Friday, September 08, 2006
USAF Thinking "Shocker"
Some Hai-ku for Saturday. Booing these guys seems to be an issue for some reason over on the Sheep Board. Another year with No skill position players BOO, motherfucker September 08, 2006 Big-time schools, big-time upsets By DAN WOLKEN THE GAZETTE In 1985, nobody gave them a chance. Air Force 24, Texas 16 In 1990, nobody gave them a chance. Air Force 23, Ohio State 11 In 1996, nobody gave them a chance. Air Force 20, Notre Dame 17 Three historic programs. Three historic upsets. Is Tennessee next? Once again, nobody is giving the Falcons much of a chance to open the season with a victory Saturday against the No. 11-ranked Volunteers at Neyland Stadium. Does coach Fisher DeBerry have one more shocker in him? “We always believe we have a chance no matter what anybody else thinks,” said special teams coach Tom Miller, who has been an Air Force assistant since DeBerry became head coach in 1984. “That’s the thing that Fisher does as good as anyone is making the guys feel like they can win the football game. We definitely always expect to win and over the years they’ve made believers out of me. I think that this is our kind of set-up.” Whenever DeBerry decides to retire, he will go straight into the College Football Hall of Fame not just because of his overall record but for how consistently he has beaten the top programs in college football while coaching at a service academy. Not only does he own victories over Texas, Ohio State and Notre Dame (three times), DeBerry is 3-0 against Washington and has beaten Virginia Tech, Mississippi State and California. Though DeBerry downplayed it to the media this week, he has talked about those upsets several times with his players as they prepare to face a Tennessee team that won a national championship in 1998 and has had just one losing season since 1988. Tennessee thumped then-No. 9 California 35-18 last week. “This is this year. I’m not living in the past,” DeBerry said. “This is this team and these guys aren’t dumb. They know that we’ve risen to the occasion and beaten some pretty good teams in the past and we’re capable of doing that if we play our game. They can do anything if they believe it, and I believe that about anybody. I truly believe you can do anything.” The Las Vegas oddsmakers certainly don’t believe it, making Air Force a 20-point underdog. But given DeBerry’s history against college football’s elite, players have been conditioned to ignore the odds. “We’re going out there to win,” senior cornerback Chris Sutton said. “We’re going out there to shock the nation and return to dominance. Winning this game is the first step in that mission. There have been great wins in the past, but it’s the past. We’ve also had two losing seasons in our past. If we control the clock and do what we’ve got to do, we can make an upset.” Junior quarterback Shaun Carney said a victory this weekend would not just add another notch to DeBerry’s belt, but would carve out a place in Air Force history for this team regardless of what happens over the 11 remaining games. “It could be a defining moment for this team,” Carney said. “It could be like the 1996 team who went out and beat Notre Dame. That defined that team. “They didn’t do anything great. They didn’t go 12-1 or go undefeated but they won that big game and it defined their team.” CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0258 or firstname.lastname@example.org SEASON OPENER Air Force at Tennessee (1-0), 5 p.m. Saturday, 740 AM, ESPN GamePlan