Force. There are certain corners of the Navy diaspora that take great offense to that; I’m frequently told that I don’t “get it.” We’re all service academies, after all. One team, one fight, right? If you say so. I’ve always felt that was a one-way sentiment on the part of some Navy fans, based more on wishful thinking than anything else. You never saw any Air Force fan upset over Fisher DeBerry taking cheap shots at Army or Navy, did you? Of course not. If you asked them, Navy fans like me were just bitter because Air Force won so many games.

That’s nonsense, of course. Those of us who grew up as Navy fans in the ’80s and ’90s were used to seeing the Mids lose to just about everybody, so there was nothing special about Air Force in that regard. No, this was different. When you talked to people in and around the Navy program, you would hear stories about some of Air Force’s recruiting tactics that really caught you off guard. Fans of every school have stories that they heard from a friend of a friend about how their rival does shady things, so it’s easy to dismiss these things. Besides, Fisher DeBerry’s gone now, so everything’s different, right?

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One of these teams is 3-1. One of them is 2-3. Probably not the ones you would have expected back in August.

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Does Rich Ellerson’s job hang in the balance on Saturday?

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