Experienced Air Force offense could be problematic for Frogs

Coming off a 34-13 loss to the Texas Longhorns, the Frogs look to bounce back as they start Mountain West Conference play tonight against Air Force.The Falcons come into tonight’s game with a 2-0 record and a triple-option offense loaded with experience.

Head coach Gary Patterson said the experience of the Falcons’ offense and their team’s great start will make it a difficult game.

“I think you’d rather play them when they’re not playing as well one way or the other, because they’re 2-0 right now,” Patterson said.

Junior linebacker Jason Phillips said Air Force’s offensive experience means TCU’s defensive play has to be focused following a game that saw the defense allow 24 points in the fourth quarter to UT.

Phillips said Air Force’s offense has a handful of veterans leading the way.

“You can expect they’re going to be pretty good on their execution and how they run plays,” Phillips said.

He said the defense needs to also stay within its boundaries against Air Force.

“You can’t just come out and play wild defense,” Phillips said. “You have to play disciplined defense.”

On the offensive side of the ball, senior wide receiver Ervin Dickerson said as long as players maintain focus and everyone knows what to do against the Falcons, he is optimistic about the team’s chances.

Although the majority of the TCU defense is seasoned and still considered a good unit, Patterson said the Falcons’ offense does a great job of exposing a team’s weakness.

“They’ll find guys who don’t have the experience,” Patterson said. “They do a lot of check with me at the line of scrimmages, where they’ll all look to the sideline and they’ll signal different plays.”

The triple-option has been a mainstay of the Air Force offense for years. Patterson says by limiting Air Force’s play total and by scoring early, TCU will have taken them out of their comfort zone.

“If you let a triple-option team run 75 to 85 plays, you’re in a lot of trouble,” Patterson said. “What they do is they’re going to get a chance to make adjustments and they’re going to see plays and do things. We haven’t allowed them to make that many plays the past two years.”

The Frogs have outscored Air Force 86-24 in the last two meetings.

“Last year, we held them to 95 yards of total offense,” Patterson said.

He said being able to stop or limit the Falcons from manufacturing big gains on first downs will be pivotal.

“You’ve got to be able to play on first down,” Patterson said. “You’ve got to be able to make it second and long, and if you don’t make it second and long, then it’s going to be a long day against the triple-option.”

Patterson, who was Navy’s secondary coach in 1995, knows that playing against any of the military institutions on their home fields is a difficult task.

“You’d rather never play them at home, at their place,” Patterson said. “They always play a lot different at home.”

Last season Air Force was 2-3 when playing at home.

Junior running back Aaron Brown’s status is still questionable for the game.

A loss to Air Force would put the Horned Frogs below .500 for the first time since the 2004 season.