I watched this riveting affair last night, or at least the Air Force portion of it, because I was bored and because the American Gladiators reruns on ESPN Classic just aren’t holding their appeal the way I thought they would. Then again, without Fisher DeBerry and his mix of arrogance and sour grapes, neither is Mountain West media day. If Troy Calhoun doesn’t step up his press conference game next year, I’ll be back to watching Nitro and Gemini crush mullet-headed dudes playing “Powerball.” Anyway, Calhoun was joined by Shaun Carney and linebacker Drew Fowler to hit a few softballs tossed by Tom Hart and Trev Alberts. Here’s a recap:
– Calhoun was asked how his NFL experience translates to the college game. Calhoun essentially says that football is football and he doesn’t really treat it differently.
– The next question is what everyone wants to know: what’s the offense going to look like? More specifically, Calhoun was asked if the option would still be a feature of the Air Force attack. His response was that they will indeed run the option, but it’ll have a different look. Right about now, my head starts spinning.
Let’s take a look at the miracle that will be the Air Force offense this year. According to everything that’s been written or said about it so far, it will feature:
- Running the option out of the shotgun, I-formation, and even 3-back sets
- Yet somehow featuring a running back who’ll manage to get 25-30 carries per game
- All while Shaun Carney is lighting up the skies & throwing 20-25 passes of his own, to maintain “balance”
- And led by an offensive line employing more zone blocking schemes, as opposed to the traditional assignment blocking of years past.
That sounds like a great plan for the Xbox. For the real world, where posessions and practice time are limited and your offensive coordinator just left for Arkansas a week ago… not so much. I don’t think the Zoomie offense is going to be quite so eclectic. I think we’re really witnessing an evolution in Troy Calhoun’s thinking. Those thoughts probably have gone something like this:
When first hired: “We’ll run some option plays, but it won’t be our bread & butter. It’s important for a running back to find a rhythm, and to do that he needs 25 carries or so per game. Plus, I’d like to throw the ball with Shaun Carney.”
After seeing the players he inherited and watching them all spring: “Uh-oh. You know, maybe we should take another look at doing the whole ‘option’ thing.”
Hey, there’s nothing wrong with that. Nobody loves option football more than me. It just makes me wonder what we’ll see when Air Force finally takes the field. But enough of that. Moving on with the interview…
– The “why bother asking” question of the day: Carney was asked about his relationship with his coach. He said that it was great. STOP THE PRESSES. I was fully expecting him to throw Troy Calhoun under the bus! Especially when he was sitting two feet away!
– Fowler was asked what he thought of the new look defense. He said that it was going to be fun and that it’ll give him a lot of chances to make plays.
– Calhoun was asked about the difficulty of coaching at Air Force. He gave the usual answers about academics & military commitment & whatnot.
– Carney was asked about his first solo flight. Nobody cares.
– Fowler was asked about how the summer training schedule might put Air Force players at a disadvantage compared to their Mountain West counterparts, who can concentrate on football all summer. Fowler said that it was just a “fact of life” and that that he didn’t think much of it.
– Carney was asked about the level of competition in the Mountain West. He responded that the conference is very underrated. He says that there’s a lot of talent in the conference, and that you see it on draft day. After that there was the usual “any given saturday” stuff about how anyone can beat anyone else in the conference.
– The last question went to Calhoun, who was asked if he thought it was possible for a service academy team to finish in the top 10 again like Air Force did once when he played there. Calhoun said yes, he believes it could happen again. He acknowledged the enormous challenge, but said that he’s coaching special people and that’s what makes it possible.
All in all, not the most profound interview. Not that media days are really supposed to be. I have to go wash my hands now and say a few Hail Marys after typing so much about Air Force.
OK, now I feel better. Only a week away from the Navy media day and the start of fall practice. It can’t come soon enough.