Feb. 21, 2012
Watch Practice Report
WEST POINT, N .Y. - After nearly a week off, the Army football team was back inside the Foley Athletic Center for their fourth spring workout Tuesday morning. The 90-minute session was the Black Knights' first in full pads and first spring practice to feature contact.
"For the first day, we got a lot done," head coach Rich Ellerson said. "You're always amazed about how much growth and retention has taken place since the end of the fall season. The guys have been thinking about it and visualizing what it's supposed to look like. I think we did a good job last week of introducing what was going to happen today so they transitioned into pads well."
· Army started its warm-up for Tuesday's practice with a 15-minute session in the weight room before taking the field.
· The first group of circuits included the Black Knights' usual special teams breakdown with each station focusing on a different skill utilized in covering and returning kicks.
· Head coach Rich Ellerson began to work with the punt team, installing the basics such as line splits and alignment.
· During one segment, the guards and centers were paired with the quarterbacks and running backs working on inside rushing plays. The tackles did sled work during this time.
· The defensive circuit was much more physical with pads on. One station included a player having to defeat two cut blocks, somersault and then strip the ball.
· Another station focused on pass rushing, reading the quarterback's action and then scooping up a fumble. A third worked on making the proper play on the quarterback and running back on a zone-read play.
· Every defensive drill concluded with a player working on stripping the ball.
· Each quarterback took one turn during the first set of one-on-one tackling drills.
· Senior DE and legacy captain Jarett Mackey did not participate in practice while recovering from the knee injury that caused him to miss most of last season. Mackey was still involved in the workout, offering tips and advice to the other players during drills.
· During a receiver vs. defensive back drill, Justin Trimble made a nice play to undercut a route and make an interception.
· Raymond Maples beat his defender and made a nice catch on a deep ball during the same drill.
· The Army offense and defense did not line up against each other during Tuesday's practice. The offense did run plays against a dummy defense made up of other offensive players.
· Players donning red jerseys and not participating in Tuesday's workout included offensive linemen Shelby Jackson, Matt Villanti and Rob Bickel, running backs Tony Giovanelli and Scott Williams, defensive lineman Tom Houser, and long snapper Frank Ceva.
· The Black Knights' next practice is Thursday, Feb. 23.
Head Coach Rich Ellerson
"We're flying around trying to get a lot of things done in an efficient amount of time, but that's the nature of all of our practices. The difference is there is less `team' time in these practices during the week. These are going to be very fundamental , sort of canned practices if you will, so guys can be very efficient with their time. On the weekends, we'll let our hair down and do more competitive things like half-line, one-on-ones, two-on-twos and third-down scrimmages. Things of that nature will pop up on the weeks, and we'll spend a good hour and 45 minutes out there. We're also trying to see if we can protect some of those gains we've made in the weight room by starting practice in there as part of our warm-up. We're experimenting with that."
Senior DB Kyler martin
(Ref.: first day of pads)
"It's always fun. I could barely sleep last night I was so excited to get out here and play. It's only been a few weeks since we took the pads off, but there is always that good feeling strapping them on for the first time."
(Ref. running track as well as participating in spring football)
"We just finished up at the Patriot League indoor meet, and we're going to focus on the outdoor season now. I'll still be going back and forth between football in the morning and track in the afternoon. It's a big workload, but I think it's put me in a good spot. Physically, I'm in the best shape I've ever been in so I think it's given me an advantage."
(Ref.: how running track has helped him with football)
"Hurdling is explosive. We always talk about attacking the hurdles and being explosive over the hurdles. That's the same thing when you're making a tackle - attack and be explosive. It's different movement, but it's the same focus and mentality."