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Veteran backup safety Ross Connors makes an impact in Air Force's spring football game

March 17, 2018 Updated: March 19, 2018 at 6:13 pm
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Ross Connors will forever be able to say he scored a touchdown at Falcon Stadium.

The senior was among those who stood out in Air Force’s spring football game that was attended by several hundred on a breezy, chilly Saturday morning. Connors scored on a fumble recovery and added a jarring hit on tailback Malik Miller from his safety position in the kind of game that could boost his status on the team heading into his senior year.

“It was a ton of fun,” said of the touchdown. “I was just happy (Abraham) Nuno popped it out and made it possible. I just picked it up and the yardage was close enough to where I didn’t get caught.”

Connors finished spring practice second on the depth chart at strong safety behind returning starter Garrett Kauppila. At the other safety spot, James Jones IV closes spring as the starter but with Ben Waters giving challenge. With that kind of competition, Connors knows he faces an uphill climb for a role other than special teams in his final season. If that turns out to be his role, the veteran with biting, self-deprecating humor said he’s fine with that.

“I just try to play with a chip on my shoulder,” Connors said. “Obviously I’m a small, slow, white guy at safety, so there’s not much of a premium on guys like me.

"I’m just grateful to be part of this team as a senior going in. Whatever role I can have, I just love being a part of this team. It’s a special group of guys, so I just want to contribute however I can.”

Coach Troy Calhoun took note of Connors’ play in the spring game, which was the first held at Falcon Stadium in recent years.

“Ross Connors is loaded with the intangibles,” Calhoun said. “He has been a tremendous special teams player for us and at spots as a safety, too. He has good quickness, tremendous instincts and guy that hopefully is a heck of a player for us this fall.”

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