Wes Cobb does not look like a fullback. He looks like a halfback with his 5-foot-9, 196-pound frame.
But try telling this to Nevada’s defensive front. Cobb destroyed the Wolf Pack on Oct. 26 for 152 yards on 30 carries in Air Force’s 48-31 victory.
And he’s expected to play a crucial role in Saturday’s run-a-thon at Michie Stadium when Army, the nation’s No. 1 rushing team, tangles with Air Force, the No. 2 rushing team.
Cobb was scheduled to play halfback this season, but the rise of senior Cody Getz and sophomore Jon Lee along with injury problems for fullback Mike DeWitt inspired coaches to move Cobb to fullback.
He spends his time attacking the middle of opposing defenses. This means he’s often challenging linemen who weigh 300 pounds or more.
Cobb will not try to kid you. He can see what everyone else sees when he looks in the mirror.
“When you think fullback, you think of more of a bruiser, not an agile type guy,” Cobb said of his size and skills. “A fullback for Air Force? Yes. A fullback for the rest of the nation? Ah, maybe not.
“But I can be powerful and be speedy and get to the edge. You always want a few more pounds, but it’s important to find balance between speed and power and size.”
Air Force coach Troy Calhoun is stingy with praise for his players, but he gushes with superlatives when asked about Cobb. Calhoun wishes he had three versions of Cobb – one to play halfback, one to play fullback and one for special teams.
“There’s no doubt, he is a great, great warrior,” Calhoun said. “And he’s one of those guys who is just a terrific leader, and it’s not by saying a lot. That tells you a lot about the inside of a man. We’re a better football team when he’s on the field.”
Cobb and the Falcons roll into West Point with three consecutive wins and considerable momentum after their offensive performance against Nevada.
Army’s 1-7 record is deceptive. The teams that have defeated the Black Knights boast a combined 35-13 record.
And Army’s strength, its running attack, will be going against Air Force’s weakness, its rushing defense. The Falcons rank 107th in the nation in stopping the run. (Army’s defense is 116th.)
Calhoun has been disturbed after watching video of Air Force’s 24-14 victory last season over Army. The Black Knights outgained the Falcons by 230 yards in the first half.
“We got as manhandled up front as I’ve ever seen,” Calhoun said. “And on both sides of the ball. It was as bad as I’ve seen since I’ve been here.”
Army’s performance last season combined with the Black Knights' rushing prowess this season might mean the Falcons will need to score a bundle of points if they expect to escape West Point with a victory.
Cobb may again find the ball in his hands 30 times at Michie Stadium.
Lee, Cobb’s partner at running back, is optimistic.
“You will probably never see Wes Cobb mess up,” Lee said.