Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Downfield blocking part of the job for Air Force linemen

FRANK SCHWAB Updated: September 13, 2010 at 12:00 am

Air Force receiver Mikel Hunter had a fantastic 33-yard touchdown run Saturday on a reverse, but Hunter didn’t have the most impressive performance on that play.

That happened far ahead of Hunter. Left tackle Jason Kons, after faking like he was carrying out a typical block on a pitch to the right, came back to his left and chased down BYU cornerback Brandon Bradley. He cleared out Bradley to clear the way for Hunter. And even farther down the field was tight end Josh Freeman taking out a safety.

Oklahoma’s starting offensive linemen average about 301 pounds. You won’t see many of them running after cornerbacks and safeties against Air Force this week. Most college offensive linemen aren’t hustling into the secondary for blocks, but that’s sometimes part of the assignment for the athletic and mobile Falcons’ linemen.

“It’s awesome, I love that part of it,” Kons said. “I’m always down to do that, and those are my favorite blocks, getting downfield and throwing that last one, basically the game-changer.”

Kons weighs 255 pounds, and only one Air Force offensive lineman on the first or second team weighs more than 265 (right guard A.J. Wallerstein). Getting to the linebackers, and perhaps to the secondary, to make a block happens on most plays. First, the linemen need to make sure the defensive line is walled off. Once that is secure, they go hunting for a linebacker. If there’s no linebacker nearby or the assignment calls for it, like Kons’ block on Hunter’s reverse, the linemen go to the third level of the defense.

“If we can get a little more icing on the cake, then work on down the field,” Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said.

Kons said in film sessions, coaches always stress that if the safety gets blocked, that could spring a huge play. And, Kons said, a lot of the safeties look a little baffled when an offensive lineman is stalking them 15 or 20 yards downfield.

“Get the safety, you get the touchdown,” Kons said. “It’s the difference between a good play and a great play.”

Note

Defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt was named the Rivals.com national coordinator of the week. It was the first time Air Force has held BYU without a passing touchdown.

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