AFA football: Freshmen need chance to adjust

By: JAKE SCHALLER
August 14, 2009
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photo - Air Force tailback Asher Clark (17) played well as a freshman last season. Photo by KEVIN KRECK, THE GAZETTE
Air Force tailback Asher Clark (17) played well as a freshman last season. Photo by KEVIN KRECK, THE GAZETTE  

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)

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