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Digging into Air Force’s depth chart against Navy

The Falcons head into Week One with a mix of new faces and familiar favorites.

NCAA Football: Wyoming at Air Force Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

We finally have an Air Force depth chart to sink our teeth into.

The Falcons have kicked into high gear in the past few days, releasing their excellent new uniforms, revamped schedule and now the official depth chart in just a matter of days.

You may remember that turnbacks have already taken their toll, especially on the defensive side of the ball. However, this isn’t an Air Force bunch relying on its underclassmen. In fact, only two sophomores are in line for starting roles, the rest of the depth chart is littered with juniors and seniors.

Let’s take a good long took at the offense, defense and special teams as we continue to build our excitement for game-day.

Offense

Offensive line

NCAA Football: Cheez-It Bowl-Air Force vs Washington State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no doubt about it, the strength of this Falcon offense lies with the big boys up front. Second-team All-American offensive lineman Nolan Laufenberg anchors a mean wall of five seniors. He’s joined by Parker Ferguson, Nicholas Noyen, Kyle Krepsz, and Adam Jewell. Here’s how each lineman stacks up:

  • LT - Parker Ferguson (6-5, 290) 25 appearances, 22 starts, led team with 12 knockdown blocks in 2019
  • LG - Nolan Laufenberg (6-3, 315) 25 appearances, 21 starts, First-team All-MWC, First-Team All-Colorado
  • C - Nicholas Noyen (6-0, 285) 6 appearances
  • RG - Kyle Krepsz (6-1, 290) 11 appearances, 4 starts, Missed the last 9 games of 2019 due to injury
  • RT - Adam Jewell (6-2, 265) 10 appearances, 1 start

The left side of the Falcons’ O-Line should be rock solid thanks to Ferguson and Laufenberg, but the right side and Noyen at center may take some time to get up to game speed. If any starters should fall to injury, Air Force has three juniors and two seniors waiting in the wings to take over.

Tight End

Tight end figures to be a bit of a mystery for the Falcons as they enter 2020. Air Force tends to rely on its tight ends mainly as blockers, last year’s leader in receptions was Kade Waguespack with 95 total yards.

Sophomore Kyle Patterson is currently listed as the team’s starter, and he has just two appearances credited to his name. Patterson has not recorded any offensive stats in his appearances, and he is backed up by Christopher Kane, another sophomore. However, Kane is listed as a defensive end on the Air Force roster, so he has likely moved to tight end for added depth.

Quarterback

NCAA Football: Wyoming at Air Force Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Moving right along, the Donald Hammond III truthers will have to wait a bit longer to learn his fate. He lost his status as a cadet in good standing over the summer, and Hammond has been in a state of limbo ever since.

Instead, expect to see either Haaziq Daniels or Warren Bryan start under-center against the Midshipmen. Daniels is a sophomore out of Franklin, Missouri with no appearances or stats to his name. He was a four year letterman in high school, also lettering twice in basketball and once in track.

If not Daniels, junior Warren Bryan will get the nod. Unfortunately for the Falcons, Bryan matches Daniels with no offensive stats, though he did see action against San Jose State and Hawaii.

Backfield

NCAA Football: Cheez-It Bowl-Air Force vs Washington State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the uncertainty at both quarterback and tight end, the ground game should be a strength for Air Force behind Timothy Jackson (FB) and Kadin Remsberg (TB). Both return with double-digit appearances to their names and each finished in the top three on the team in rushing in 2019.

Remsberg returns following a season in which he started all 13 games for the Falcons, racking up 1,050 yards. He earned honorable mention All-MWC honors as well as first-team All-Colorado honors. Remsberg also appeared in 12 games during the 2018 season, starting 8 of them and managing 583 yards and three touchdowns.

Timothy Jackson appeared in 10 games during the 2019 campaign, with four starts to his name. He rumbled his way to third on the team with 745 yards and six touchdowns. Also, Jackson was never tackled for a loss on the season.

Wide Receivers

NCAA Football: Air Force at Navy Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Seniors Ben Peterson and Daniel Morris get the nods to start at wide receiver, and both appeared in all 13 games last season. With Geraud Sanders and Ben Waters gone to graduation, the Falcons return 35 total receiving yards between their two starters. Peterson also logged two kick returns and five punt returns last year, and is expected to be in the mix as a returner this season.

Defense

Defensive line

NCAA Football: Cheez-It Bowl-Air Force vs Washington State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the sheer volume of defensive turnbacks, the Falcons are able to trot out three seniors on the defensive line. Expect a 3-4 base from the Falcons, and Michael Purcell leads the group in appearances. Here’s how the line will most likely set up:

  • DE - Michael Purcell (6-4, 245) 14 appearances, 2 starts, recorded 8 total tackles and 0.5 sacks
  • NG - Joey Woodring (5-11, 275) 5 appearances, 3 total tackles
  • DT - Kaleb Nunez (6-1, 275) 5 appearances, 3 starts, missed 9 of the last 10 games due to injury

Nunez and Woodring are both nose guards according to the official Air Force roster, so there should be a degree of flexibility between the positions. Two of the three backup linemen are sophomores, so we should expect to see quite a few young Falcons this year.

Linebackers

NCAA Football: Navy at Air Force Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Turnbacks are a factor yet again at linebacker, as Air Force will enter the 2020 campaign without leading tackler Demonte Meeks. Three seniors and one junior will anchor the defense in his place, with outside linebackers Grant Donaldson and Parker Noren leading the way. Here’s how the group sets up:

  • OLB - Grant Donaldson (6-3, 230) 23 appearances, 10 starts, 59 career tackles, 24 unassisted, named Defensive Player of the Game in the Cheez-It Bowl
  • ILB - Will Trawick (6-1, 225) No appearances
  • ILB - Noah Bush (6-0, 215) 9 appearances, 3 total tackles
  • OLB - Parker Noren (6-2, 215) 19 appearances, 3 starts, 36 career tackles

The Falcons are quite slim at linebacker behind those four, with two freshmen and one sophomore in line for reps.

Secondary

NCAA Football: Air Force at Navy Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

While the Air Force secondary doesn’t have too many stats to show off, there are plenty of appearances to go around. Three juniors lead the group, and Elisha Palm is the only senior with Milton “Tre” Bugg out of action due to a turnback. Alongside Palm, here are the three Falcons who will comprise the no-fly zone:

  • CB - David Eure (5-11, 185) 10 appearances, 2 total tackles
  • SS - Corvan Taylor (6-2, 205) No stats provided
  • FS - Ethan Erickson (6-2, 205) No action

Palm himself brings 17 appearances and one start to the table. He’s managed just two solo stops in his career, but the on-field experience should prove valuable when leading a young group.

Special Teams

Place kicker

NCAA Football: Colgate at Air Force Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Junior Brice Honaker is set to start at kicker, taking over for Jake Koehnke. Luckily for the Falcons, Honaker has experience with kickoffs from his five starts in 2019. He launched 25 kickoffs, sending seven through the end zone for touchbacks. Honaker has not recorded any field goal attempts yet.

Punter

NCAA Football: Navy at Air Force Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Another new name on special teams, place kicker Joseph Carlson will take over punting duties from Charlie Scott. Scott transferred to Alabama in the off-season, expecting to fight for the starting job. Carlson has one career punt attempt to his name, a 38-yard boot against Colgate.

Returners

Remsberg and Peterson are tabbed to return punts for Air Force this year. Remsberg is new to the kickoff return role. He takes over for Joshua Stoner who managed three returns for 62 total yards.