Nov. 11, 2003
Head Coach Rocky Long
Question: How would you compare Air Force's quarterback Chance Harridge to Colorado State's Bradlee Van Pelt?
Rocky Long: "They're not even close to being the same. The only thing that is comparable is that both offenses are based around their quarterback. But Harridge is a triple option quarterback, so he's reading and dealing the ball depending on what you do on defense, where Colorado State has one guy that throws the ball and runs the ball. Air Force always has good quarterbacks because they train them up through the system. Their system only works if the quarterback is good, and their quarterback is very good. His job is to manage the game and get the ball to the right guy."
Q: Do you think DonTrell Moore has been more of a "north-south" runner the last few games, and has that led to his success?
RL: "I'm not sure that he is. His style is that he slows down at the line of scrimmage until a hole opens up and then he pops through the hole. So I would guess that the holes weren't there as quickly or as readily as they have been the last couple of weeks. I still think he that slides up to the line and then finds a spot and goes. I think the offensive line has been blocking better, especially since Jason Lenzmeier got back into the lineup."
Q: How different is it to prepare defensively from Colorado State to Air Force?
RL: "Preparing for Air Force is so much different than anybody else you play all year. If you run-blitz, the angles you blitz at are completely different. Against them, we will never pass-blitz, because there's always the threat of the option. But even when we run-blitz, the angles are so different that it's hard to prepare for it in just two or three days. If the quarterback reads things right, they don't have to block everybody. If he reads it right, you can never beat it on the chalkboard. Every play they run works every time on the chalkboard.
"Option football is finesse football. They're doing a lot more things this year than they did last year. They run some power plays, some [isolation] plays, some zone plays, the fly sweep, and they will also run some pro formations. They run bootlegs that they've never run before. They've really added a lot to their offense, and they can run the option out of all of their formations. Their formations don't give away their plays as much as they used too."
"There's no else in the country who comes close to running an option game like theirs. In fact, and I say this every year, but they're the best to ever run it. Teams like Oklahoma, Texas and Nebraska, who had success with the option, had great athletes who could just outrun you, they never had to use complicated schemes. Air Force just does so many things and runs out of so many formations, that's why they're the best true option team of all time."
"On the flip side, the uniqueness of our defense doesn't allow them to know what defender they're reading either. They won't know if they're reading an end or a blitzing linebacker until the ball is snapped. This quarterback (Chance Harridge) is experienced though, so it won't give him as much trouble as it did last year. Our defense wants them to run - we don't want to force them into a passing game. There are so many guys on the line of scrimmage that if you're forced into man coverage, there's no one to help out."
Q: What does Air Force's defense look like and how do you match up against them?
RL: "They line up the same on defense as us, but they run it much different. They're a three-deep zone team 99.9 percent of the time. They usually have four guys coming at you, but at times they will have five and six guys, but still play three-deep behind it, which means their underneath coverage doesn't have as many defenders. The whole idea behind their defense is to make you drive the ball, and the longer the offense has the ball, the more chances the offense has to make a mistake. You might be able to get a lot of yards, but they will keep you out of the endzone and outscore you. It really fits into their system, because their defense doesn't have to play very much, as long as their offense is getting first downs."