Charlton Warren knows how challenging it is for freshmen to contribute to the Air Force football team.
Warren, the Falcons’ secondary coach, played a bit as a freshman at the academy in 1995.
“You mix the academics, you mix the football and then the military, being away from home — it can be tough,” Warren said. “It’s a lot.”
Sophomore quarterback/tailback Asher Clark, who played last season, compared the first few weeks of preseason to drinking out of a fire hose. Junior outside linebacker Andre Morris Jr., who also contributed as a freshman, agreed.
“Everything comes at you pretty quick,” he said.
Air Force has a group of freshmen attempting to sip some water from that hose this season, including seven who have been added to the roster.
Coach Troy Calhoun, who also played a bit during his first year at the academy in 1985, said he hopes not to have to play freshmen by the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
But he’ll have to in 2009.
And the seven freshmen he’s put on the varsity, he said, can handle it.
“If you had guys that were only mediocre football players, then it would be a concern,” he said. “If you had guys that were only average students. These guys aren’t. And so even the very demands that they have, they’re going to be able to handle it, and we’re going to have to have a lot of snaps from guys that are freshmen this fall.”
Warren said it’s important to cut down how much freshmen have to learn.
For instance, he said he told Brian Lindsay to learn strong safety and not concern himself with the Falcons’ nickel package just yet.
And Calhoun has made freshmen off limits to the media, save for after games in which they play.
But Calhoun won’t keep them off the field once he thinks they’re ready to play.
“There’s a little bit of timing involved there,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s necessarily in a formula, but you’re just able to observe and realize, ‘Hey, this guy might be ready to get some snaps in there now.’”
SEVEN FRESHMEN ON ROSTER
13 Mike Hunter WR-X 5-9 170 Conyers, Ga. (Heritage)
16 Drew Coleman WR-Z 5-10 170 Cedar Park, Texas (Vista Ridge)
21 Darius Jones TB 5-9 160 Atlanta, Ga. (Chamblee)
23 Brandon Hirneise WR-X 6-1 180 Scottsdale, Ariz. (N. Dame Prep)
28 Cody Getz WR-Z 5-7 170 Buford, Ga. (Buford)
31 Brian Lindsay SS 6-1 205 Chicago, Ill. (Loyola Academy)
50 Alex Means OLB 6-6 215 Mankato, Minn. (Mankato East)