Dietz slipping into the starting role for Air Force?

Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson

When Tim Jefferson missed most of spring football to concentrate on academics and remain eligible for the 2009 season, he thought his main competition for the starting quarterback roll would be Asher Clark.

But Jefferson’s absence allowed sophomore Connor Dietz a chance to become comfortable with the offense and the receivers during the spring, and now that comfort is showing on the field.

Dietz, who replaced Jefferson after he suffered a sprained ankle three weeks ago, is 1-1 as the starter, but nearly led the team to a comeback victory against TCU two weeks ago. Last week, after Jefferson failed to ignite the offense for the better part of three quarters, Dietz came off the bench and led the Falcons to two scores and a 10-0 win over Wyoming.

Coach Troy Calhoun remains undecided about who will start under center against Utah this week, but he can’t deny which quarterback has been most effective.

“I don’t know if necessarily it’s an edge, but I do think [Dietz has] been more effective,” Calhoun told local media Sunday.

Air Force has defeated Utah just once in the past six tries, but a win would push the Falcons into third place in the Mountain West Conference and possibly second, depending on the outcome of the game between TCU and BYU.

Air Force’s greatest strength so far this season has been its defense. The Falcons rank 10th in the country in total defense with 266.71 yards per game. They’re seventh in the country in scoring defense with 11.86 points per game. Air Force also is first in the country in turnover margin, which could prove the difference against a Utah team that is averaging a turnover per game and has at least two in all but one game this season.