Aug. 22, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Black Knights celebrated exactly two weeks on the practice field Wednesday morning with a 90-minute session at the Foley Center and on Howze Field. The limited-contact practice was conducted in helmets and shoulder pads.
Thursday's practice is scheduled to focus on special teams, while Friday is slated as a day off before Saturday morning's scrimmage.
Wednesday's Notables -
Army went through its usual practice routine of warm-up, special teams, position drills, one-one-one matchups, a group period, a team session and one final special teams drill.
While projected offensive starters Ryan Powis, Malcolm Brown and Ben Jebb, along with key backups Jared Hassin, Chevaugn Lawrence and Trenton Turrentine, sat out practice with injuries, the defense welcomed back Justin Trimble and Hayden Pierce. Trimble worked out without restriction, while Pierce upgraded from a red to a blue jersey.
Trent Steelman continued to look confident in the passing game, rifling an out pattern to Scott Williams who made a nice catch along the sideline during the one-on-one portion of practice.
Justin Allen made one of the best defensive plays during the period, reading the quarterback's three-step drop and breaking up the attempt slant pass. Allen's near interception prompted praise, but also a prodding to make the interception.
With the emergence of plebe Brandon Fusilier-Jeffires at free safety, Kyler martin is now working with the rovers.
Both the offensive and defensive rotations are starting to come into focus. The first-team offense included Dan Whitaker (LT), Frank Allen (LG), Will Wilson (C), Steve Shumaker (RG), Michael Kime (RT), Trent Steelman (QB), Larry Dixon (FB), Terry Baggett (A-Back), Raymond Maples (C-Back), Anthony Stephens (WR) and Ejay Tucker (WR). Patrick Laird also rotated regularly with the first-team offense.
Wilson continues to take the reps at center during Powis' absence. Prior to the injury, Wilson was competing for a spot at right guard. Whitaker was with the first team on Wednesday, filling in for Jebb.
The second unit consisted of Nick Bennett (LT), John Szott (LG), Ryan Gibeley (C), Zach Reichert (RG), Derek Bisgard (RT), Angel Santiago (QB), Hayden Tippett (FB), Jon Crucitti (A-Back), Stephen Fraser (C-Back), Scott Williams (WR) and Justin Newman (WR). Crucitti also took some turns at C-Back with Joey Giovanelli getting reps at A-Back. Gibeley also snapped for the third group with the absence of Corey Hobbs, who was with the No. 2 offense during last Saturday's scrimmage.
Defensively, the first unit is very close to what was projected coming out of spring practice with only a couple of exceptions. The current No. 1 group consists of Holt Zalneraitis (whip), Robert Kough (LT), Richard Glover (RT), Zach Watts (quick), Nate Combs (bandit), Geoffery Bacon (mike), Justin Trimble (rover), Hayden Pierce (sam), Ty Shrader (FS), Tyler Dickson (boundary corner) and Josh Jackson (field corner). Defensive tackle Michael Ugenyi also worked in with the top unit. Ugyeni was with the first team during last Saturday's scrimmage.
The No. 2 defense utilized Kyle Maxwell and James Kelly (whip), Clayton Keller (LT), Joe Drummond (RT), Derek Sanchez (quick), Julian Holloway (bandit), Alex Meier (mike), Thomas Holloway (rover), Lyle Beloney (sam), Brandon Fusilier-Jeffires (FS), Justin Allen (boundary corner) and Chris Carnegie (field corner). Plebe Dalton Mendenhall (bandit), senior Kyler martin (rover) and sophomore Marques Avery (field corner) were also working in with the second unit.
Army finished the day with a sky punt drill where points were awarded based on the location the ball was downed. Chris Boldt placed both of his kicks inside the 5-yard line.
Seven players that took snaps with the first-team defense were also on the first punt team.
Wednesday's Quotables -
Defensive Tackles Coach Clarence Holmes
(Ref.: the development of the defensive tackles during the preseason)
"We feel that this year we have a more physical presence inside with Bobby Kough returning and Mike Ugenyi starting to come into his own as a player. The group gives us something that we've been lacking inside. We feel like we're going to gain some things in the pass rush too. I'm pleased with how it's going. If we can keep the stronghold in the middle, we'll take care of everyone else behind us."
(Ref.: concern over lack of experience)
"We're concerned a little bit, but that comes with getting reps. It's my job to make them as confident as possible. They have to have the confidence that they can go out there and play to the best of their abilities."
(Ref.: the role of the tackles in the Army defense)
"For us, everyone makes plays. That's what this defense is all about - attacking and making plays through your responsibility. Everyone is responsible for the ball, the defensive tackles included."
(Ref.: the two plebes in the defensive tackle rotation)
"Evan Finnane and T.J. Atimalala, who has great carry over from the prep school, are doing well. They're doing some great things. Evan, even though he's direct, has had some training behind the walls with his older brother being here. We have two young guys who have great understanding of the system. Now they just need the experience on the field."