November 12, 2013 Updated: November 12, 2013 at 8:50 pm
Dave Pilipovich knew his players were listening to him over the weekend, but he was just as certain his message wasn't getting through.
"They're just so consumed with their own game - knowing where to go and what to do - that they're losing the big picture," said the Air Force men's basketball coach, whose team went 1-1 at the All-Military Classic at Virginia Military Institute.
For a team bereft of experience, these first few weeks will be all about gaining that comfort level to where they work past jitters and develop as players and as a team.
With that in mind the latest injury news hasn't come quite as hard as it might have under other circumstances.
Junior Kamryn Williams, a team captain and the only player to see action this weekend with a previous career start to his credit, reinjured a hamstring that had kept him out of two weeks during the preseason.
"It will be a quicker turnaround, hopefully," Pilipovich said. "It's not worse (than the original injury), but it is reaggravated and it's to the point where he can't play. I don't think he'll practice probably all week."
Air Force hosts Jackson State on Thursday and Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Sunday.
Williams' production - he scored 15 points and had 10 rebounds in an opening victory over Army - will likely be replaced by a freshman class that is eight deep. Those minutes may prove valuable down the line in that those early mental kinks might be able to be worked out now rather than later.
Air Force will also send its reserves to play a few junior varsity games this week at the prep school in an event that will also include Lamar and Colby (Kan.) community colleges.
Junior Marek Olesinski was among the Falcons to play in a junior varsity game last season after early struggles. In that JV game he scored more than 30 points and suddenly morphed into a dangerous scoring threat for Air Force.
Olesinski also understands the value of playing in hostile environments, and by all accounts that's what the Falcons faced at VMI. Pilipovich said he even received an email from a family of VMI fans who were in attendance Saturday and felt the need to congratulate Air Force on the way it handled the vitriol and language directed at its bench.
"It helps to gain some experience," Olesinski said. "This wasn't (New Mexico's) The Pit or anything, but you've got to start somewhere."
Pillipovich said returning starter DeLovell Earls is able to do light running as he continues to recover from a stress fracture to a tibia, but his return is likely weeks away. "In a men's league he could score 30 and play well, but in our league and in our games, no."