The biggest crowd Air Force has ever played in front of was 105,466 at Tennessee in 2006.
Michigan Stadium, better known as “The Big House,” holds 109,901 and it’s expected to be full for the season opener. Not that the Falcons mind.
“It'll definitely be exciting,” defensive lineman Nick DeJulio said. “I know it holds quite a few people. But we won't change much. I'm sure looking around will be a bit different. But focusing in on the game after you walk in, that's what we'll be thinking about.”
Air Force has played in big stadiums the past few years, going to Oklahoma in 2010 and Notre Dame last year, and coach Troy Calhoun said he didn’t think they would be in awe of the venue or the crowd.
“I don’t think so,” Calhoun said. “Not when you’ve got to wake up with somebody banging on your door at 4:15 in the morning and within 24 hours you’ve had all your hair cut off and have to be dressed in a certain outfit in 25 seconds, get up and do all these extra push-ups and flutter kicks and everything else at 4:15 in the morning day after day after day. I don’t want to say you’re numb but you’ll be able to move into a variety of elements and be able to adapt.”
One thing that will be a factor at Michigan could be the noise. Since the stadium was renovated, luxury boxes at the top have kept in the sound from all those Wolverines fans.
“Most definitely it’s louder,” Michigan coach Brady Hoke said. “The noise level with the suites and the towers, it really holds the noise in.”
The Falcons will be having a first-time starter at center, Austin Hayes, who is filling in for injured Michael Husar, and that’s a challenge in a tough environment.
“It does require some additional concentration, hearing a snap count and making sure there’s some unison coming off the ball,” Calhoun said.
Odds and ends
Former Air Force receiver Chad Hall was invited back to the Eagles’ practice squad after being released last week, but refused the offer. “I love the #eagles and the incredible fans!” Hall said on Twitter. “Thank you for all the love and support! At this time I need to explore my options w other teams.” … Calhoun didn’t provide an injury update on receiver Ty MacArthur or running back Jon Lee. Both are uncertain for this weekend’s game.
Contact Frank Schwab: 476-4891
Facebook Gazette Frank Schwab