Let’s get to it …
Links: From Sunday’s Gazette, Troy Calhoun believes in physical practices. I don’t believe this works in the NFL. I think coaches do it out of some macho bravado because they think it makes their teams tough, when it really just wears the players down and turns the veterans against you. But in college it’s a little different because it’s different for a 19-year-old to get live reps vs. a 10-year veteran in the pros. Of course, the debate about how physical to be in practice takes a sharp turn after a key player gets hurt in August, I suppose. … Ramsey thinks Air Force needs to pass the ball more this year. I’m torn on this one. I think the Falcons have a ton of talented receivers (more on this below) and a good dual threat quarterback in Tim Jefferson, but you can’t get too far away from what works for you. Air Force almost beat Oklahoma last year because it was virtually unstoppable running the ball, not because of its passing game. The Falcons will still run the ball until someone stops them.
- The big mover of the day was outside linebacker Stephan Atrice. I wrote about Atrice earlier this year, and his fascinating story behind his religious mission. Air Force is seeing a player whose maturity and body grew in his two years away from football. He moved into the starting lineup for today’s practice, taking the snaps with the first-team base defense at outside linebacker. Alex Means, who had been a starter the first week of practice, and Jamil Cooks worked with the second-team base defense. Nothing has been decided just seven practices into camp, but Atrice is going to get a long look. I think it’s safe to say when camp started, Atrice was behind Means and Cooks in the pecking order.
- Every day there seems to be another interesting receiver for the Falcons. Ty MacArthur has been getting a lot of reps, freshman Courtney Whitehead has been pretty good and today made a very athletic grab on a pass over his head (and again got some one-on-one instruction from Calhoun … I’m not the smartest guy on those practice fields but I do know that a coach taking a lot of interest in a young player is a telltale sign) and Acey Palmer, a young and big receiver, also had a nice day of practice. So the Falcons appear stocked at receiver. And the starters made two of the nicest plays of the day – Jonathan Warzeka burned all-conference safety Jon Davis for a long touchdown in one-on-0ne drills, and Zack Kauth made an incredible one handed grab in the corner of the end zone, even though he landed out of bounds.
- With cornerback Anthony Wright sitting out some reps with what appears to be a minor injury, Steffon Batts spent almost the entire practice with the first-team defense. That might be a sign he is ahead of sophomore Chris Miller in the three-way race to replace Reggie Rembert, a race Josh Hall has led through camp. That competition is far from being settled, however.