Air Force Falcons Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Air Force season with what you need to know and keys to the season.
Air Force Falcons Preview
Head Coach: Troy Calhoun, 16th year, 112-75
2021 Record: Overall: 10-3, Conference: 6-2
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Air Force Falcons Preview 2022
The 2021 Falcons were this close to turning a great season into something truly special. The three losses all came by six points or fewer and all could’ve easily have gone the other way.
Everything worked. The rushing offense led the nation, the attack dominated the time of possession battle, and the defense ended up as the statistical best in the Mountain West.
Six starters return on offense and five are back on D, but that doesn’t quite tell the whole story with a slew of key contributors and the program’s ability to fill in the gaps quickly about to shine.
Air Force Falcons Preview 2022: Offense
Run the ball, run the ball, run the ball, and hit the deep pass by taking advantage of defenses that freak out about the run. That’s what Air Force did brilliantly last year, and it’s about to do it all again.
The Falcons were able to dominate on third downs, ran for 328 yards per game, and they averaged a nation-high 22.6 yards per completion. They controlled games, kept the defense off the field, and were great at taking the air out of the ball.
There’s not a whole lot of passing happening, but that’s okay. The job of QB Hazziq Daniels is to hit the open man when he’s got the chance, and he should be able to do that just enough to get by. He’s not all that accurate – he missed half of his passes – but he ran for 736 yards and 11 scores and kept the big mistakes to a minimum.
Leading receiver Brandon Lewis is gone, but he only caught 21 passes. The Falcons have other options to stretch the field and catch that one big pass a game.
It’s all about the ground attack. The Falcons were able to run for 300 yards or more eight times last year with 44 touchdowns and over five yards per carry. Daniels was second on the team in rushing, veteran fullback Brad Roberts is back after leading the way with 1,357 yards and 13 scores, and they’re not alone with a deep group of options behind them.
Three offensive linemen are back with good size and a solid starting five. The depth, though, is lacking and has to develop.
Air Force Falcons Preview 2022: Defense
The defense was helped by the offense, and it will be again. This group was great at getting into the backfield and made a whole lot of plays, but the O that’s great at holding on to the ball gives everyone on the D rest. Five starters are back, but the personnel losses are huge.
Top tackler Tre Bugg is done in the secondary, top lineman Jordan Jackson is gone, and tough-guy tackler Damonte Means has to be replaced. Throw in the loss of safety Corvan Taylor, and the Falcons have to find new difference-makers.
The linebacking corps will be more than fine, but the secondary needs help around safety Trey Taylor – a good-hitting potential all-star talent. All-Mountain West pass rusher Vince Sanford will be a disruptive force, but the tackles and beef up front have to settle into a good rotation.