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Air Force football spring game notes: QB Arion Worthman makes delivery that fans of Chick-fil-A can appreciate

March 17, 2018 Updated: March 19, 2018 at 9:26 am
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photo - Air Force Falcons quarterback Arion Worthman (2) passes the ball off against Wyoming Cowboys at Falcon Stadium at Falcon Stadium, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo., on Saturday November 11, 2017. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette).
Air Force Falcons quarterback Arion Worthman (2) passes the ball off against Wyoming Cowboys at Falcon Stadium at Falcon Stadium, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo., on Saturday November 11, 2017. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette). 

The first 100 cadets at Air Force’s spring scrimmage on Saturday were treated to free Chick-fil-A sandwiches, courtesy of an idea from quarterback Arion Worthman.

Worthman said the idea of providing food came to him in a marketing analysis class Thursday.

“I just thought, let’s offer some free food and get a good turnout and have a really productive Saturday,” said Worthman, the returning starter who was a team captain as a junior.

Worthman went to coach Troy Calhoun with the idea, and the coach obliged.

“It was a team deal,” Calhoun said when asked who paid for the food. “We were able to get a few of the students out here, which was kind of neat, too.”

 

Young quarterbacks show playmaking abilities

Much of Saturday’s scrimmage included action orchestrated by sophomore (to be) quarterbacks Beau English and Donald Hammond.

It’s tough to say if either gained an edge over the other. Hammond completed several passes and looked strong as a runner, while English made perhaps a few more plays.

Neither player was available for interviews per a team policy that has permitted only seniors-to-be to talk to media during the spring.

Worthman recalled the freedom he felt playing quarterback in the spring game two years ago as a freshman, and how that propelled his career. He ended up coming off the bench and leading Air Force to victories in the final six games of his sophomore year.

“The offense is so complex and there’s so many checks,” Worthman said. “At times you’re not really just playing, you’re just calculating and seeing what the defense is giving to you. So once you get in a rhythm and start getting a flow it turns into a football game – backyard football – and that’s when guys start making plays. You saw that today.”

 

Physical spring concludes

Coming off a 5-7 season, Air Force turned the focus to physicality during spring football and continued it through Saturday’s conclusion of the 15-practice session.

“It was exceptionally physical,” Calhoun said. “Whatever you’re allowed to do, we went completely against the ceiling in terms of tackling and blocking and the number of the days you can wear pads. I hope that helps us going forward.”

 

Other notes and observations from the spring game

(All players listed by class they will be in fall 2018)

  • The sophomore tailbacks who have generated buzz through spring did not disappoint. Kade Remsberg made a quick open-field cut and scored from about 60 yards and Josh Stoner went for 10-plus yards on his first two carries and later added a 10-yard score.
  • Junior Joseph Saucier, who finished spring at No. 1 on the depth chart at tailback, also had several positive runs with a gliding style of running.
  • Junior Christian Mallard ran for a short touchdown and caught two long passes – including one for a 50-yard touchdown – to cap a spring that saw him shift to fullback from tailback.
  • Sophomore Zion Bowens displayed speed at the slot receiver spot, providing a potential glimpse at the future at that spot. Two-year contributor Ronald Cleveland, a senior, did not play Saturday. Cleveland’s primary backups, Andrew Smith and Garrett Amy, are also seniors. Sophomore D’Morea Wicks is also a factor at the position.
  • Outside linebacker R.J. Jackson had two sacks, as the senior looks healthy after two seasons marred by injuries.
  • Safety Abraham Nuno caused a fumble and intercepted a pass from Donald Hammond near the goal line, though an apparent flag negated the interception.
  • Elisha Palm saw first-team action at cornerback, and displayed quickness in getting to the corner to keep Bowens out of the end zone on a goal-line play. Palm is another emerging player at a crowded position. Senior Robert Bullard (who did not play Saturday) and junior Jeremy Fejedelem have held top cornerback spots through spring, with sophomores Tre’ Bugg and Gabe Otley along with senior Dailen Sutton among those also in contention.
  • Some of the negatives of the day included continued issues in pass protection from the offensive line. Quarterback Arion Worthman tried to scramble backward away from pressure on one play, but wound up taking a 20-yard sack from Jordan Jackson and Kyle Johnson. Also, junior receiver Geraud Sanders dropped three passes.
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