In a sign of the desperate times at the quarterback position, Air Force plucked a fresh face out of the cadet wing to fill the No. 3 spot and allow the team to function as usual as it resumed practice on Tuesday.
Coach Troy Calhoun didn't divulge the name of the newest Falcon, but said it was a cadet who had tried out for the team after basic training this past summer. The call-back was a bit delayed, but it became necessary now that Air Force is down to its fourth quarterback in freshman Nate Romine and has only Pate Davis, another freshman, backing him up.
"It's a challenge, no doubt," Calhoun said. "We had to get him to help us go through practice."
The newcomer handled scout team responsibilities as Romine and Davis split reps with the first and second team. So in a few days time he has gone from being a non-athlete to emulating Notre Dame. That's how crazy things have been the Falcons after losing junior Kale Pearson to a knee injury, sophomore Jaleel Awini to ineligibility resulting from a drop in cadet status and freshman Jerod Evans to an ACL injury suffered in a junior varsity game. Evans had surgery on Tuesday.
Roberts, who started three games, left last week's 27-20 loss to San Diego State with a concussion and hadn't returned as of Tuesday for the first practice since that game. Not only did he not practice, but he had not begun the steps to return from a concussion. Once cleared, a player spends a day riding a stationary bike before progressing to jogging and finally returning.
Roberts has extra time to make it back since the Falcons have an off week before hosting Notre Dame on Oct. 26.
"I think he'll be OK," Calhoun said. "It's just when it involves the head we will never take a chance. We never will."
Linebacker Spencer Proctor also suffered a concussion in the game and the junior's status has not been determined.
Head injuries can be unpredictable, of course. Receiver Ty MacArthur went out with a concussion against Boise State on Sept. 13 and still hasn't returned.
In other injury news, the Falcons hope defensive linemen David Harris and Robert Green can return in November. Harris sprained an MCL at Navy on Oct. 5 and Green has been out since a preseason scrimmage with a knee injury.