Cut block consequences...
Obviously I've addressed in the past how impossible it is to hate on any service academies because really it just downright wrong, so this mainly just serves as a warning for Saturday's game in Colorado Springs. Air Force will cut block all game, every play, and go straight for our defender's knees and/or roll up on their ankles, especially the front 4 and any blitzing linebackers or safeties playing near the line of scrimmage. For those unfamiliar with a cut block, it's basically just someone blocking you below the waist, which is completely legal unless the defender is engaged with another block. Waymon James got penalized for this Friday night, although I heard it was a bullshit call/drive killer. Teams like Air Force that are undersized and have inferior athletes (seriously, ask Fisher DeBerry) tend towards the cut block since it's easier than trying to match up physically. It's also very common for teams that run the triple option to use the cut block tactic regularly, so Air Force is a perfect candidate to spend an entire Saturday trying to annihilate our helpless defender's knees and ankles.
Seriously, every single year before the Air Force game I get nervous that someone will get injured, whether it be a high ankle sprain, a torn ACL or whatever the case is. It is just commonplace when playing them that someone will inevitably get caught flat-footed and rolled up on. Last year we suffered a very, very substantial injury to the defensive line due to the Air Force cut block, breaking the ankle of 4 year starting DT Kelly Griffin and keeping him out until the Rose Bowl. Oddly enough, TCU was lucky enough to have sophomore Jeremy Coleman and D.J. Yendrey step in and fill his void nicely. I'd like to see more out of the same from those two this year, although Coleman is most certainly M.I.A. so far this fall. Former standout cornerback Drew Coleman also was injured during his TCU days due to an Air Force cut block. Coleman hurt his knee, and fortunately for him it wasn't very severe because now he's found a good home in the NFL spending the past several seasons as the Jets nickel back before coming over to Jacksonville this season.
I'd say our players need to be alert and on their toes, looking out for cut blocks and avoiding injury, but from everything I read and see there's really no way to avoid it. Plain and simple- you will be cut blocked and we just have to hope we don't sustain any injuries because of it. Our depth on the DL isn't exactly stellar, and we have a lot of young guys getting serious playing time at that spot and I hope they aren't forced into permanent action. As evidenced by the Drew Coleman injury a few years back, defensive backs aren't out of the woods either, and we can ill afford to lose any DB's, because as we saw against Baylor, that is an area where we need to grow up fast and get stronger. Let's all hope that week 2 goes a lot better than week 1, and we make it back for the home opener in good health and are ready to roll with a 1-1 record.