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Emptying the notebook: Fifth-year senior Nate Romine impresses in Air Force victory

September 3, 2017 Updated: September 5, 2017 at 3:14 pm
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US Air Force Academy quarterback Nate Romine prepares for the next play as the team took on Virginia Military Institute Keydets at Falcon Stadium at the US Air Force Academy on Saturday September 2, 2017 in Colorado Springs, Colo. The Falcons won the game 62-0. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette).

A few more notes and observations coming out of Air Force’ 62-0 victory over VMI on Saturday.

 

Romine looks sharp

Perhaps the most encouraging development to come from Saturday’s opener from an individual perspective were the fleet feet and strong arm shown by Nate Romine.

The fifth-year senior, now nearly 24 months removed from major knee surgery that knocked out his junior season and resulted in a medical turnback, has looked quicker throughout fall camp without his large knee brace. This, however, was his first appearance against a defense free to tackle him.

“No question, Nate was quicker today,” coach Troy Calhoun said. “You saw some acceleration. Quite candidly, the first 15-18 months after an ACL there’s still some areas where you could be… It looked like the same quickness he had here at Falcon Stadium, I want to say Sept. 10 in 2015 when he played San Jose State.”

Romine ran around the right side for a 29-yard gain, one of his two carries that netted 32 yards. He also completed two passes for 18 yards.

Considering Air Force’s recent history of keeping quarterbacks healthy through a full season, Romine looking as good – or better – than ever could prove extremely valuable.

 

Hint of trouble?

Maybe the most dazzling play from Saturday may also have been its most troubling.

In the second quarter, Arion Worthman dropped back to pass, then looked to run so quickly it looked like it may have been a designed quarterback draw. But when defenders collapsed in front of him, he made a quick move, bought some more time, then passed to Tim McVey, who gained 28 yards.

The troubling part came in Worthman’s explanation of the play, which came after Air Force’s only three-and-out drive of the game in which he was sacked twice.

“The drive before, we had blown two blocking assignments on passing plays,” Worthman said. “That play, I was like, I don’t know if I’m going to be protected or not. I kind of took my eyes downfield pretty quick. I just kind of said, ‘I’m going to make a play with my legs.’ I was going to try to run it, but then it collapsed on me. I felt a guy coming from behind me, just knowing the protection, I was able to get around him. I saw Tim, and then coach Thiessen was yelling, ‘Timmy! Timmy!’ I head Thiessen and then I saw him as well, and then Tim did the rest.”

The offense will certainly revisit the two plays that resulted in sacks. The issue will be Worthman’s apparently fragile trust in the line and blocking scheme. If VMI can expose those cracks, what might Michigan and San Diego State be able to do in the next two games?

Sanders not the first local QB after all

A frantic – albeit rudimentary – search to reveal if Isaiah Sanders was the first local player to see time at quarterback for Air Force revealed no other clear example. However, it turns out the Palmer Ridge graduate was not the first.

Russell Rosebush graduated from Cheyenne Mountain in 1975 after starting at quarterback for three years. He then appeared in games for the academy between 1975 and 1978, completing a 71-yard pass against California.

Rosebush, who graduated from the academy in 1979, said he wasn’t sure if there had been a local player to play quarterback at Air Force before him.

 

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