Black Knights Hold Eighth Spring Practice

Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen adminsters the oath of office to Lt. Col. Rick Roper after Monday's practice.

Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen adminsters the oath of office to Lt. Col. Rick Roper after Monday's practice.

Feb. 27, 2012

WEST POINT, N .Y. - After two straight physical practices that lasted for more than two hours, the Black Knights were back to their one-hour, 40-minute fundamental weekday routine on Monday inside the Foley Athletic Center.  It was Army's eighth workout of the spring season.

Monday's session featured limited contact. The Black Knights ran through their usual special teams, offensive and defensive stations before two "combative" drills that included one-on-one tackling.

After Saturday's workout was focused on defense, Sunday's practice put the offense in the spotlight. Army was back in its playbook, while it was the defense's turn to show some looks from opponents. A noticeable number of red jerseys were on the field Monday, particularly on offense.

"We were a little compromised today at running back," offensive coordinator Ian Shields said.
We've had three pretty good practices in a row there. There's been a lot of good work being done."

Following practice, the Black Knights' players and staff were on hand for the promotion of Rick Roper from major to lieutenant colonel. Roper, the aide to Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen, was a three-year letterwinner at quarterback for the Black Knights from 1992-94. The 1995 Academy graduate rushed for 1,098 yards and 15 touchdowns in his career, while throwing for 1,453 yards and six scores. Caslen, a 1975 West Point graduate and two-year football letterwinner, presented Roper with his new rank insignia in front of the entire squad.

Practice Notes
•    There were 21 players wearing red jerseys on Monday, signifying that they were unavailable for practice.
•    The running back position was hit extremely hard by injury. Jared Hassin, Stephen Fraser, Terry Baggett, Lawrence Scott, Brian Austin and Scott Williams were out for all or some of Monday's session. Williams has not participated in any of the Black Knights' workouts so far.
•    Trent Steelman was complemented several times during passing drills by offensive coordinator Ian Shields for the timing of his throws. Steelman showed some velocity on short throws and put touch on several deep balls.
•    The offense and defense did not run any full-team drills on Monday. The fundamental practice was featured group work for the majority of the time.
•    Army's next practice is Wednesday, Feb. 29.

Monday's Quotables
Offensive Coordinator Ian Shields
(Ref.: Yesterday's offensive focused workout)
"It went well. We're exploring some job descriptions and schemes. We're looking at a lot of things, that's what spring ball is for. The front of the line guys are doing well. There are some guys on the back end that are on the rise, and there are some guys that are challenging for a bigger role."

(Ref.: dealing with the injuries)
"It certainly affected us today. We were compromised, but there were some good teachable moments today. We were able to slow some things down and take a step back and look at it to explain to some of these guys why they're doing what they're doing. We were able to get a little better with the how, what, why and where. Today was more of a clean-up day even though we were in full pads. It wasn't as hotly contested as the previous practice."

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