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Air Force’s defensive coordinator is classified. Is it one of these 11 people?

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The Falcons won’t say who will take over their defense.

In a classic bit of tradecraft, the Air Force football team has not given up the identity of its defensive coordinator. The 2018 season isn’t even two months away, and an FBS program has a vacancy — or maybe it doesn’t — for a critical assistant coaching job.

The Colorado Springs Gazette’s Brent Briggeman reports head coach Troy Calhoun “addressed, or rather deflected” questions about the position at a public event on Tuesday:

“I don’t know if it’s necessarily a delay,” Calhoun said when asked why he has opted to take an abnormally long time to announce a coordinator. “I’ve yet to see a law or an edict that says that you must.

“We’ll see as we head down the road here. I think the key is I want to make sure fundamentally we are much, much better in terms of open-field tackling, getting off blocks and the clarity of what we’re doing defensively with our scheme.”

Former coordinator Steve Russ left to become the Carolina Panthers’ linebackers coach in January. It’s odd for a college team to leave this job vacant for more than a few weeks.

While we don’t know who the new coordinator is going to be, the best guess is that it’s someone already on the Falcons’ defensive staff.

So, one of these six guys:

  • Tim Cross, assistant head coach and defensive line
  • Brian Knorr, spurs (edge defenders)
  • John Rudzinski or Chip Vaughn, secondary
  • Ron Vanderlinden, inside linebackers
  • Matt Weikert, outside linebackers

But for now, we don’t know that the coordinator isn’t one of these other five people:

1. Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson

Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing On Firearms Accessory Regulation And Enforcing Background Checks Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

2. Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton, a Colorado Springs native

2012 iHeartRadio Music Festival - Day 2 - Show Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Clear Channel

3. One of these helmets, just wearing a headset

4. Indicted Trump guy Michael Flynn

He’s just under deep cover at the moment. Look closely:

5. Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun

Colorado State v Air Force Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The most boring idea here, other than that one of the defensive assistants is taking over, is that Calhoun’s just doing the job himself these days. That’d be kind of weird, because his background is in offense, but stranger things have happened.

The true watchdogs of democracy won’t rest until we get answers.

One question: Does he exist? Or, put another way, has he been hired yet?

A second: Who is he?

A third: Can democracy survive if Air Force — a part of the federal government — doesn’t tell us who’s going to take over the Mountain West’s ninth-ranked scoring defense?

A fourth: What are the national-security ramifications of Calhoun not telling us the name of the person who’s going to coordinate his defense?