#82 Air Force Football 2015 Preview

Air Force Falcons

Overall Rank: #82
#7 Mountain West

Air Force Team Page#82 Air Force Football 2015 PreviewBuy Air Force Football Tickets

Air Force had an amazing season in 2014, going 10-3 overall and winning the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Just a year earlier this team went 2-10. The aim, of course, will be to look more like 2014 than 2013. However, this team could go either way. There are questions that need to be answered on both sides of the ball, but Coach Troy Calhoun should have most of the answers by the time the Mountain West action gets underway.

2014 Record: 10-3, 5-3
2014 Bowl: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl vs. Western Michigan (W 38-24)
Coach: Troy Calhoun (59-44 at Air Force, 59-44 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Clay Hendrix, Mike Thiessen
Defensive Coordinator: Steve Russ

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Jacobi Owens, RB, 1,054 yards
Passing: Nate Romine, QB, 208 yards
Receiving: Jalen Robinette, WR, 806 yards
Tackles: Connor Healy, LB, 90
Sacks: Alex Hansen, DL, 3.5
Interceptions: Western Steelhammer, DB, 6

Other Key Returnees: WR Garrett Brown, TE Garret Griffin, RB Shayne Davern

Key Losses: QB Kale Pearson, LB Jordan Pierce, DL Troy Timmerman, DB Christian Spears, LB Spencer Proctor, K/P Will Conant, OL Michael Husar

Replacing quarterback Kale Pearson is one of those questions. He threw for 1,590 yards and 14 touchdowns, while being picked off just three times. Pearson also was second on the team with 687 rushing yards. More importantly, he was an experienced quarterback when it came to running the triple-option. Nate Romine saw a lot of playing time in 2013 and knows how to run the offense. He may not run quite as well as Pearson, but he is a very good passer for a triple-option Air Force quarterback. Jalen Robinette will be the big play receiver threat yet again for the Falcons. Last season he caught 43 passes for 806 yards. Tight end Garrett Griffin and receiver Garrett Brown, who caught 36 passes for 535 yards and a team high six scores, are also back to give Air Force a surprising amount of weapons through the air. But, of course, this team is all about running the ball. Jacobi Owens will be the main back after rushing for 1,054 yards as a sophomore. Shayne Davern added 513 yards and fullback D.J. Johnson is yet another bruising back who can get the tough yards up the middle.

The defense was a big reason for the team’s success in 2014, but there is not much returning from that unit. End Alex Hansen will have a lot of work to do on the line. He tallied 3.5 sacks last season, but will likely be doubled on a regular basis with few threats around him. And he may not have the size to effectively get off of double teams. Connor Healy, who recorded 90 tackles last season, will lead a new-look group of linebackers that includes his brother Patrick. Safety Weston Steelhammer is the only known quantity in the secondary. He is a ball hawk and always a dangerous playmaker. But everything else is up for grabs.

The Bottom Line:
With road trips to Michigan State, Navy and Boise State, it is quite unlikely that this team will reach ten wins again. The more realistic goal is to compete for a MW Mountain Division title for a while and reach a bowl game. Competing for a Mountain title should last until the middle of November when Air Force takes on Utah State and Boise State in a six day stretch.

Projected Bowl: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 273.1 (6th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 145.6 (117, 11)
Total Offense: 418.7 (52, 3)
Scoring Offense: 31.5 (48, 3)
Rushing Defense: 135.6 (28, 2)
Pass Defense: 259.2 (102, 11)
Total Defense: 394.8 (60, 5)
Scoring Defense: 24.2 (33, 3)
Turnover Margin: 0.08 (57, 7)
Sacks: 2.77 (22, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 0.92 (6, 2)


See All College Sports Madness Top 104 Football Previews