Army Continues Spring Practice Schedule

Trent Steelman

Trent Steelman

March 6, 2012

Watch Practice Report

WLTZ (Columbus, Ga.) Coverage of Fort Benning's Preparations

WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Army football team held its 12th practice of the spring season on a chilly Tuesday morning inside Foley Athletic Center. The Black Knights' coaching staff put the players through a crisp 75-minute session.

About halfway through today's practice, they dropped the curtain to split the field and Army's white and black squads worked out separately. The teams will work together again on Thursday as they prepare to square off in Friday's spring game.

Tuesday's Practice Notes
• Today's practice started at approximately 7:15 a.m., and lasted until just after 8:30 a.m. The 75-minute workout featured nearly 45 minutes of black and white team work as both units continue preparations for Friday's spring game.

Jarrett Mackey, Jared Hassin and Anthony Stephens were among the 16 players wearing red "no contact" jerseys. A few other players donned blue "limited contact" jerseys.

• During the special teams portion of today's practice, both the white and black squads engaged in live punting and punt coverage drills. Senior Chris Boldt punted for the black team. Senior Josh Jackson served as the punt returner for the black team, while sophomore Marcus Jackson fielded kicks for the white team.

• The wide receivers practiced catching the football and navigating through a series of simulated hits as other wide outs used yellow blocking pads to deliver blows to the pass catcher.

• The quarterbacks threw a series of passes to wide receivers and running backs. Junior Parker Hite connected with junior E.J. Tucker on an out pattern, with Tucker tapping his toes in bounds along the right sideline.

• Later during that same drill, sophomore Angel Santiago lofted a beautiful pass to junior Patrick Laird on a deep fade route down the left sideline.

• After about 30 minutes, the team broke into two groups. Santiago and sophomore Gino DeBartolo quarterbacked the black squad, while Hite worked with the white team. Both groups practiced as individual units for about 45 minutes.

• During that session, Hite and sophomore Chevaughn Lawrence hooked up on a pair of nice pass plays. Lawrence made a leaping catch of one Hite aerial along the left sideline, then later came back to the ball and corralled a pass on the right sideline before stepping out of bounds.

• At the end of practice, senior Eric Osteen blasted a series of 46-yard field goals through the uprights and into the net.

• Army's next practice will be held on Thursday, March 8. It will mark the Black Knights' final tune-up before traveling to Fort Benning for the spring game on Friday, March 9.

Tuesday's Quotables
Offensive Coordinator Ian Shields

(Ref.: progression of the offense)
"I think we're progressing well. We've had some injuries to our running backs, so we've been compromised to a degree at slot back. We're getting some of those guys, and most of it is muscular and not anything structural. Aside from that, I feel good. We've seen some good development up front on the offensive line. Trent (Steelman) had a good spring; we've shut him down now. He's played enough tackle football; we know what he can do. We want to look at some of the younger guys. I've been really pleased with the development of both Angel (Santiago) and Gino (DeBartolo). They keep getting better. I think outside at receiver, Chevaughn Lawrence has had a nice spring. He is beginning to distinguish himself as a guy who can do something after the catch and make some big catches. Patrick Laird has done well, E.J. Tucker has done well and Michael Hudson is coming on. So that's been pleasant; that's been a healthy development outside."

(Ref.: development of the passing game)
"Spring is the time to investigate some things scheme-wise, and it helps the defense to look at some of that (shotgun formation) as well. We'll stretch ourselves a little bit, but we're not going to get too far away from our identity. That's something we've done for years, going all the way back to the early 2000s at Cal Poly. That's in the package, but we're going to be who we are. We're the No. 1 rushing offense in the nation and we're going to look to continue that trend."

(Ref.: playing the spring game at Fort Benning)
"I think that's the best part about the spring game; it's unique. One of the things I'm really curious to see is how some of our younger players play in a game day environment, because it's going to be a real game day environment. There are going to be 8,000-10,000 people there. It's going to be wild and crazy, and it'll be fun to see how guys play when the lights come on, so to speak. It'll be nice to see what happens when we start playing some real tackle football, take the flags off and see how some guys play with consequences."

Junior WR E.J. Tucker
(Ref.: how the wide receivers have performed this spring)
"I'm feeling pretty good about (how we've performed). It's been tough because we've lost a couple guys (to injury), but we just keep fighting back. We're trying to get out there and show the offense that they can use (the wide receivers), too."

(Ref.: what he wants to take away from the spring)
"I'm just trying to know the plays. I'm also staying physical and staying healthy. I want to be someone they can count on when they throw the ball."

(Ref.: development of the younger quarterbacks)
"They're doing great; they get better each day. The balls are getting better. They're doing fine, they'll be alright. They just keep getting better."

(Ref.: playing the spring game at Fort Benning)
"I think it's a great experience to play in front of the Army. I hope this becomes a tradition of playing the spring game at different bases. I'm really excited. I can't wait to get down there and see some family and friends. I am especially looking forward to putting on a show for my brothers and sisters in arms."

(Ref.: how excited he is to finally play some tackle football on Friday)
"I've been waiting since last season ended. I didn't play that much, but I'm just trying to get better and I can't wait to s how them what I can do. I can't wait."

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