Practice No. 9: Calm Before The Storm

Terry Baggett is projected as one Army's starting running backs.

Terry Baggett is projected as one Army's starting running backs.

Aug. 17, 2012

WEST POINT, N.Y. – Friday’s practice lasted just more than 90 minutes and was conducted at a mostly walk-thru pace as the Black Knights prepare for their first scrimmage of the preseason tomorrow afternoon.

Army will take the field at Michie Stadium at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Following a warm-up period, the special teams will take center stage with a period that will include punt, punt return, kickoff and kickoff return. The first offense will then take on the first defense in a situational scrimmage that will consist of five to eight plays with the chains being set at 3rd-and-6. The No. 2 offense and defense will then get their turn in the same drill, followed by the third teams.

The next period will feature the Army offense and defense against scout team looks. The first two teams are scheduled to take 60-70 plays. The day’s format is subject to change by the coaching staff.

Friday’s Notables –
•    Friday’s practice was conducted in helmets and shoulder pads, but there was very little to no contact during the workout with the hopes of everyone being healthy and fresh for tomorrow’s scrimmage.
•    Army got some good news on the injury front. First-team left tackle Ben Jebb started the practice in a red jersey, but after working out for the training staff, rejoined his teammates without restriction.
•    Notable players still not participating in full-speed football drills include Justin Trimble, Chevaughn Lawrence, Todd McDonald, Corey Watts, Trenton Turrention, Waverly Washington and Ryan Powis.
•    The Army defensive linemen donned boxing gloves during a drill designed to work on the hand-to-hand maneuvering involved in interior line play.
•    Head coach Rich Ellerson put on a “pass rush clinic” for a group of defensive tackles, including Bobby Kough, Joe Drummond, Mike Ugenyi, Richard Glover and Clayton Keller. The session lasted more than 20 minutes and featured instruction in both footwork and pass-rush techniques.
•    Drummond also spent time working with the defensive ends.
•    Army began the installation of its kickoff and kick return teams. Eric Osteen and Dan Grochowski took turns kicking, while Jon Crucitti, Larry Dixon, Julian Crockett, Tyler Dickson, Stephen Fraser and Marcus Jackson were all in the returners group.
•    The offense and defense split up into its groups that will see time during Saturday’s scrimmage. The defensive unit included five plebes – tackles T.J. Atimalala and Evan Finnane, linebacker Alex Meier, and defensive backs Chris Carnegie and Brandon Fusilier-Jeffires.
•    The first-team offense has remained relatively stable since the start of camp. The line on Friday consisted of Ben Jebb, Frank Allen, Will Wilson, Steve Shumaker and Michael Kime from left to right. Wilson took the place of Ryan Powis who suffered an injury in practice on Wednesday.The backfield group included Trent Steelman at quarterback, Larry Dixon at fullback, and Terry Baggett and Raymond Maples at the A-back and C-back spots. Malcolm Brown, Pat Laird and Ejay Tucker rotated at receiver.
•    The second offensive group included Nick Bennett, John Szott, Corey Hobbs, Zach Reichert and Derek Bisgard across the front. The backfield was made up of Angel Santiago at quarterback with Jon Crucitti, Hayden Tippett and Stephen Fraser behind him. Scott Williams, Anthony Stephens and Justin Newman rotated at wideout.
•    Tomorrow’s scrimmage marks the end of the “camp” portion of preseason practice. Monday is the first day of classes at West Point. The team will move into their rooms in the barracks on Sunday.

Friday’s Quotables –
Sophomore RB Terry Baggett
(Ref.: the development of the offense)
“The offense looks great. We have a lot of firepower. We have a lot of running backs to go along with (quarterback) Trent (Steelman) and Malcolm (Brown) at receiver. I like it a lot. It’s going to be great to play with this group.”

(Ref.: learning from the playing time he received  as a plebe)
“That’s helped me a bunch. Last year I was struggling pick up the offense in the beginning. Now, it is much easier, and I am getting it down. That makes it much easier to play.”

(Ref.: getting a chance to work against the Army defense tomorrow)
“We are all excited. I’m excited to show our defense that they can’t stop us. It’s going to be live, and we’re going to go at each other. I’m excited for it.”

(Ref.: the emphasis on ball security during practice)
“Ball security is everything. The coaches have told the defense to try and steal the ball from us when we’re not paying attention. You literally have to focus on the ball every single minute whether it’s during a play or running it back to the line of scrimmage after a play. Ball security is everything right now.

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