Fisher DeBerry has a way with words. It may occasionally be clumsy or comical, but it's a way.

When the Air Force football coach isn't mangling players' names, he sometimes comes up with a countrified expression that brings irresistible smiles to his listeners. He talks of a young team as being "green as gourds" or another team as having such speed "they run like scared rabbits."But he topped himself this week.

Somewhere from the deep recesses of his mind, DeBerry summoned up a weird analogy, likening his team's 21-7 loss to Brigham Young last week to fertilizer.

"It smells bad, it burns, it hurts your eyes," he said. "It can be caustic stuff. That's the way I felt after the BYU game.

"But fertilizer, if it's used in the right way, can make things grow. And I think we'll grow from that game."

DeBerry wants his Falcons to grow into a more consistent, more productive offense. Their production has ranged from 610 total yards in their opener against Weber State to 280 yards last week.

And then there's his defense, which was supposed to be the backbone of this year's team. The Falcons have the worst pass defense in the Western Athletic Conference, yielding 281.4 yards per game. In total defense, the Falcons rank 91st out of 106 major colleges, surrendering 430.6 yards.

As his team prepares for today's home game against Wyoming, DeBerry says, "I hope we can find a way to get some big plays from our offense, but the biggest thing is we need to prevent the big play on defense."

Wyoming, in DeBerry's view, has big-play potential. "Especially Robert Redford, er, Robert Rivers," DeBerry said. "Rivers scares me to death. He's such a threat every time he touches the ball."

Rivers, a wide receiver, kick returner and occasional rusher, is averaging 13.9 yards every time he touches the ball.

Wyoming is coming off its best offensive showing of the season. The Cowboys generated 485 total yards. Tom Corontzos completed 22 of 30 passes for 281 yards and a touchdown and was not intercepted. Freshman halfback Terrance Hendricks, playing with a protective cast on his broken left hand, rushed for 95 yards.