Instead of familiarity, both coaches talked about the unknowns Tuesday.
Air Force has overhauled its offense under new coach Troy Calhoun, who took over when Fisher DeBerry retired in December after 23 years. Air Force revealed its new look in its 34-3 win over South Carolina State, debuting a new balanced attack while also using the option about of a third of the time.
"The option still shows up, but it's more of a mixture than a staple for them," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "It's a blend, using a little west coast flavor with some spread. It's really a hybrid offense, but they probably didn't show everything, either."
What the Falcons showed was variety.
Air Force quarterback Shaun Carney passed for 176 yards and a touchdown and running back Kip McCarthy rushed 22 times for 129 yards, going over 100 yards for the first time. However, McCarthy is doubtful for Saturday's game because of bursitis in his right knee, leaving the Falcons' running game as questionable as Utah's.
Air Force used lineups with five receivers, sometimes three running backs and used the option.
Altogether, seven receivers caught passes, the third-most in school history, and the tight ends caught four passes, which is as many as they caught in all of 2006.
While the Utes are wondering what else the Falcons have tucked away, Air Force is doing a little scrambling to prepare for Tommy Grady and a running game that won't feature Matt Asiata.
"They didn't have either of those guys last year and they were a darned good team," Calhoun said. "Their quarterback still moves decently and has a cannon of an arm. He reminds me of a right-handed Scott Mitchell."
Mitchell quarterbacked the Utes in the late 1980s before stints with several NFL teams.
Injured quarterback Brian Johnson has dressed but not participated in the last two practices. He said he is feeling better and made several trips to Utah's training room during the weekend for treatments. He is listed as being out three to five weeks and but said he doesn't have any idea when he can return.
"I'm trying to get myself ready, you never know with this type of thing, and the bad thing is it's my throwing arm," he said. "Any other position and I'd be back sooner, but because it's my throwing arm, it makes it more difficult, but I've been moving along pretty good over the last three or four days."
Whittingham said his return is up to him, but estimated he could be back for the UNLV game on Sept. 22 at the earliest and against Louisville on Oct. 5 at the latest.
In the NFL
NFL teams made their final cuts to get down to 53 on their rosters. Here are the Utes who survived and the ones who didn't.
Those still with teams: RB Mike Anderson (Baltimore), QB Alex Smith (San Francisco), S Eric Weddle (San Diego), DE Jonathan Fanene (Cincinnati), TE John Madsen (Oakland), G Barry Sims (Oakland), WR Steve Smith (Carolina), DT Maake Kemoeatu (Carolina), T Jordan Gross (Carolina), G Chris Kemoeatu (Pittsburgh), CB Andre Dyson (New York Jets), DT Sione Pouha (New York Jets), DT Steve Fifita (Miami), DT Paul Soliai (Miami).
Those cut: QB Brett Ratliff (New York Jets), RB Quinton Ganther (Tennessee), DT Lauvale Sape (Tennessee), DE Josh Savage (Tennessee), LB Spencer Toone (Tennessee); WR Paris Warren (Tampa Bay), WR Cliff Russell (Detroit), C Jesse Boone (Oakland). Boone and Ratliff were assigned to practice squads.