I was surprised to see sophomore Tim Jefferson get the nod as the Falcons’ starting quarterback against Wyoming after sophomore Connor Dietz took snaps with the first-team offense during most practices leading up to the game.
But Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said after the game that Jefferson, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, “looked as explosive has he had since our first game.”
Jefferson looked good early against the Cowboys, ripping off a 19-yard run that was reminiscent of some of his rushes last season.
“He had some pretty good runs early in the game,” Calhoun said. “There was a quarterback draw in there where I thought he gained good yards. And yet towards the end of the second quarter, I didn’t see a guy that really was going to push off. So what we decided was let’s take a look the first series of the second half, and we still didn’t see it.”
That opened the door for Dietz, who clearly gave Air Force a spark and led the Falcons to their only scores of the game.
But he didn’t do enough to earn the starting job for next week’s game at Utah—at least publicly after today’s game.
“This could be one of those years where we have two guys going in and out,” Calhoun said. “And by no means is that the prescribed approach. And yet, I think both guys realize they have contributions that we’re going to need. Both guys are only going to get better too.”
One last thing on the QBs: I asked Calhoun if Jefferson not looking “full tilt,” to use Calhoun's words, late in the first half and early in the second had anything to do with his right ankle.
“I think it probably could have been partly that,” Calhoun said.
Which leads me back to what I’ve said previously: Why not just shut Jefferson down until you’re absolutely sure his ankle is 100 percent? Sure, that’s going to be hard. Jefferson is going to say he’s ready before he is 100 percent healthy. Any competitor who wants to be on the field would do that. But I think it would be best for the team and Jefferson—and Dietz, for that matter—if he does not try to go again until that ankle is healed.
Air Force lined up for a long field goal on its first possession of the second half but had trouble getting the right players on the field. The personnel confusion gave Calhoun a chance to re-think the decision to kick the field goal, and he elected to punt instead. So he let the play clock expire for a delay of game penalty.
“My initial thought was, hey, take a rip at a field goal,” he said. “And then the more you looked at it, and we had a guy that went down, so we had a guy getting out there late on the field. … You just kind of got the feeling, keep playing field position.”
More red zone troubles against Wyoming. Air Force had first-and-goal from the 10 in the first half and did not score. The Falcons also settled for a 29-yard field goal, their 10th field goal inside 30 yards this season.
Just an outsider’s opinion: I think the cadets should wear their flight suits to all the games. That’s what they were wearing Saturday, and I thought the cadets’ section looked a whole lot cooler than it does when they wear their dress uniforms.