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Notes and observations as Air Force returns to football practice

August 5, 2017 Updated: August 5, 2017 at 5:03 pm
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photo - Air Force's defensive line does a drill during their first football practice Friday, Aug. 4, 2017, at Air Force Academy. Photo by James Wooldridge, The Gazette
Air Force's defensive line does a drill during their first football practice Friday, Aug. 4, 2017, at Air Force Academy. Photo by James Wooldridge, The Gazette 

Air Force returned to the football practice field on Friday to open fall camp.

Here are some quick notes and observations from the practice:

  • Ronald Cleveland has switched numbers from No. 4 to No. 3. He had worn No. 3 in high school, but it was unavailable over his first two years with the Falcons because fullback D.J. Johnson had it.
  • Alex Means has returned to the academy as a coach at the prep school. The former Air Force outside linebacker, who received looks in several NFL minicamps, will work with outside linebackers and hopes to be in the mix when a military spot opens on the Falcons’ coaching staff.
  • Nate Romine is practicing without a brace on his knee. It’s a unique look for the quarterback who has worn a large brace on his right knee since an injury early in the 2015 season that sidelined him for the season.
  • It’s hard to make too many worthwhile observations of actions on the field just yet as everything is so new and so many groups are shifting in and out. That said, sophomore safety James Jones IV did make and impressive cut on the ball to pick off a pass. The Mullen grad and son of the Northern Colorado defensive coordinator is in the mix for a starting position.
  • Tim McVey bulked up in the offseason (more on this in an upcoming article), adding 10 pounds. That should help as the senior tailback takes on more carries this year. On the flip side, slot receiver Tyler Williams said he hasn’t lost weight but looks noticeably slimmer as he said he has worked to cut down his body fat percentage.
  • Every significant player was at practice, as far as I could tell. The Gazette checked on the cadet status of all key players over the summer after disciplinary issues kept Jalen Robinette from graduating (and his status remains in limbo), and all came back clean.
  • Sophomore Ben Waters, a Valor Christian product, has indeed switched from wide receiver to defense. Waters is working with the safeties.
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