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Military Bowl 2011: Air Force's Alex Means Stepping Up

As Air Force prepares to take on Toledo in the Military Bowl on Dec. 28 at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in Washington, Irv Moss of the Denver Post reports junior linebacker Alex Means is impressing his coach, Troy Calhoun.

"Alex realizes the level you have to play to play well on a consistent basis," said Air Force coach Troy Calhoun. "Truly, as a junior, it's good to see players emerge as leaders. Maybe at an academy, when you're not a senior, you're a tad reluctant. He's not reluctant. I like to see a player with that strong a personality to be able to assert it in a way that helps the team.

"On the field, I see a player with more pass rush skills. I see a player that plays with more vibrancy and that has helped us as a football team. He can really help us next year as a key driver."

Before he can focus on next season, however, Means will have to help his teammates stop a potent Rockets offensive attack. Toledo is ranked No. 8 nationally in points per game at 42.3, No. 14 in rushing yards per game at 221.2 and No. 29 in passing yards per game at 272.0.

Means racked up 71 tackles, nine tackles for loss and six sacks for the Falcons' defense during the regular season. The sack total was good to lead the team, so it'll be interesting to see how well he can disrupt Toledo's attack when kickoff finally arrives.

For more on the 2011 Military Bowl, visit this StoryStream. For more on Mountain West football, visit Mountain West Connection. For more on the Mid-American Conference, visit Hustle Belt. And for more from around college football, head over to SB Nation's college football news hub.