Fitch impresses in final Air Force scrimmage

Updated: August 23, 2003, 10:05 PM ET

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Air Force received some sage advice from former Michigan coach Bo Schembechler Saturday before the team's final scrimmage of the preseason.

"He just told them either you get better or you get worse. Teams don't stay the same," Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry said. "So, I think that set a good tempo for us at practice today."

Last season the Falcons went 8-5 but at times played down to their competition, losing to Wyoming and San Diego State, who together went 6-19.

"We don't ever want to have what happened to us a couple of times last year, slip backwards you know," DeBerry said. "We just want to get better and better. That's the goal."

In the scrimmage, the varsity team prevailed 32-7 over a scout team.

Senior starting quarterback Chance Harridge was 2-for-2 passing for 26 yards. Sophomore backup Adam Fitch completed 5-of-7 passes for 57 yards.

Fitch, who was named Harridge's backup last week, saw the majority of snaps to prepare him for game competition. Fitch also led all rushers with 48 yards on 11 carries.

"Adam Fitch, I thought, did some things well," DeBerry said. "I liked the way he attacked the defense. He threw the ball with some precision and some velocity and accuracy. He's going to be a good quarterback. He just needs to work. He's just a sophomore and we can't lose sight of that."

Halfback Darnell Stephens, and underclassmen Jacob Kendrick and Jason Boman each scored touchdowns.

Air Force has paid extra attention to its kick-blocking teams this preseason after lagging the last two seasons, and backup defensive end Nelson Mitchell blocked a field goal attempt Saturday.

"We were very disappointed last year in our number of blocked kicks," DeBerry said. The Falcons blocked nine kicks in 2000, five in 2001 and just four last season. Since 1990 though, Air Force has blocked 79 kicks, second in the nation over that span to Virginia Tech, which has blocked 85.

Air Force's punting game is a question mark. Starter Andrew Martin's only attempt went 21 yards.

"Punting game was a little disappointing to me to be honest," DeBerry said. "It's a concern that we have."

The Falcons open the season against Wofford next Saturday.

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index