Air Force Player Quotes from BHAFB Press Conference

Nick DiJulio, Defensive Lineman, 6-4, 240, Sr., Overland Park, Kan.    

How did you decide to attend the Academy vs. other offers you had as you finished high school?

“It was really about coach Calhoun. He came to my high school, we talked, he’s a great guy and a guy you would want to play football for. I am very happy I made the choice to attend the Academy. It has been a great experience, one I would never trade for anything.”

The discipline, the structure you have to have to be a cadet at the Academy is a different than going to many other universities. Can you speak to that?

“Yeah, it’s a little different at the Academy but it is something you know going in and just accept. The guys on the team, we are all dedicated to play football and represent the Academy in a good light. We understand what comes with the job when we come to Colorado.”

What do you do to compensate for the size differences you will face against Rice, and do against every opponent almost every week?

“The size thing, you just gotta really trust your techniques. Following your assignments is really important. It’s not something we focus on week-to-week because we usually face guys who are bigger than we are. It’s not something we can let get into our heads because we can’t do much about it. We play efficient, we try to play smart and that helps us.

“Technique, strength, mobility is a big part of that. Being a little smaller, you are usually a little quicker and that helps when you are facing bigger guys.”

Conner Dietz, Quarterback, 6-0, 195, Sr., Columbus, Ohio

Being that the Academy is different than most university environments, how did you come to the conclusion that you wanted to attend Air Force?

“The Academy is different, obviously. From a recruiting aspect, the coaches let you know what is going on and let you in on things when they are recruiting you but until you actually go out there (Colorado Springs) and see for yourself and meet the guys on the team, that’s what really sold me. I met several guys who were similar to myself and then I knew it was a great opportunity for me.”

Air Force has a unique approach – a different kind of system than most college football programs. What was the process of you buying into the system the Falcons run?

“I think you have to buy into the system wherever you are. Going back to high school, I knew that if you didn’t buy into the system, you weren’t going to be successful. This is different system, sure, but Rice has its system and those guys have to buy into their philosophy and system. We have our philosophy and system and our way of doing things. If you don’t want to buy into it, then we don’t want you to be a part of us and you won’t be successful anyway.”

Did you play a similar kind of offense in high school?

“Actually, we did play a similar kind of offense in high school so it was an easier transition for me. We had success back then and I was confident in the system so it was good to keep with it.”

You graduated a few weeks ago and are now a Second Lieutenant in the US Air Force. Does it feel any different now that you are a grad?

“I feel a little more at ease, I’ll tell you, since I have graduated. It’s a weight lifted off your shoulders. It’s a big step and I am thankful and blessed enough to make that accomplishment with the help of many people. I couldn’t have done it on my own.  I’m happy to be sitting where I am right now.

“The next step for me is that I get sixty days of leave. I will be doing logistics at Macdill Air Force base in Tampa. Everybody asks me if I wanted to be a pilot but I like my feet on the ground. It’s the next step for me and I am excited for it.”