With Conference USA superlatives in the books, I’m moving on to the Mountain West. Air Force was one of the first teams in the country to start spring football and it came in with a lot of questions on the offensive line and at punter. While some of those questions were answered, the Falcons still have a lot of work to do in the fall.
Strongest position: Quarterbacks
Key returners: Junior Tim Jefferson (56.9 percent completion, 848 yards, five touchdowns, two interceptions, 254 rushing yards, two touchdowns), junior Connor Dietz (47.3 percent completion, 197 yards, one touchdown, 369 rushing yards, one touchdown)
Key departures: None
The skinny: Dietz got a little extra work this spring with Jefferson limited while recovering from knee surgery. Both quarterbacks played significant snaps last year, but the offense was stagnant at times, especially during the first half of the season. However, with slotbacks Jared Tew and Asher Clark returning, the quarterbacks probably won’t have any more pressure on them this year than they had a year ago.
Weakest position: Offensive line
Key returners: Sophomore A.J. Wallerstein
Key departures: Left tackle Ryan Gonzales, left guard Nick Charles, center Michael Hampton, right guard Peter Lusk, right tackle Chris Campbell
The skinny: Outside of Wallerstein, there’s very little game experience up front, though several players took reps with the first team during practice last season. About 10 players were competing for starting roles on the offensive line this spring and while some starters emerged, the competition will continue into fall camp. Coach Troy Calhoun said last year's offensive front was one of the best he's coached, so the new line will have a lot to live up to.