Air Force got through spring football practice knowing that there is still a lot of work to be done before training camp begins in August.
The Falcons are rebuilding this year, although they think they can be competitive. They are replacing eight starters on offense and eight starters on defense, but the staff was pleased with what it saw over spring ball. With those practices out of the way, over the rest of the offseason Air Force has to get better and gear up for the 2012 season.
"Five months. I think we need that five months," outside linebacker Alex Means said as spring practice ended. "We still need to get bigger. We're not big enough, we're not fast enough, we're not strong enough -- you never are. So five months is going to be nice."
The Falcons understood going into spring how much talent they needed to replace. Quarterback Tim Jefferson, tailback Asher Clark, receivers Jonathan Warzeka and Zack Kauth, linebackers Jordan Waiwaiole and Brady Amack, defensive linemen Zach Payne and Ryan Gardner and defensive backs Anthony Wright and Jon Davis are just some of the key players who will be missing from last year's squad.
Knowing the younger players needed to get up to speed fast, the Falcons drew up an entirely different plan for spring practice, focusing on getting the starters more repetitions and doing as much contact work as possible.
"We did, hands down, the most 11-on-11, playing football we've ever done in a spring," coach Troy Calhoun said. "Just getting guys to live and learn and have to operate as a team that way. And we did a bunch of contact work. Just trying to find guys who are durable."
The younger players responded well to the physical practices, setting a baseline for training camp near the end of summer.
"We've got to replace a bunch of guys who were terrific football players, a bunch of them," Calhoun said. "Yet, we can. You see enough moments here and there where we have guys that can do good things for us. We have to learn to do it much more frequently."
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