You can find my answers to Jeremy's questions over at Mountain West Connection. Without further ado, Off we go into the wild blue yonder!
(Author's note: Air Force has the best song of any of the branches. Sorry other military bros in the comments.)
1. With the injuries (and other issues) to the QB position, what is your current level of confidence in the AF attack, both against the Irish and moving forward for the season?
The quarterback situation for Air Force has been a mess from injuries to losing players to disciplinary issues. The Falcons could be getting third-string quarterback Karson Roberts to start on Saturday. Roberts has seen plenty of time and performed all right in his few games he has started. Roberts suffered a concussion against San Diego State and he did not practice during the by week. If Roberts can start then that should help Air Force have some consistency. Roberts led the rushing attack just fine in his prior starts and that should be the norm, and regardless of who has been under center the offensive rushing attack has been one of the nation's best. Throwing the ball is where using a third-string quarterback really hampers a team.
2. Obviously Notre Dame has a size advantage almost across the board, but what advantages do you think Air Force can exploit against the Irish (Offense or Defense)
Probably nowhere, this is the worst Air Force team in a long time on both sides of the ball. The offense is still 12th in the nation in rushing yards per game, but are using their third-string quarterback. The defense is just awful outside of their linebacking corp. Normally, Air Force outside defensive lineman can use their speed to get past an offensive lineman but that is not the case this year as the Falcons are last in sacks and tackles for loss in the Mountain West.
The linebacking group is the best on the field for Air Force and they can get to the ball carrier quickly, and they are solid tacklers. Saying a team tackles well is not really an advantage, basically the linebacking group should be able to hold their own.
On offense the diversity of running backs and other players who will carry the ball is a plus since Air Force will rotate in various players to run the ball and keep them fresh. Broam Hart is the main back for Air Force, but this year's team does not have a primary or dynamic back. There are just a set of players who rotate in and out.
3. Air Force's defense is having a tough season by most measures. What is their main personnel/formational grouping, and who are some of the players that will need to have a big impact on the defensive side of the ball?
Air Force uses a 3-4 set to put more athletes on the field and also to not have as many defensive lineman that other teams can push around. The speed helps in the running game, albeit this year not too well. The key players are linebackers Steffon Batts, Joey Nichol and Christian Spears. Those three have combined for nearly 160 tackles. Batts is good in pass coverage with four broken up passes this year, Nichol has 6.5 tackles for loss and Spears has two interceptions with another three pass break ups.
4. Who is one player from Air Force that Notre Dame fans will remember for a long time after this game for a spectacular play they made? (Think Ram Vela from Navy)
This is a very tough one since this is not the best Air Force team. Forced, I would go with quarterback Karson Roberts, because he is in charge of the offense and he has shown in spurts that he can be a threat running the ball.
5. Finally, what is your prediction for the game this weekend, and how do we get there? Bonus points for GIF usage!!
Barring a miracle there is no way that Air Force will win this game. That being said, Air Force traditionally gives even good teams fit from the time of possession they hoard and also to the rarely seen triple-option offense. Notre Dame is a 20-point favorite and I do note see the Irish winning by more than three touchdowns. However, what likely will happen is that Air Force will keep the game very close for the first half, but once the second half begins I expect Notre Dame to get slew of points from an Air Force turnover and just pull away by 14 to 17 points.
For my GIF I called on the GIF Oracle and came up with this one. Not a football one, but it says it all as Air Force will come up short.
Thanks to Jeremy again!