Air Force spring football game came about from leadership council's suggestion

March 18, 2014 Updated: March 19, 2014 at 7:24 pm
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Air Force Academy head coach Troy Calhoun and his Falcons will play their spring game on Wednesday at District 20 Stadium. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette

The silence in Air Force's football weight room has been replaced by a diverse playlist.

"One minute it will be Katy Perry, the next it will be a rap song," senior center Michael Husar said. "It's good."

The workout music is one of the behind-the-scenes changes that has resulted from the formation of a leadership council, a 22-member elected group that includes representatives of each class and position group. Their peers had asked for music to add motivation in the weight room. The council took it to the coaches and the playlist was created.

A more noticeable change implemented by the council will be Wednesday's spring game. The Falcons will split into two squads and play a close-to-real contest at District 20 Stadium at about 5 p.m. - the team will arrive at the field near Liberty High School at 4:30 p.m.

The game is free to the public.

While all decisions ultimately rest with coach Troy Calhoun, it was the players - through the council - who brought him the suggestion to end the spring session with a game rather than just another practice.

"I love it," running back Jon Lee said. "It's nice to see that coach is taking our ideas and putting them out there."

Those who have watched the Falcons over 14 practices this spring have noted an overhaul in the team's intensity. Several players have given credit for that change to the council, which has made accountability its top priority.

"It isn't just football," quarterback Kale Pearson said. "We've got to make sure everyone is staying on top of their grades. We have the honor code, so everybody has to stay honorable. It's doing the right thing on the weekend, making sure everyone is staying away from the bad places, and with football, it's making sure everyone is going hard all the time.

"We all have an idea of who's struggling and who's not. If someone is struggling, you've got to find a way to get them some help."

Calhoun said he had considered a council like this for several years, but felt this was the first time to put it into practice.

"It helps just instill in each person the essence of who we are as cadets here in the academy," Calhoun said. "In everything we do the habits are being learned of what we're all about, first and foremost about what you have to do at the academy. And there's football stuff in there, too."

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