Personnel Preview: Falcons Offense

A review of Air Force's expected offensive starters and key reserves for Saturday's matchup vs. the Irish.

Air Force Offense

The Falcons feature a zone-heavy blocking scheme with a healthy dose of triple-option intermixed. Regardless, the cut block tactic is key to the attack, one that ranks third nationally in rushing yards per game (364) and No. 4 overall in 3rd Down conversion percentage (59.1%), trailing only Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Georgia Tech.

Quarterback – #7 Tim Jefferson: The straw that stirs the drink for the Falcons' multi-faceted offense…Now in his fourth season as a starter, the 6'0" 205-pound Atlanta native has accounted for 51 touchdowns (26 rushing) over his career…Finished 9-10 through the air with a touchdown toss in last week's overtime win vs. Navy…Jefferson has thrown five touchdown passes (two interceptions) this season, hitting 33 of his 47 passes while triggering the nation's No. 3 rushing attack, adding four scores and 4.3 yards per rush…Has led the Falcons to three straight bowl games – the *only quarterback in the history of service academy football to accomplish the feat.

Jefferson noted of the Irish this week: "I've never really been a fan of Notre Dame, I've always hated how everybody has always loved Notre Dame," he told Colorado Springs Journal Gazette. "It's one of those things where I say, it's just another team on the schedule."

Running Back – #17 Asher Clark: Scored his 20th career touchdown vs. Navy last week, finishing with 91 yards on just eight carries; par for the course for the senior who averages 9.35 yards per carry through the first four contests…Led the Falcons with 1,031 rushing yards last season after compiling 865 in 2009…Like Jefferson, the 5'8" 190-pound speedster hails from the Atlanta area, (Lawrenceville, GA)…Has 382 rushing yards and three touchdowns on just 41 carries in 2011.

Fullback – #35 Wes Cobb: Undersized lead-blocker (5'9" 196) ranks fourth on the squad in rushing with 105 yards including two short-yardage touchdown bursts…Ranks third on the squad in carries (behind Jefferson and Asher) but his longest rush of the season is just seven yards.

Wide Receivers – #15 Jonathan Warzeka: 5'10" 180-pound senior has already thrown and caught a touchdown pass this season…An outstanding kick returner, Warzeka has a pair of 100-yard kick return touchdowns to his credit over his college career and with a 26.8-yard career average, ranks as one of the best return men in the nation.

Wide Receivers – #85 Zack Kauth: Technically a reserve, the 6'4" 210-pounder leads the team with 10 receptions and 122 yards plus a score…Kauth averaged 17.1 yards-per-catch last fall, scoring four touchdowns.

Wide Receivers – #10 Mikel Hunter: Leads the team with 156 receiving yards on just six receptions, two of which have gone for scores…5'9" 170-pounder from Rockdale, GA also has an 80-yard touchdown run to his credit this fall.

Offensive Tackle – #75 Jason Kons: Two-year starter was complimentary of the Irish this week, offering, "It's unbelievable to be playing them at that stadium, the historical setting it is, and to beat them would be something else. We're going to come with everything we have."

Kons told the Colorado Springs Journal Gazette he was an Irish fan in his youth. "It was always my dream to play for a team like Notre Dame," he said. "But if you don't bleed gold, you want to beat gold."

The 6'4" 255-pound junior was a pre-season second team All-MAC selection by college football guru, Phil Steele.

Offensive Guard – #67 Jordan Eason: Played in a reserve role for all 13 games last season but the 6'3" 255-pounder has started at left guard in the last three contests for the Falcons this fall…

Center – #54 Michael Hester: 6'3" 250-pound senior will give up nearly 80 pounds when pitted against starting Irish nose guard Louis Nix…The athletic Hester has started 17 consecutive contests, his continuity with fellow veteran Tim Jefferson under center a key component in the Falcons' short-yardage offense.

Offensive Guard – #73 A.J. Wallerstein: One of three returning starters from 2010 (Kons and Hester), the 6'4" 285-pound Wallerstein has played in 30 consecutive games and earned playing time in six others as a true freshman in 2008…Can play both left and right guard as needed (has started at right guard in three straight after debuting on the left side in the season opening victory)…Key cog in the attack as a move blocker for the varied Falcons rushing game.

Offensive Tackle – #70 Kevin Whitt: 6'4" 260-pounder one of two new starters, though Whitt was a regular backup in 2010 behind a front that enjoyed 13 starts from each of its five offensive linemen…Falcons ran behind Whitt for first rushing touchdown last week in a thrilling victory over Navy.

Tight End – #81 Joshua Freeman: Second on the squad with seven receptions, five of which came in a Week Two loss to TCU. One of 12 Falcons to score a touchdown through four games this season. 6'3" 200-pounder could prove a tough matchup in space for Notre Dame's inside ‘backers off the Falcons' deceptive play-action pass game.

Key Reserves: FB #25 Mike DeWitt (2 TD, 6.2 ypc), RB #37 Anthony LaCoste (103 yards on six carries); WR #27 Ty MacArthur (scored the game's first touchdown vs. Navy, a 52-yarder in which he ran 35 yards after absorbing a big hit on a post-pattern).

Note: *Fact courtesy Blue & Gold Illustrated


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