Spring Practice Recap: Scrimmage Day

Patrick Laird caught a touchdown in Saturday's scrimmage.

Patrick Laird caught a touchdown in Saturday's scrimmage.

Feb. 23, 2013

WEST POINT, N.Y.  – The Army football team held its fifth practice of the spring season Saturday morning inside the Foley Athletic Center. Saturday’s session mostly consisted of 11-on-11 full-contact scrimmage work.

Saturday’s Notables
•    After going through its usual warm up and individual position drills, the offense and defense broke up into three groups – Black, Gold and Gray. The rest of the practice consisted of the groups rotating against each other.
•    While there is still no official depth chart, the first offensive group consisted of a rotation at receiver among Patrick Laird, Anthony Stephens and Chevaughn Lawrence. The front line was Nick Bennett at left tackle, Zach Reichert at left guard, Ryan Powis at center, Stephen Shumaker at right guard and Justin Gilbert at right tackle. Larry Dixon was the fullback with Terry Baggett and Stephen Fraser and slotback. Trenton Turrentine also rotated in. Kelvin White was under center.
•    Several of last season’s defensive starters were mixed among the three groups. The first group consisted of a front line of Joe Drummond, Bobby Kough, T.J. Atimalala, Dalton Mendenhall and James Kelly. Converted quarterback Gino DeBartolo was at mike linebacker, while Lyle Beloney and Justin Trimble played sam and rover, respectively. Lamar Johnson-Harris and Chris Carnegie were at the corners with Stephen Ricciardi at free safety.
•    Jarrett Mackey sat out the scrimmage with a red jersey.
•    Fullback Larry Dixon scored four touchdowns during the scrimmage. All of Dixon’s scores were from at least 30 yards out.
•    Angel Santiago hit Patrick Laird for a 35-yard touchdown pass.
•    James Kelly scored a sack of Kelvin White, coming off the blind side nearly untouched. White did not participate in the remainder of the scrimmage.
•    A.J. Schurr turned a broken play into an eight-yard gain when he put a move on two defenders in the backfield.
•    In the final session, DeBartolo made two of the first three plays to force a field goal. DeBartolo put a resounding hit on Angel Santiago on the first play of the period.
•    Converted fullback Hayden Tippett made several plays at mike linebacker. Tippett forced a fumble with a hard hit at the line of scrimmage.
•    Daniel Grochowski, Billy Fisher and Cale Brewer took turns attempting extra points and field goals.
•    Grochowski’s best kick was a 47-yarder that would have been good from significantly longer.
•    Sunday’s practice is scheduled to be a special teams workout.

Saturday’s Quotables
Head Coach Rich Ellerson
(Ref.: his overall impressions of the scrimmage)
“It was great to have the guys keep score and compete. We have enough guys healthy and ready to go that we could have three different units on offense and three different units on defense competing. That was a situational scrimmage. Everything was played within that scoring position, what we call the money area so we could impress on both the offense and defense how crucial that part of the field is. There are some things about us offensively and defensively that change in that part of the field. That was a huge emphasis, but more importantly it was a chance for us to keep score and run and hit. Obviously, there are guys that are much more comfortable with the systems than others, but everybody got to compete. It was a chance for a lot of different quarterbacks to try and move different units up and down the field. We do a lot of drill work, but at the end of the day you have to see which quarterback can get the guys in the end zone. Which guy has that ‘it’ factor if you will. There is some really gifted guys under center.”

(Ref.: moving Hayden Pierce and Gino DeBartolo to middle linebacker)
“We’ll see. Those are experiments. Hayden is stuck in two places. He’s going into his senior year and linebacker has always been in the back of our minds with him. This is a chance to pull the trigger and see what that looks like. That’s been a great developmental opportunity for Geoffery Bacon to be able to take two steps back and do some of the same things. That’s helped him. We’ll see if that’s a permanent move or just a developmental moment. It’s the same with Hayden. If he can be that guy on defense, that’s great, but if he’s going to be just one of the guys then he needs to go back because he plays such a huge role on the offensive side of the ball. By him stepping out of the equation that gives Matt Giachinta a chance to compete with Larry (Dixon) a little bit at fullback. I thought Larry showed up today in a big way, which is what he needs to do.”

(Ref.: the first five practices)
“There is some newness on our coaching staff and some newness in the practice environment. The guys have done a great job through the offseason maintaining their enthusiasm. Youth is resilient. The guys are excited to play, and they’re enthusiastic about their team and their prospects. We wanted to mirror that excitement in the practice environment. I’ve been impressed with our enthusiasm and competitiveness. Five days in, they’ve come to work every day trying to get better. The progress is palpable. There are always some young guys that get discovered for the first time in the spring, especially the freshmen. Everybody handles those first experiences at West Point differently, so spring is important for those young guys who may not have gotten a long look in the preseason. That group in particular has been encouraging.”

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