Aug. 10, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. – The Army football team took another step in its preseason preparation when it conducted its first practice in helmets and shoulder pads on Friday. While still not a full-contact practice, the tempo and drills were able to be conducted with much more competitiveness and intensity.
Army will have one more practice in shells before holding its first full-padded workout on Sunday morning. Following practice, the plebes will be transported back to Cadet Basic Training to participate in Monday morning’s march back with their classmates.
The first half of the Black Knights’ practice consisted of its usual positional drills and special teams period. Army’s punt team practiced against a rush made up of 13 players, some of whom were purposely lined up offsides to get a better jump on the snap.
Coming out of the 15-minute break, the offense went against defensive players for the first time in a no-huddle, hurry-up passing drill. Senior QB Trent Steelman completed three of his four pass attempts, including a short touchdown pass to junior Ejay Tucker.
The quarterbacks, receivers and running backs went one-on-one with the defensive backs and linebackers in passing drills for the first time.
Junior Reggie Nesbit made one of the best defensive plays during the drill, making a quick break on a three-step drop and deflecting a pass intended for RB Jon Crucitti.
Freshmen quarterbacks A.J. Schurr and Kelvin White showed good velocity during their work with the receivers. White also completed a long pass to junior WR Scott Williams who outdueled freshman DB Chris Carnegie to come down with the ball.
Williams also made a nice catch along the sideline on an out route from Steelman.
One of Steelman’s strongest throws of the day came on a short slant route to freshman WR Andrew Ellerson. Steelman rifled the ball into a small window and Ellerson hung on despite tight coverage from senior DB Josh Jackson.
Sophomore WR Marcus Jackson looked comfortable after moving from defensive back. He made a nice catch on a slant route, drawing praise from offensive coordinator Ian Shields.
The first team defense remained the same on Friday as it was the first day with Zach Watts, Bobby Kough, Joe Drummond, Holt Zalneraitis, Nate Combs, Geoffery Bacon, Justin Trimble, Hayden Pierce, Tyler Dickson, Josh Jackson and Ty Shrader taking the first set of reps. The second team on Friday consisted of Colin Linkul (quick), Clayton Keller (left tackle), Richard Glover (right tackle), Kyle Maxwell (whip), Julian Holloway (bandit), C.J. Shelley (mike), Lyle Beloney (sam), Thomas Holloway (rover), Marques Avery (corner), James Whittington (corner) and Kyler martin (free safety).
The offense’s first unit also remained steady through the first few days. Senior Will Wilson was at right guard for most of practice.
The workout ended with some field goal and PAT work. Senior Eric Osteen was the most successful of the group, drilling all three of his 37-yard field goal tries with plenty of leg. Army shuffled through four kickers. Joining Osteen was junior Billy Fisher and freshmen Cale Brewer and Dan Grochowski.
Co-Defensive Coordinator Payam Saadat
(Ref.: the early play of the defensive line)
“We have a lot of guys up front so it’s going to take some time to sort itself out. You have to get to the drills that allow those guys to get physical a little bit so they can distinguish themselves and see who is ready to play. It’s a comforting factor coming from last year, which was the exact opposite. We’re really happy with the young guys we have. We’re excited about the guys who played last year, and are arguably still young, but they’re more experienced. That is going to be a much better picture for us.”
(Ref.: the Army linebackers)
“(Geoffery) Bacon, Thomas Holloway and Justin Trimble have all played a lot of football for us. They have to take the place of a guy like Steve Erzinger, and that’s tough, but those three can do it. At the bandit linebacker position we have Nate (Combs) back, and he seems to be full go and healthy. There is a group of young guys and some older veterans behind him as well. The linebacking corps is going to be okay.”
(Ref.: teaching the defensive concepts with so many players who have been on the field already)
“It’s still hard. Our guys have so much on their plate. It’s not like they can truly put in as much time with football as people may think. For us, we’re always starting from square one a little bit. Obviously, there is experience you can leverage, but really because of the nature of what these young men go through, and what they do during the summer, you really do start back from square one. You want to make sure those fundamentals are sound before you go to other parts of your defense.”