Any info on flybys is appreciated.
Air Force preview from a grad's perspective
This Saturday my grad school alma mater will be playing my undergrad alma mater and as I prepare to enter Michigan stadium in enemy colors(undergrad trumps grad school in my opinion) I figured I’d give a perspective on the game from a fan of both teams.
I’m starting out with this poster for no better reason than I think it’s cool.
For those who missed it the first time around, this is a quick primer I wrote back in the spring explaining how Academy football works and the basics have not changed although I didn’t write enough about Cody Getz at running back(I think he was hurt during the Spring):
Academy traditions at football games(a.k.a. cheers, flyby’s and songs):
First off, the flyby’s. Yes, I expect them to be good given the high profile of this game. Typically the best flyby’s are reserved for the games with the most public/high ranking officer visibility. So as long as the weather isn’t completely awful, we should be set for a strong set of flyby’s with a variety of aircraft. That said these things are unpredictable so don’t hold it against me if all we get is a FedEx 737(this actually happened at one game when I was a cadet). Speaking as a former pilot, flyby’s are fun as hell and I am sure there is a long line of pilots who would LOVE to do a flyover of the Big House. If there’s any interest I can provide a high-level explanation of how a flyby is ,er, um, flown in the comments section.
Typical Cheers(not that I expect these to be heard):
AIR! FORCE! Is the main call and response cheer done between fans on opposite sides of the stadium.
On Academy first downs the Drum and Bugle Corps(better known as Beat and Blow) will play a quick drum beat that the cadets will sing along to saying, “Another Falcon First Down!” on repeat. Those of you sitting close to the cadets should probably expect to wonder if you’re hearing another F-word in place of the Falcon.
After the game:
After every game whether home or away the team will gather in front of either the cadet section or the visitor’s section and sing the third verse of the Air Force song. This is done every game win, lose, or draw and I’m sure Michigan will make every effort to accommodate it. Still if y’all notice someone being a jackwagon at the end of the game about it, please do me a favor and shut them the hell up.
What the Idaho St. game should tell you: Not much that you didn’t already know. The offense will probably provide some trouble for Michigan’s D, the defense is probably going to have its hands full with Denard and co. As others have observed from the highlights of the Idaho St. game some of the giant spaces that Getz, Dietz, and co. are running through against Idaho St. won’t be there against Michigan. However, Air Force is disciplined enough to run the offense without getting a ton of big plays and take what the defense gives them. The D did shut down Idaho St. for the first half and was fairly aggressive, I think the second half “collapse” was reflective of calling off the dogs scheme-wise as well as a young defense losing concentration against a perceived inferior opponent. That said no-one sane expects them to slow down Michigan’s offense very much.
Air Force’s general gameplan for all opponents: On offense run the Triple option, with Wing T concepts, in a hurry up style. Use the run to set up the pass and basically bring in play action to act as a “fourth option”. The offense at its best runs through a quarterback making multiple reads to make individual defenders wrong no matter what they do. This probably sounds familiar. The Defense has a bend but don’t break philosophy in which they try to limit big plays by the opposition and bait the other team into a mistake. While this sounds good in theory and can result in days like the bowl game against Houston in which Air Force made Case Keenum look dumb, in practice it often leads to 3 man rushes against a secondary giving up large cushions. This should also sound familiar. Overall, think a less talented Michigan 2010, but with an offense that’s not as much of a turnover-fest and a defense that is not being run by a stuffed Beaver.
Prediction: I’m starting to think this one will look like a shootout through the first three quarters until Michigan finally pulls away as Air Force’s D just can’t slow Michigan down and Michigan doesn’t make enough mistakes to keep Air Force in the game. Michigan 45- Air Force 31
I agree...we like every detail we can get on this site. Tell us about flyover protocol please!
I'm ok with this just as long as it happens after the game is over.
(inappropriate comment redacted. I just couldn't do it, Captain.)
MGoShoe posted early flyover news back in June, saying it could possibly be a B-1 along with a B-25. Here's the comment. Haven't seen anything since, so I have no idea if this is still the plan.
To Rabbit21/whomever: Does Air Force have traveling fans? What might we see in their section of the stadium? It's easy to set expectations with a school like Iowa. You'll find out that they're from Des Moines / Iowa City / some other place in Iowa. With Air Force or another service academy? Not so much ...
So far the Air Force Association of Graduates tailgate has over 750 people registered. But the overall crowd I expect to be fairly small. Air Force fans kind of suck as we scatter to the four winds after graduation and it's hard to follow the team on TV, plus most of us didn't root for Air Force until college so the lifetime link isn't there.
Oh, and Air Force fans will be from all over. However for this game expect a fairly large Ohio contingent to make their way up. There's an annoyingly large Buckeye population in the military.
Interesting (x 2) ... thanks!
Some of those 750 people will actually not be AFA graduates/fans. The University of Michigan Air Force ROTC detachment is encouraging their alums to go to that tailgate as well. Many of us chose not to do this, and do our own UM Air Force ROTC tailgate, but I'm sure there are quite a few UM fans/alums who went into the AF that will also be at that tailgate.
Pretty sure FedEx doesn't have 737s so no need to worry about that disappointment. Other than that I think your assessment is fairly accurate, although I'm hoping it doesnt take Michigan 3 quarters to figure out the AF offense...
Eh, telling the difference between Boeing civilian aircraft isn't exactly a strength of mine. I saw the flyby and filed it under some kind of 7-something-7. I'm much better with telling military aircraft apart.
We've given up more than thirty three times in the last thirteen games. Once to the first real opponent and full game we didn't have GERG for, once to Miller, Herron and Posey, and once to the All-America Line of Doom last weekend.
Air Force returns three starters from a team that averaged 34.9ppg in 2011. Asking them to get almost to last years average with eight new starters against the best defense they'll play all year (by a wide margin, IMO) is probably unrealistic. Going off last year's stats, the only defenses they played in the top twenty (M was 6) were Boise State at 11 and TCU at 19. AFA scored 19 on TCU and 26 on Boise, and again, that was with eight starters that have graduated.
Before I accues the OP of being a homer, I just wanted to point out some key differences between the two games:
- Idaho State has 13 players that weigh more than 275 lbs. ONE of these players is in his third year (or more) with the program
- Michigan has 28 players thta weigh more than 275 lbs. THIRTEEN of these players are in their third year (or more) with the program
- Air Force has ZERO players that weigh more than 255 lbs.
- Idaho State does not list a defensive coordinator on their staff
- Michigan's defensive coordinator is Greg Mattison
- ZERO of the players on Idaho State's roster were recruited by Michigan
- Air Force's best RB weighs 175 lbs.
- Air Force was at home, not in the Big House
NOW I will call you a homer.
Idaho State was a PERFECT match-up for Air Force. They are a small finesse team with a short passing game as the foundation of their offense. Air Force is TINY on both sides of the ball and rely on being quicker and smarter than their opponent--both of which they have as advantages against Idaho State. NEITHER of those will be advantages against Michigan.
Yes, the triple option will probably gash our defense three to five times this game. Yes, Air Force has some talent--especially their 5-7 175 lb. RB. Yes, I can see Air Force scoring 14-20 points with their talent and trickery. But 31 points??? The game close until the fourth quarter?
Any one of Michigan's starting lineman on either side of the ball could bench press any of Air Force's lineman. Or eat them.
This game will not be close past the mid-way point of the second quarter. Michigan will play some power offense. I expect Fitz and Rawls to have big days on the ground, and that we'll get a real good look at some of our second string players in the fourth quarter.
Michigan 38 - AF 14
"Idaho St does not list a defensive coordinator on their staff" Did anyone else find that hilarious? I literally lol'd.
I'm a fan of Michigan as well, and it's entirely possible I am over-reacting to the Bama game, but the defense showed some real vulnerabilities that Air Force can exploit. I'll also point out that Air Force put up 33 on Notre Dame last year so it's not like they can't produce against BCS opponents. Ignoring that in favor of "Hurr, hurr, we're bigger." feels homerish to me as well.
My original prediction in the first diary I wrote was 45-17 Michigan, I revised it based off what I saw on Saturday from both teams. Connor Dietz looked like a much better passer than he has in the past, even against poor competition like Idaho St. and is a fifth year senior quarterback with starting experience under his belt. The skill position guys look roughly equivalent to what Air Force had last year and the offensive line has talent if not size.
Meanwhile, Michigan's D-Line looks like they still have some issues to sort out and I'm wondering about Ryan and Beyer/Black/Clark, being able to hold the edge. Kovacs will be Kovacs, but I think Air Force has a real opportunity to score points.
I'm not trying to offend anyone and I know after Bama there needs to be belief that Michigan can dominate, but in my opinion Air Force's offense should be fine. However, Michigan will roll them when Denard and co. get on the field and thus Michigan will win and probably comfortably in the end, but I think Air Force will provide some nervous moments.
UM's defense is obviously not as good as we want it to be, but isn't as bad as you seem to think it is.
Air Force has EIGHT new--scratch that, NINE with the loss of their center--starters. This is not the same team that torched ND last year. But then Greg Mattison is not ND's DC. He is better. Much better.
That said, I do expect some initial issues with AFA's offense. I suspect the Falcons will probably have a fairly productive first quarter or so before Mattison's charges ground the Falcons.
Let us not forget the "We're really pissed off at being humiliated on primetime network television, and we're going to take out that anger on you"-factor.
Ehh, or the "we're depressed at being humiliated, and spend the week metaphorically (or potentially literally) hungover." It can go either way.
Our offense will 2011-Minnesota them with a combination of Fitz and what Denard does to physically inferior defenses, but the triple option and cut blocking can mitigate lack of size and strength in the AF front and our d-line looked pretty garbage on Saturday. I doubt they will get 31, but I also think they will score more than we like. 45-24 seems resonable.
And finally, credit to OP for sticking with his undergrad alma mater.
Norfleet will run one back on 'em. Book it.
it's been booked.
Since Troy Calhoun took over, there is not much difference from his philosophy and Fisher DeBerry's but his time spent in the NFL has allowed him to add some pro-style facets to his game. While Air Force might be undersized on the line, they get away with it because of quickness and a zone blocking scheme similar to what Denver used in the late-90s early 2000's. You'll see them undercut the bigger Michigan linemen rather than taking them head-on. This and the deception, misdirection, and the ability to take advantage of a team's lack of gap discipline will fuel the offense.
On defense, while they tend towards 3 man fronts, their lack of size doesn't allow them to use two gap principles, so they will slant a lot. They attempt to succeed where others fail with regards to gap discipline and require their players not to make stupid mistakes.
As for their inexperience, while they lose a lot of starters, this is typical for Air Force. They typically backfill with juniors and seniors who have been in the program for 2-3 years and may have even played at the Prep school or for the JV team. Thus, losing 8 starters is not the same as it would be for most other schools.
That being said, this is supposed to be a weaker Air Force team. For the first time in a long time, they will be forced to replace a four year starter at QB and RB. I think 45-31 would be optimistic for Air Force, but this is a team that oftens does well when the expectations are at their lowest. Hopefully, Michigan will come in well prepared and not make dumb miscues the Falcons often capitalize on.
I am worried that we're going to see an afternoon of our interior d-line picking themselves up after getting cut blocked and walking 5 yards downfield. Don't think we'll lose but wouldn't be surprised to see AF put up 250+ yards on the ground.