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Air Force football notes: Linebacker Jones discusses departure

By: Brent Briggeman, The Gazette
August 2, 2014 Updated: August 2, 2014 at 10:13 pm
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Air Force quarterback Kale Pearson runs a practice play with the offense during the first day of practice of the 2014 season Thursday, July 31, 2014 at the Holaday Athletic Center. Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette

Jared Jones became the first of the four linebackers who left the Air Force football team this summer to comment on his departure.

Jones, Reggie Barnes and Steven Sumpter each left the team for injury or academic reasons but remain cadets, while Justin Alabi left the academy.

"It was injury related," Jones said in a message via Twitter. "I got a concussion back in Feb. Coach Weikert (OLB coach) has been in constant contact with me checking up with me.

"After long talks with my family and weighing out everything behind just playing football, I decided to not go back and play."

Jones was a starter at outside linebacker before an injury during his sophomore season and regained that spot late last year as a junior.

 

Preseason polls make impact

After a 2-10 season in 2013, which followed a 1-4 finish in 2012, Air Force was predictably picked last in the Mountain West in a media poll and has received similarly dismal prognostications from multiple publications.

"I feel like we're a little disrespected," outside linebacker Dexter Walker said. "As far as that goes, we're just going to have come out this season and shut people up and let people know that we're still a football team and we're still a great football team. We've just got to get back rockin'. Last season just wasn't our season, this season it will be."

Quarterback Kale Pearson likes being in an underdog position.

"I wish there was more of it (people doubting the team)," Pearson said. "I love it. Being able to prove some of those guys wrong this year will make the winning even better."

 

Shoulder pads come out

After two days of wearing only helmets, Air Force was able to wear helmets and shoulder pads at Saturday evening's practice.

While still not full pads, the extra protection did allow for a bit more contact.

"Just to put shoulder pads on, it does change the tone," coach Troy Calhoun said. "I think it's always profitable work anytime you can put pads on and run into each other."

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