Scattered souls (cont.)
Posted: Thursday August 23, 2007 2:20PM; Updated: Thursday August 23, 2007 2:57PM
"What's tough about it, too, is when people are there, there's so many people doing different things at that academy," he said. "It's almost impossible to meet up with everybody and try to get a team list or semi-team list because everybody is on different schedules."
For Calhoun, who took over the Air Force program after serving as the Houston Texans offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach last year, this summer was his first in dealing with the mandated chaos as a coach. While he says the situation isn't ideal, he has unique understanding and respect for the routine as a 1989 Academy graduate.
"It's one of those you can look at it and say, 'I don't have any of my guys and there are 116 schools that do that have them there and they practice all summer,' " he said. "But what it requires character-wise, it requires guys to be extremely well rounded. That's part of being at the Air Force Academy."
Calhoun's message to the Falcons as they left for the break was to lean on the self-discipline and ingenuity that is such a large part of academy life, especially at a time when they had only themselves to answer to.
"I think winners find a way, they're going to find some way to get in the weight room: the barbells may not be perfect, they may not have the bumper plates or the footballs might be a different size or the fields might be lined a little bit differently, mowed every fifth day instead of every other day, [but] guys who are winners are still going to find a way to stay focused on what they want to accomplish," Calhoun said.
"One by one we have to have guys that are dedicated and we gotta find a way to lift, run, throw and catch. If that means the three weeks they're home that they get mom, or their sister to catch a few balls or throw some to them."
While other schools work to create activities away from the rigors of summer workouts to bond as a team, the Falcons (who are largely apart until they report back on July 31 outside of two "Transition Saturdays" when the three-week periods overlap, which Fowler says is "like a reunion, it's like a huge party") aren't concerned with how they'll build that trust among teammates before the season opens Sept. 1 against South Carolina State.
"I think just the life we live at that academy and the stuff we've been through, we really don't have to work on that chemistry because we're all the same people," Fowler said. "It's one of those things that you actually feel if you have to go through it and stuff. But it's a good feeling to have."
Adds Calhoun: "The shared experiences that they do have ... that's a pretty unique shared bond, going through basic training [and] some of the things they do. There tends to be a tremendous chemistry."
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