September 14, 2010
If Air Force wants to beat Oklahoma, maybe the Falcons should give the ball to receiver Mikel Hunter more often. After all, he scores 75 percent of the time he touches the ball.
The Falcons have called Hunter’s number four times this season. The sophomore has scored three long touchdowns. He probably won’t keep up that pace over a larger sample size, but Hunter has become an unlikely weapon for Air Force’s loaded offense.
“Right now, I’m just staying focused on taking advantage of my opportunities, capitalizing when I can,” Hunter said.
Becoming a factor in Air Force’s offense isn’t easy, considering the number of talented playmakers at quarterback, running back and receiver. Hunter wasn’t an obvious candidate to get a lot of playing time over veterans like Jonathan Warzeka and Kyle Halderman after getting 64 yards on seven carries as a freshman.
There are reasons for Hunter’s development. Coach Troy Calhoun said Hunter is stronger after spending an offseason in the weight room, and Calhoun sees Hunter carrying himself with more confidence. Quarterback Tim Jefferson said he thought Hunter knows the offense a lot better, and that helps.
“He’s making all the catches in practice, running the right routes and being in the places he is supposed to be,” Jefferson said. “That’s huge. The coaches see that and they build confidence in what he has done. He’s going to be a prized possession we use throughout the season.”
Hunter thinks the secret to his success is not getting too far ahead of himself.
“I think it’s just knowing my role, trying not to do too much,” Hunter said.
Calhoun said he was impressed with how hard Hunter has worked, and called him a “super kid.”
“I like the guy’s energy and his focus for a guy that’s only been around here 13 months,” Calhoun said. “I just like being around him.”