2007 Army look ahead: Air Force

First, big mouth Air Force quarterback Shaun Carney had to make the bold prediction. He half-jokingly told a reporter that Air Force would beat the Black Knights 49-7 last season. Even worse, Carney was almost right on the money. The Zoomies went on to beat Army 43-7 at Michie Stadium in what could have been the beginning of the end off the Bobby Ross era.

Army takes on Air Force this season on Nov. 3 in Colorado Springs, Colo. Hopefully, Carney doesn't have any predictions this year. Here is a look at service academy rival Air Force.

New man in charge: Fisher DeBerry is out after 23 seasons, inlcuding three straight losing campaigns to end his impressive career. In steps former Air Force player Troy Calhoun as coach. He was previously the Houston Texans' offensive coordinator.

Calhoun is a 1989 graduate of Air Force. After graduation, he served on the Air Force coaching staff under DeBerry as a graduate assistant for the 1989-90 seasons. He served as the Falcon's recruiting coordinator and the junior varsity offensive coordinator in 1993-94.

Calhoun began his NFL career with the Denver Broncos as a defensive assistant in 2003, and later moved to offense and special teams. When Broncos offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak was hired as the Texans' head coach, Kubiak brought Calhoun along and made Calhoun his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

Calhoun is expected to run a spread option at Air Force with more passes down the field and more looks.

The Falcons could fly again soon: Sure, Air Force is in the midst of three losing seasons in a row.

The Falcons went 4-8 last season, but lost five games by a touchdown or less. Air Force almost opened the season with an upset at Tennessee.

Carney could be a keeper: Last year, Army defenders talked trash to Carney all game long. They still might be pissed at him for last year. At times, Army contained him during last year's blowout. In fact, Carney didn't do most of the damage. However, this season, Army could see a new and improved Carney.

Carney is expected to flourish in Calhoun's new offense, where he will get to throw more. Obviously, he isn't a prototypical passer, but he was one of the more accurate throwers in the Mountain West Conference last year.

Wacky moves: Calhoun has made some interesting moves on Air Force's depth chart.

For starters, he moved Chad Hall, who led the team with 784 rushing yards last year, from starting tailback to what Calhoun calls "Z" wide receiver. It could very well be a hybrid of the running back and wide receiver positions. Chad Smith is now listed as the Falcons' starting tailback. Smith rushed for 162 yards last year.

Tough backer: Air Force linebacker Drew Fowler is a player any service academy football fan can appreciate. He's tough and relentless. Fowler knows how to hit. Meet the Falcons' best defensive player. Fowler led the Mountain West last season with 10.2 tackles per game last season. Fowler earned All-Mountain West Conference honors last season. He had surgery in January to repair his injured right wrist. Fowler didn't participate in contact drills during the spring, but will be ready by the fall.

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