Terrance Jamison hasn’t even had a chance to furnish his Colorado Springs home, but he’s already found a way to position his Air Force defensive linemen in the offensive backfield.
In a recent spring practice period, the Falcons allowed just four players to rush with the intent to shine a spotlight on pass coverage in the secondary.
Problem was, those four were getting to the quarterback.
Coach Troy Calhoun pointed to Jamison, the new defensive line coach, as the reason.
“A lot of that’s just because of his instruction,” Calhoun said. “Just great pass-rush skills when it comes to fundamentals.”
Jamison has established a track record for getting to quarterbacks in recent years.
At Florida Atlantic, his 2015 defensive line helped the Owls establish a program record with 35 sacks. When he went to Texas Tech in 2017, he inherited a squad that had just 14 sacks the previous year. They then had 18 sacks in his first year, followed by 28 in 2018 as they ranked among the nation’s best defensive lines in generating turnovers.
And now he comes to Air Force, where success has closely followed the sack totals. Over the past 10 years, the Falcons are 41-24 in the five seasons in which they’ve registered at least 20 sacks. They are 29-34 in the five years they’ve had fewer than 20.
After averaging 34 sacks during stretch from 2014-16 that included a pair of 10-win seasons and a Mountain West Mountain Division title, they’ve averaged 15.5 over the past two years and finished 5-7 in each campaign.
“He’s fantastic,” Calhoun said. “Great, great teacher. Just tremendous when it comes to fundamentals, and especially the pass-rush part of it.”
For Jamison, who played at Wisconsin before an injury ended his career as a red-shirt sophomore, taking the job at Air Force was about seizing a chance to coach a different type of athlete.
“An opportunity to coach at an academy, I mean, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said. “The type of young men you get to coach… these are going to be the leaders of our country one day.
“Anything we coach them, they’ll go full speed. They’ll run through a wall for us.”
Jamison came to the Falcons following Tim Cross’s departure for North Carolina. Jamison had been part of Kliff Kingsbury’s staff at Texas Tech. Kingsbury is now with the Arizona Cardinals.
Senior defensive lineman Mosese Fifita said the transition from Cross to Jamison has been smooth from the first meeting.
“We started off getting right into it,” said Fifita, one of two returning starters on the defensive line along with Jordan Jackson. “There was no lag time. First meeting we got right into the details of what we needed to do.”
Jamison, a native of the Chicago area where he attended high school with his wife, Ashley, will recruit Illinois, Wisconsin and eastern Missouri, allowing him to tap into connections he’s long held.
At home, the couple has two daughters, 7 and 3, who Jamison is excited to expose to the cadet-athletes he is now coaching.
“I can’t wait to have these guys over to the house,” he said. “(My girls) love football and being in the atmosphere with the players.
“I’ve got to get some furniture over there first.”