CIC Improvement Series, Part III: Air Force
After holding the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy for the past two seasons, 2012 saw Navy take the title away from the Air Force Academy. Yet, that wasn't even the low point in the series for the Falcons. Air Force failed to win a game in the round-robin series with West Point and Annapolis for the first time since 2005. The Falcons had posted a 5-1 record in CIC competition over the previous three years. To make matters even worse for Air Force heading into 2013, the Falcons face massive roster changes on the offensive side of the ball. For head coach Troy Calhoun, re-establishing CIC superiority becomes one of his tougher coaching tasks in a few years.
Turnovers were a major factor in Air Force's losses last year to Army and Navy, as the Falcons were a combined minus-8 in terms of their overall differential. Another factor that Air Force was hurt by was time of possession; the AFA registered almost 26 minutes of possession on average in the two games against Army and Navy. Given the triple-option offense all three academies run, it is imperative to win the time of possession battle. When you look at the Air Force-Army game from last season and see that Army had the ball for essentially an entire extra quarter, that's generally going to be too much to overcome.
If you're going to give a triple-option offense the time of possession edge, you need to be able to strike quickly. For a team like Air Force that isn't going to consistently do so, it's a crippling blow when the time of possession statistic is dominated by an opponent. Air Force has a number of questions coming into 2013, a host of uncertainties that will make the goal of bringing the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy back to Colorado Springs a very challenging one. Doing a better job of controlling the ball (specifically, holding onto it) and in effect keeping possession for more than 26 minutes per game are two things that must change, or the Falcons will likely see Army or Navy keep the trophy away from them again.
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