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Air Force notes: Depth chart out, but receiver competition remains open

August 29, 2017 Updated: August 29, 2017 at 5:16 pm
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photo - Air Force receiver Marcus Bennett opens the season at No. 1 on the depth chart. (CHRISTIAN MURDOCK, THE GAZETTE)
Air Force receiver Marcus Bennett opens the season at No. 1 on the depth chart. (CHRISTIAN MURDOCK, THE GAZETTE) 

Air Force released its first depth chart of the season and did so in decisive fashion, with not a single “-OR-" included on the page.

But this doesn’t put an end to the ongoing tussle at wide receiver between junior Marcus Bennett (listed as the starter), sophomore Geraud Sanders (the backup) and junior Jake Matkovich (not listed, but also not out of the running).

Offensive coordinator Mike Thiessen has said the position will sort itself out only as the season unfolds, and nothing has changed that approach.

Quarterback Arion Worthman said he doesn’t feel any timing or continuity has been sacrificed as the top receivers rotate through the lead role, in part because it was anticipated.

“I think it was big in the offseason just to get those reps, so we’re not playing catch-up when everyone’s rotating in,” Worthman said. “I definitely feel like this offseason I threw with them more than anyone just to get the timing because I knew they’d all three be competing for a spot and I wanted them to all be competitive and have timing with me. I feel like now it doesn’t matter who they throw out there. I love all three guys. When coach asks me who I want out there I just kind of shake my head and say, ‘That’s not in my hands, you guys are coaches. Whoever you guys put out there, we’ll be fine.’”

Worthman, by the way, was officially listed as the starting quarterback with fifth-year senior Nate Romine listed as the backup.

 

Specialists starting to sort out

Sophomore Jake Koehnke was listed as the starting punter, as the team replaces graduate Steve Brosy.

Charlie Scott, a sophomore from Greenwood Village and brother of Alabama punter JK Scott, is listed as the backup.

Coach Troy Calhoun said Tuesday that the two are continuing to battle with senior Cecil Moskowitz, and the position hasn’t necessarily been decided.

Senior Luke Strebel, a Lou Groza Award watch list member and the fifth-leading scorer in program history, will handle placekicking and kickoffs.

Junior Ronald Cleveland will be the top punt returner, a role he handled last year, but there is uncertainty at kickoff returner. Tailback Tim McVey is listed as the starter, and his 27.8 yards per return ranks No. 1 in team history. However, with McVey’s role in the offense growing, Calhoun said Cleveland, Tyler Williams, Christian Mallard, Jake LaCoste, Malik Miller and Benton Washington would be considered in the role.

 

Texas storms flood nose guard’s favorite spot

Cody Gessler, a native of Katy, Texas, has heard that his home – located about an hour west of downtown Houston – has been spared by the floods accompanying Hurricane Harvey.

His favorite eating spot, however, wasn’t so fortunate.

Photos shared by Gessler’s friends showed Snappy’s Café and Grill entirely flooded, with tables overturned.

“In the summer after football camps we’d go every Thursday, the whole defensive line would go,” said Gessler, who was particularly partial to the biscuits with sausage gravy. “It was a very popular place to eat. A lot of Katy High School fans would go before games, things like that.”

Gessler’s parents left the area early to ensure they could attend Air Force’s season opener against Virginia Military Institute. His brother and his fiancee, however, stayed behind but have also avoided serious damage from the storm.

Gessler, a junior, was listed as the starting nose guard on the depth chart. He’ll rotate at the spot with 320-pound sophomore Mosese Fifita.

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