David Cormier has made an impression on his coaches.
On Saturday, the freshman receiver might get an opportunity to do the same in front of Air Force’s fans at the spring game at Falcon Stadium that begins at 10:30 a.m.
The event is free to the public, but spectators must watch from the sidelines because of the recent snow and will not be allowed into the stands.
Cormier — a 6-foot-3, 220-pound specimen from Albuquerque — has run with the first-team offense through spring practice as Geraud Sanders has missed action with an injury and has utilized that chance to stake his claim for the position.
“It’s hard to believe he’s a freshman,” receivers coach Ari Confessor said. “He’s a great-looking kid. You look at him and you think that’s David Boston when he played at Ohio State. I’ve never seen a person physically look like that who played receiver. So, physically, he looks unbelievable.
“But more importantly, he works, man. He’s coachable. He listens to everything you say. You see him on the sidelines when he’s not in on special teams, he’s working on his craft on the sideline.”
Offensive coordinator Mike Thiessen was a little more tame in his praise of Cormier, but the message was the same.
“The last few weeks he’s made some plays that have gotten you excited,” Thiessen said. “But at the same time, he’s got a long way to go, too.”
Here are some other developments from spring ball to track in the scrimmage:
Will we see Hammond?
At quarterback, it might be surprising to see returning starter Donald Hammond III see much action beyond a series or two in the spring game if the Falcons hold to the ways of the recent past.
That’s not to say he hasn’t gotten plenty of work during spring ball.
“D.J. has gotten more fundamental,” Thiessen said. “He was pretty raw, still, last year as a sophomore. You’ve seen some of the fundamentals and techniques be more clean with handling the ball and knowing where to go with the ball and being more decisive.”
What of the other quarterbacks?
A potential battle could be brewing over the No. 2 quarterback spot, with rising senior Isaiah Sanders trying to fend off junior Beau English.
“Isaiah Sanders has gotten better, more fundamental,” Thiessen said.
As for English: “He’s a guy I’m fully comfortable putting out there. I think we can win some games with him.”
In recent years freshmen have used spring ball to catapult themselves into larger roles as sophomores. Arion Worthman, Sanders and Hammond are the examples over the past three years. Karson Roberts, Nate Romine and Kale Pearson also played key snaps as sophomores.
Warren Bryan will be among the rising sophomores looking for that strong finish to spring ball.
One freshman no longer playing quarterback is Wayne Overman, who was shifted to tailback.
“We want to try to find a place for him,” coach Troy Calhoun said. “We’re going to take a look at him in our backfield at some place.”
The primary tailback to track Saturday is rising sophomore Josh Stoner, who is trying to break into the top group with returning starter Kade Remsberg and veteran Nolan Eriksen.
“He’s kind of been a guy who has been injured throughout his career,” Thiessen said. "Now he’s been here every practice. When you’re here every practice, you’ve got a chance to improve. … He was always talented. He was one of our top recruits out of high school. Hopefully now it’s time to see the production part.”
The turnover bucket
Don't be startled if you see defensive assistants carrying around what looks like a large, blue waste basket and players enthusiastically dunking the ball into it.
That's the turnover bucket.
"The point of the turnover bucket is just to have fun," defensive backs coach Chip Vaughn said. "You see kids out here doing fadeaway shots, dunking between the legs, all kinds of stuff. You’ve got to have fun, right? It’s football, if you’re not having fun, what are you doing?"