Mountain West media day notebook: Summer a bit different at Air Force

By Brian Murphy and Chadd Cripe
Idaho Statesman

Wyoming

• Third-year head coach Dave Christensen said the Cowboys will scrimmage four times in the first two-plus weeks of fall practice — hitting that he hopes will better prepare his team for the season opener against Weber State.

"I didn't think we were ready when we started the first game," Christensen said of last year's 28-20 victory against Southern Utah. "We had a number of missed tackles early in the season. There is a fine line between doing enough physical live work and keeping players healthy."

Christensen said Wyoming has better depth this year, which will allow it to do more live hitting in practice.

The Cowboys went 3-9 last season, including a 51-6 loss to Boise State.

• Wyoming enters the year with two freshmen competing for the starting quarterback job — Brett Smith and Adam Pittser. Last year's starter Austin Carta-Samuels left the program.

Air Force

• Air Force return specialist Jonathan Warzeka was named the preseason Special Teams Player of the Year.

“I was pretty surprised,” he said. “One thing, it’s great to be recognized on that caliber. At the same time, it’s preseason. A lot can happen during the season. I’m just ready to get back on the football field.

Warzeka, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound senior, had 18 catches for 406 yards and three touchdowns last year. He also averaged 28.7 yards per return on 22 kickoffs, including one touchdown.

• Air Force players spend most of their time in the summer on academic and military pursuits, including basic training for incoming freshmen and internships for older players. At times, as few as 20 players were in Colorado Springs, Colo., this summer.

The fall semester begins Aug. 4.

“We just look forward to getting to August and getting everybody back and doing a little bit of football stuff,” coach Troy Calhoun said. “It is its own unique place. … These guys are going to take 18 semester hours and some of the classes I can’t pronounce.”

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Much respect for Air Force!

I admire what the Air Force teams can accomplish because their college experience is definitely different from most students. You won't see too many (or any) 300 pounders out there so they win with strength and speed, not to mention great discipline. I look forward to seeing them play BSU this year.

I agree,

it's a privilege to play against them. They have an outstanding organization and a very good coaching staff that we can all be proud of since they're also part of our military. I will continue to root for them except, naturally, when they play Boise State.