NCAA FB

Notre Dame braces for Air Force's option offense

Share This Story

   
 

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP)

The name of Air Force's starting quarterback doesn't scare Notre Dame nearly as much as the offensive scheme.

The Falcons (1-6, 0-5 Mountain West) have yet to announce which backup QB will be under center when they try to end a six-game slide on Saturday against the Fighting Irish (5-2).

It could be Nate Romine, a fourth stringer when the season began who's rapidly moved up the depth chart due to injuries and an academic ineligibility. Or it possibly may be Karson Roberts - the backup to the backup out of fall camp - as he returns from a concussion he suffered two weeks ago against San Diego State.

No matter, the Irish are simply preparing for the structure of Air Force's hard-to-defend triple-option offense, not so much the starter.

''For us, (that's) the most important element,'' Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. ''The quarterback certainly is part of that scheme and so when we look at both of the quarterbacks that have played in the last game, the last couple of games, it really, for us, is not as important as preparation for the scheme.''

Notre Dame has some quarterback concerns of its own, with Tommy Rees leaving a 14-10 win over USC last Saturday in the third quarter with a strained neck. But Rees looked solid in practice this week and is expected to play.

''It was good to have Tommy out there,'' Kelly said. ''He took all the first-team reps (Thursday) and he looked really good.''

Still, backup Andrew Hendrix received more time than usual with the first-team offense, just in case.

''I liked what he did. A lot more confident,'' Kelly said.

Here are five things to know as Notre Dame goes for its seventh straight win at Falcon Stadium:

OH, BROTHER: With nose guard Louis Nix III not making the trip due to knee tendinitis, there's a good chance Isaac Rochell could receive more playing time. He may also line up against his brother, Air Force sophomore left tackle Matt Rochell. The brothers are from McDonough, Ga. ''I think more than anything else he's excited about playing, whether he's playing against his brother or not, he knows he's getting into the game,'' Kelly said. ''We've talked about being prepared for the game.''

DON'T CALL IT A RIVALRY: Air Force coach Troy Calhoun smirked when someone asked him if he ever saw the movie, ''Rudy,'' the ultimate underdog story of Notre Dame defensive player Rudy Ruettiger who made the Fighting Irish team through sheer determination. ''It's a good one,'' Calhoun said. But Calhoun didn't so much as crack even a tiny smile when the subject of Notre Dame being a rival was mentioned. The Irish are 23-6 overall against Air Force and 12-2 at Falcon Stadium. ''I don't think they see that at all,'' Calhoun said.

HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE?: Calhoun expects to see plenty of gold and blue in the stands on Saturday simply because the Fighting Irish fans always travel well. ''That's a possibility,'' Calhoun said. This has been a challenging season for Calhoun's squad, which must win out to become eligible for a seventh straight bowl appearance. Asked if an upset of Notre Dame would make up for all the losses, Calhoun said: ''It's not the way we live. I want to see how well-educated we can be. I want to see how hard we can play. I want to see younger guys improve and develop as football players. More importantly, I want to see how many seniors we can graduate. That better be the drive of every young man that's part of our program.''

TUITT'S RISE: Irish defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt just may be one of the best in the country, on the same level as South Carolina standout Jadeveon Clowney even. That's Calhoun's opinion anyway after watching film of Tuitt, who had seven tackles and two sacks against USC last weekend. ''He's a tremendous player,'' Calhoun said.

LONG BREAK: The Falcons have had two weeks to prepare for the Irish. Kelly expects to see plenty of twists in Air Force's play calling, maybe even a little bit of both quarterbacks. ''There's plenty of time to have them both prepared and ready to expand that package a little bit,'' Kelly said. This is an offense that's tough to stop, especially with so little time to prepare. ''It really slows you down and forces you to play assignment football,'' Kelly said of Air Force's run-oriented system.

---

Associated Press writer Tom Coyne in South Bend, Ind., contributed to this report.

Tagged: Air Force, Notre Dame, Buffalo, Tommy Rees, Stephon Tuitt, Brian Kelly

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

Sumlin annoyed by media's Manziel questions Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Kevin Sumlin responds to questions about life after Johnny Football by toying wi...

AJ Pasquale's journey back to UCLA Posted: Jun 17, 2014
UCLA football ops intern AJ Pasquale describes his own personal journey after th...

Winston issued adult civil citation Posted: Apr 30, 2014
Get the latest news surrounding Jameis Winston's recent shoplifting fiasco.

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash