Air Force will wait until preseason camp to settle on a starting quarterback for the 2010 season.
“It’s something where you get in early August, and here you go,” coach Troy Calhoun said last week.
The Falcons probably won’t get a good look at one of their top two candidates until August. Sophomore Tim Jefferson has missed the first six spring practices while rehabbing the right knee he had surgically repaired in January, though Calhoun said “hopefully later in spring practices he’ll be able to get in there and get some work.”
Sophomore Connor Dietz has worked with the starters during the Falcons’ first six practices. Dietz said his right hand, which he broke last season, “feels like it’s pretty much back to 100 percent.” And Dietz has looked far more polished than he did in last spring’s practices, when he was fresh off a season with the junior varsity.
Calhoun would prefer to settle on one quarterback but did not rule out the possibility of using two, especially if the Falcons come up with a special change-up package for the backup.
“I think there’s a place for each guy to be a strong contributor,” Calhoun said.
And if 2010 is anything like last season, the Falcons will need strong contributions from both.
In 2009, Jefferson began the season as Air Force’s starter but suffered an ankle injury in the third game of the season at New Mexico. Dietz started the fourth and sixth games as Jefferson struggled with his ankle, and he relieved Jefferson in their seventh game against Wyoming. Dietz started the following week at Utah but suffered a broken hand that ended his regular season – just as he seemed to be taking control of the spot.
Jefferson started the last three regular season games and had arguably the best performance of his career in the Armed Forces Bowl (10-for-14 passing, 161 yards; 16 rushes, 37 yards, 1 touchdown).
But he’s missing the majority of spring practices for the second straight year (last year it was because of academics), and that’s forced the Falcons to wait until August to resolve their quarterback competition.
“I feel that he does a lot of things different than I do and I do a lot of things different than he does,” Dietz said. “I feel that we’re both real competitive guys that want to get out there and play, and the coaches are going to put us where they feel they need us.”