2013 Season Preview: Air Force

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Oct 8, 2011; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Cierre Wood (20) runs in for a touchdown against the Air Force Falcons at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame defeated Air Force 59-23. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Defense

Last season the Falcons defense allowed 29 points per game and finished third worst in the country in passing defense. The team also struggled to cause turnovers finishing with a total of 16 on the season. Air Force can expect improvement next season as they return six of their key starters to include three in the much maligned secondary.

Given the lack of size up front, the Falcons employ a 3-4 defensive scheme which maximizes their talent and speed on the edges. Air Force returns DE Alex Hanson (36 tackles, 4 sacks) along with OLB’s Jared Jones and Joey Nichols. Unfortunately the defense graduated their starting DTs, Alex Hanson and Joseph Champaign, and their starting middle linebackers. The front seven will struggle against the run, but expect Calhoun to use a variety of blitz packages to maximize Air Force’s speed on the outside and penetrate opponents’ backfields.

The pass defense should improve markedly from last year as the Falcons return DB Christian Spears (91 tackles), DB Steffon Batts (77 tackles. 2 INTs) and S Christian Spears (91 tackles) at safety.
After a year of learning the defense and playing against the offenses of MWC expect this unit to force more turnovers and prevent the big plays.

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Tags: Football Notre Dame Fighting Irish