Updated: August 8, 2011 at 12:00 am
Perhaps the plate that is going to be in safety Brian Lindsay’s collarbone the rest of his life will help him play all season for Air Force without another injury.
Lindsay broke his clavicle last season, and missed the second half of the season. Getting a plate inserted gave him a chance to play in Air Force’s bowl game, so Lindsay went with that option. He returned to play in the Independence Bowl.
The injury didn’t seem like a total fluke, because Lindsay’s father broke his collarbone six times – three times on each side. Whether or not fragile clavicle bones are hereditary, Lindsay said another injury doesn’t enter his mind.
“I’ve gotten whacked a couple times and it feels good, so I’m not worried about it,” Lindsay said.
If Lindsay stays healthy, he could be one of Air Force’s breakout players this season. Fellow safety Jon Davis is already well known as a preseason all-Mountain West pick, but Lindsay brings a unique skill set to the defense. He looks more like a linebacker than a safety, so he is a natural to play close to the line of scrimmage, but has the speed and athletic ability to be sound in coverage. Air Force seems prepared to use talented sophomore safety Anthony Wooding in nickel packages with five defensive backs while Lindsay drops down and plays like a linebacker.
The biggest hurdle Lindsay has to pass is gaining more experience. He was inconsistent early last season in his first year as a starter, and then the injury wiped out the last six games of his regular season. That might be a reason the Falcons listed Lindsay second on the depth chart after spring practice, even though he has been with the first-team defense in every practice this month.
He had good moments last season, but that isn’t good enough for him.
“I made a couple plays, and missed more than one,” Lindsay said. “If you make a play once, then you see the same play again and miss it, there’s not really an advantage having you being in the game. If you don’t do it every time there’s really no point playing.”
This year, he is more comfortable with the defense. Coaches see a difference.
“At times he was still tentative, but right before he got hurt, he was starting to trust himself, and started to be able to see things and feel things and have anticipation,” defensive backs coach Charlton Warren said. “Coming out this fall so far, he’s shown that anticipation, he’s shown, ‘I know the defense.’”
Lindsay is also better physically, after putting on about 10 pounds to bulk up to 205. Part of the reason he got stronger was to avoid another clavicle injury.
Now that he is healthy and better physically and mentally, Lindsay has high goals. He aspires to play at an all-conference level.
“I don’t want to be an average college football player,” Lindsay said. “I just want to do my job the best I can.”