In today’s Mountaintop View, Mike posted a link to an article in the Colorado Springs Gazette that contained some news about the state of Air Force Football. Mike’s summary of the tendency of the athletic department to hold everything close to the vest is in some ways an understatement. This has been the norm since Troy Calhoun became head coach. Some of this is necessary because of privacy mandates within the Department of Defense, but much is Calhoun’s attempt to gain some theoretical advantage over opponents. It can be very frustrating for fans to not know what is happening with their favorite team, and in my opinion is harmful to fan enthusiasm.
I’ve just listened to the interview that Falcon AD Nathan Pine just gave to Jim Arthur on radio station KVOR in Colorado Springs, and he did give some clarification on the plan for fall football at the Academy. He confirmed October 3rd as the date for Navy to visit Falcon Stadium for the first Air Force game of the 2020 season. Because of Colorado state restrictions on sport attendance, only cadets will be allowed in the stadium as fans. At least that decisions is better than Maryland lawmaker’s illogical decision to not even allow the Navy midshipmen at Navy’s game against BYU. He also confirmed the game against Army will be played, but that it is possible that game could be played on a date other than the currently scheduled November 7th. You may be aware that this week’s Army game against BYU has be postponed/cancelled because of the Covid case count on BYU’s team. The implication is that if another team is forced to cancel a game against Army, the Falcons could fill that open date.
AD Pine briefly addressed the issue of the reported administrative turnback requests of some Falcon athletes. As expected, he gave no real information other than the statement that the team would publish a two-deep depth chart the week before the Navy game. To me, that appears to be a way to hurt Navy’s effort to prepare for their match. He did acknowledge there have been some turnbacks that allow cadets to miss a semester and complete their education a half a year later, but for privacy reasons, no names would be announced. The reason for the turnbacks is the effect of the pandemic on some cadet’s families. A few years ago, Falcon defensive back Garrett Kaupilla was granted a turnback in part because of a motorcycle accident that severely injured his brother, and Kaupilla was able to return home to aid his brother’s recovery. The report in the Gazette was that as many as 40 athletes were granted turnbacks, not necessarily all of them being football players. For fans, the result could be that several projected starters may not be in the lineup against Navy and Army. The flip side is that fans may get to see those starters get an extra full season next year.
For now, we’ll have to wait for Navy Week to know who will be taking the field for the Falcons. When we get to see the two-deep, I’ll be able to get a better feel for the capabilities of the team and provide my game preview.