The tests were clean on cornerback Reggie Rembert’s neck, but Air Force coach Troy Calhoun didn’t sound optimistic about Rembert’s chances of playing against BYU this week.
Rembert, a first-team all-Mountain West preseason pick, was carted off on a stretcher in the first quarter of Saturday’s game against Northwestern State. Calhoun said there was nothing definite about Rembert’s availability yet, but he sounded like he was planning on Rembert taking some time off before he returns.
“I don’t want to say it’s impossible (that Rembert plays against BYU), but he’s got a long way to go, progress wise,” Calhoun said on Sunday.
After the game, Calhoun mentioned the possibility of Rembert never playing again. Calhoun did say Sunday that Rembert should be able to play this season.
“I think so,” Calhoun said. “But there’s going to be some time.”
Calhoun reiterated something he said after the game, that he was happy Rembert will be fine to continue his education and graduate at the Air Force Academy.
Junior Josh Hall would start in Rembert’s place against BYU, if Rembert can’t play.
Hall got extensive action with the defense during Saturday’s win. Last year Hall played sparingly, collecting eight tackles in limited action.
“We’ll get somebody else ready,” Calhoun said. “I thought Josh played some good ball for us.”
The challenge is steep with or without Rembert. Air Force hasn’t beat BYU since 2003, and the Cougars have two capable quarterbacks. Calhoun praised both starter Riley Nelson and freshman Jake Heaps. Nelson started, but Calhoun saved his highest praise for Heaps.
“I think the one kid is a slam-dunk (NFL) first round pick,” Calhoun said. “He’s as slam dunk as it gets.”
BYU has had quarterbacks like Ty Detmer, Steve Young and Jim McMahon, but Calhoun said Heaps’ potential trumps them all.
“I think he’s more talented than any QB they’ve ever had there,” Calhoun said.