Practice No. 17: California Dreaming

Head Coach Rich Ellerson is less than two weeks away from his fourth season opener at West Point.

Head Coach Rich Ellerson is less than two weeks away from his fourth season opener at West Point.

Aug. 29, 2012

WEST POINT, N.Y. – Even though not officially in “game week,” Wednesday’s 90-minute practice, was representative of what that day’s session will look like throughout the season. The workout was conducted in helmets and shoulder pads with limited contact.

The focus has also shifted to Army’s first opponent, San Diego State, with both the offense and defense now practicing against a scout team simulating the Aztecs’ systems.

Wednesday’s Notables
•    Army went through its usual practice routine of individual, one-on-one, skeleton and team drills. There was no special teams work at the end of Wednesday’s workout.
•    For the second straight day senior FS Ty Shrader made a standout play during the pass skeleton portion of practice. Shrader broke on a pass and made a one-handed interception reaching behind him.
•    The depth charts continue to hold steady from previous workouts. Malcolm Brown and Ryan Powis, projected starters at wide receiver and center, respectively, were still in red jerseys. Senior OT Ben Jebb was in blue for the second straight day.
•    While not working at center during the team portion of practice, OT Michael Kime did snap to Angel Santiago when the quarterbacks were working pass routes with receivers and running backs. Kime is penciled in as the starting right tackle, but started last season’s opener at center. With Powis out with Will Wilson getting the nod as the No. 1 center.
•    Andrew Ellerson made a nice grab on a ball thrown behind him during the one-on-one portion of practice.
•    Trent Steelman continued to look sharp in the passing game, threading the needle to Scott Williams on a deep ball down the sideline.
•    The scout team defense was intensely focused on trying to strip the ball from the Army offense, even after the conclusion of the play. Several defenders tried to sneak up on receivers and backs headed back to the huddle to separate them from the ball in order to make sure the offense was concentrating on securing the ball at all times when it was in their possession.
•    Thursday’s practice will be a shortened session focused on special teams.
•    The team will hold a “mock game” on Friday morning before taking the weekend off. The team will go through its pre-game routine followed by simulating different situations that arise on Saturdays.

Wednesday’s Quotables
Co-Defensive Coordinator Payam Saadat
(Ref.: preparing for San Diego State)
“Our preparation now is a lot of San Diego State. It’s more than it was a week ago, but we’ve touching on San Diego State every practice since we’ve started. Now our focus becomes more pinpointed on the specific things they do on the field, down and distances and things like that. All our team time right now is focused on them.”

(Ref.: rating the progress of the defense heading into the opener)
“I think the guys understand what defenses we want to play with come next Saturday. Right now, it’s just constant repetition to get it right. The more we can do that, the more we can avoid some first-time mistakes, or minimize them at least. Our kids are getting it right. They’re communicating well. They’re  understanding what San Diego State’s offense may try to do and how we’re trying to defend it. Right now it’s becoming a less physical and more mental approach for us.”

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