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GAME CAPSULE: FAU Football @ Air Force - September 25, 2021

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Wive's Tale said

This team breathes hot humid air all day. Not an issue.
Posted On: Sep 21st 2021, 7:24 AM #403517

Hot and Humid air isn't the same as almost a mile above sea level especially if you ain't used to it. You may end up seeing some of people using oxygen. 
Posted On: Sep 21st 2021, 9:13 AM #403519

You're correct, of course, about hot and humid air being quite different from thin and dry air. 

That said, FAU has fared pretty well (with different generations of players) at high elevation, except at War Memorial Stadium  in Laramie, Wyo., where our head coach (not the players) gave away the game. That stadium, at 7,730 feet, is the highest in the FBS. Falcon Stadium at the Air Force Academy is 2nd highest in FBS at 6,621 feet. But FAU has played and won at two high-elevation FCS sites in past years: Northern Arizona in Flagstaff (6,880 feet) in an FCS playoff game, and the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley (5,360 feet). 

At high elevation, temperature, humidity and wind also are worthy of note. These make hydration critical, unless you enjoy cramping. At AF, humidity of 10-20 percent is common this time of the year — and no precipitation is forecast for Saturday. Wind? Forget the forecast, whatever it is, and expect some (often swirling) wind coming off the mountains just west of the stadium. 

Temperatures should be OK, according to the long-range forecast, though it is wise to remember that they can drop pretty fast when the sun sets behind the mountains. Dry air does not hold heat very long. 

Forecast (all times Mountain): Temperature at 6 pm kickoff, 72; sunset is 6:52 pm; temperature at 7 pm, 68; at 8 pm, 63; at 9 pm, 60; at 10 pm, 56.  Punters and kickers love the place because the ball really carries in the thin air. Passers can overshoot the mark (for the same reason) until they can gauge the thin-air effect.
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grayowl said

LawOwl said

GeorgiaOwl said

We did very well at Wyoming, just p…ed it away!
Posted On: Sep 21st 2021, 10:01 AM #403518

Oh my what a loss that was
Posted On: Sep 21st 2021, 12:08 PM #403520

That Wyoming loss was on the coach, not the players. 
Posted On: Sep 21st 2021, 12:28 PM #403521

For sure!!!!
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We seem to go over this altitude thing every time we go out to western heights…it will be our third time "playing in the altitude".

So far it has made ZERO impact on performance, aside from fogging the mind of coaching (as previously pointed out).  :Laughing:

Anyways, most folks probably don't remember but we went to Northern Arizona in 2003, and that is 6,880 feet.

We whooped that Lumberjack arse 48-25.

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I do remember that win in 2003 against NAU.
It was also an indoor stadium.
Hopefully we will be okay, but generally high altitude teams have a slight advantage just like southern teams have an advantage in the heat against northern teams. (FAU win over Minnesota at then Joe Robbie Stadium)
Go Owls!
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Here's the story from the Colorado Springs Gazette (Sept. 22, 2021):

Florida Atlantic's experience will present a challenge to an Air Force squad on the rebound

By Brent Briggeman
Colorado Springs Gazette

Nothing Florida Atlantic sees this week at Air Force will be entirely new to its team and coaching staff.

The Owls have already played in front of 86,000 at No. 11 Florida, so the crowd size won’t be overwhelming to them regardless of how many file into Falcon Stadium.

Florida Atlantic has already faced run-heavy Georgia Southern and shut them down, so though Air Force’s style is different the general idea of facing a ground attack will not be foreign. And just in general, this is an Owls team coached by Willie Taggert (formerly the coach at Florida State and Oregon) with veteran coaches Mike Stoops (longtime assistant at Kansas State and Oklahoma and former coach at Ari‐ zona) as defensive coordinator and Michael Jonson (served stints as offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers and UCLA) as offensive coordinator.

The quarterback is N’kosi Perry, who threw for 228 yards in the Cheez-it Bowl last year for Miami against Oklahoma State before transferring. Coming out of high school, Perry was a four-star recruit and the No. 7 dual-threat quarterback in his class — just behind players like Tua Tagovailoa and Sam Ehlinger.

So, any hopes that this might be a pushover, knockoff-brand opponent that Air Force can control the way it did, say, when Georgia State visited in 2016 and Air Force won 48-14 and held the ball for more than three quarters of the game; those can be put to rest. “They are really sound,” Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said.

The Owls have always envisioned themselves as a bigtime football program, as evidenced by the big-name hires it has made. Since the program was launched in 2001 they’ve hired five coaches. Three of them were Howard Schnellenberger (the architect of Miami’s turnaround in the early 1980s and a national champion there), Lane Kiffin (the wunderkind who had coached the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee and USC before rebounding with the Owls in Boca Raton, Fla., and landing again in the SEC at Ole Miss) and now Taggert (recently one of the profession’s rising stars and looking to follow Kiffin’s trajectory). Florida Atlantic’s experience will present a challenge to an Air Force squad on the rebound.

“They’re highly committed to their program,” Calhoun said. While Air Force (2-1) is looking to rebound off a crushing, 49-45 loss to Utah State that included a blown, 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, Florida Atlantic (2-1) is looking to establish itself as a team that can go to a place like the academy and win. “That’s the next step with our football team and the next challenge of what we have to do if we want to be the championship team that we aspire to be,” Taggert said. “To go out and be able to win on the road.”

Kiffin had the most successful run in Florida Atlantic history, leading the team to an 11-3 mark in 2017 and 10-3 in 2019. The Falcons visited Kiffin’s Owls in 2018 and lost 33-27. Air Force players, many of whom were part of the 2018 team, don’t need a reminder of that loss for motivation. They just needed to experience Saturday evening’s game in which Utah State put up 630 yards and then turn on film to see a similar offense featured by Florida Atlantic. The Owls are averaging 298 passing yards and 178.3 rushing yards and have outscored opponents by an average of 32.3-18.33.

“Since they’re so similar offensively (to Utah State), we’re diving deep into the film of Saturday’s game and taking what we learned,” Air Force spur linebacker Vince Sanford said. “We learned that we’re probably not as invincible as we thought as a defense, but practice on Monday we honed in on our mistakes and we’re going to get those fixed on Saturday for sure.”

If not, Florida Atlantic has the experience to exploit those same areas.
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Coach Taggart noted that starting positions are "earned, not given" and that "this isn't high school." Says he's rolling with his guys for now, but Boselli is ready when the opportunity comes.
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One of the main talking points from the media this week is Air Force's physicality. Coach Taggart wants that same aura to be around FAU.
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Colorado already seeing some incoming travelers, site members Grayowl and Jim Slowiak showing their support early!

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“FAU Fans” are here as well with another couple.
Weather is in the 80's during the day and dropping quickly in the evening.
Looking forward to Saturday.
Go Owls!
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Here's Friday's story from the Colorado Springs Gazette:

O-lineman Cochran grows comfortable

320-pound junior guard, rest of line, confident in roles

By Brent Briggeman
Colorado Springs Gazette

If Isaac Cochran's general disposition is any indication, Air Force's offensive line is growing comfortable as the
season has rounded the quarter pole.

Cochran sat in front of Colorado Springs media for the first time Tuesday, wearing his "Diesel" hat that has
become the identifying mark of Falcons linemen and exuding a chatty sort of ease.

What did he do over turnback?

He gained 15 pounds while home in North Carolina through a combination of workouts and a steady supply of

"Mama's cooking definitely helped," said the 320-pound junior guard.

His favorite meals include steak and potatoes and the mac-n-cheese made at Thanksgiving.

on the position he took at Ace Hardware during that time:
"My job at first was pretty much to be the big guy that lifted everything," Cochran said.

on being one of five new offensive linemen this season for the Falcons:
"Hawk and Ryan, I've played with them since the day I got here," Cochran said of fellow veterans Hawk Wimmer
and Ryan Booth. "And we've got some great sophomores with Thor (Paglialong) and Everett (Smalley) and Ayden
(Mccollough). All of them were able to jump right in.

"When you play with new
guys, you've got to get used to how a guy steps," he said. "For the most part that was taken care of during our
freshmen and sophomore years."

Of course, like with most linemen – a position uncanny for its ability to produce personable characters – there's
so much more going on beneath the surface with Cochran and the new line he's helping to forge.

First, he's a former high school valedictorian who is studying materials chemistry at the Air Force Academy and
eyeing a future as a developmental engineer in the Space Force.

And the line seems to be churning now after a slow start after replacing starters Parker Ferguson and Nolan
Laufenberg, who signed NFL contracts this past offseason, as well as Nicholas Noyen, Kyle Krepsz and Adam

"It's pretty hard to follow up behind the group of five we had last year with Nolan and Ferg both going to the
league and three other great guys playing," Cochran said. "But I'd say we're definitely, at a minimum, keeping up.
We have stuff that we need to work on as an o-line, and we need to step up more to fill their shoes. But we're def
initely on our way."

The line's focus during the opener against Lafayette was simply to see how it would be able to react. The result
perfunctory, if not spectacular, as the Falcons won 35-14 but didn't produce enough separation against the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision  opponent to pull the starters until midway through the fourth quarter.

Then came a 23-3 win at Navy, where the Falcons averaged 3.3 yards per play. The holes the line managed to create were small, but that's often the case against a Midshipmen team well-versed in playing in this rivalry game. In that series, no one gets overly caught up in stats; just results.

Finally came last week against Utah State, where the Falcons had 619 yards of offense and fullbacks Brad Roberts
and Emmanuel Michel followed the holes created in the middle by the line to run 18 times for 217 yards in the
second half.

"I think our o-line does a good job of wearing people out," Michel said. "I knew once Brad got that first run up the
middle in the second half, I knew it was going to be like that the rest of the second half. That's when things started
to open up."

For Cochran, the showing by the line was spoiled since Utah State prevailed 49-45.

"There's definitely some positives we can take," he said. "Only one stat matters, that's what ends up in the win-loss

Coach Troy Calhoun offered praise of Cochran.

"Good size, good movement; he's made himself a better athlete," Calhoun said. "He's made himself a better foot‐
ball player with his strength and his field awareness. And he plays fearless."

This week, the Falcons face a Florida Atlantic defense that has held its past two opponents to a combined 20 points
and 496 yards. The Owls' defensive front features a 356-pound nose guard in Evan Anderson.

Cochran felt comfortable enough to describe the task in its simplest terms.

"A lot of our offense is going to depend on, 'Can we move them?'" he said. "That's what we plan on doing."
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