Practice No. 18: Specialists Take Center Stage

A.J. Schurr

A.J. Schurr

Aug. 30, 2012

WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Army football team held its second of two special teams practices on Thursday morning. The Black Knights' specialists ran through a crisp 30-minute workout on Howze Field under the watchful eye of head coach Rich Ellerson.

Special teams coach Luke Thompson, who is in his first season at West Point, conducted the brief special teams session.

Thursday's Notables
• Army began the practice by setting up its PAT/field goal unit. The first group featured Andrew Ellerson as the long snapper and A.J. Schurr as the holder. Daniel Grochowski and Eric Osteen alternated as the placekicker.

• The punt unit featured Chris Boldt, Ty Shrader, Tyler Dickson, Alex Meier, Derek Sanchez, Nate Combs, Justin Trimble, Geoffery Bacon, Zach Watts, Frank Ceva and Grant Escobar.

• The kickoff coverage team included Osteen, Bacon, Dickson, Trimble, Shrader, Meier, Hayden Pierce, Zachary Williams, Justin Allen and Dalton Mendenhall.

• The first kickoff return unit included Reggie Nesbit, Allen, Williams, Brandon Fusilier-Jeffires, Jared Hassin, Ejay Tucker, Hayden Tippett, Tony Giovannelli and Justin Newman. Jon Crucitti and Stephen Fraser were the dual safeties working with the first unit.

• The team ended the practice by working on recovering onsides kicks. Army's "hands team" included Patrick Laird, Pierce, Scott Williams, Shrader, Raymond Maples, Hassin, Tucker, Crucitti, Schurr and Tippett. Josh Jackson was the deep man.

• West Point superintendent Lt. Gen. David H. Huntoon Jr. was in attendance at today's practice. Gen. Ray Odierno, Chief of Staff of the United States Army, was also at the workout. Odierno will join NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell later today at a symposium on traumatic brain injury in football being held at West Point.

• Army's preseason camp will come to an end on Friday when it conducts a "mock game." The team will go through its pre-game routine followed by simulating different situations that arise on Saturdays. The Black Knights will then take the weekend off and return on Monday to continue preparations for San Diego State.

Thursday's Quotables
Special Teams Coach Luke Thompson

(Ref.: where the special teams units stand as camp draws to a close)
"We're to the point now where we're just fine-tuning some things and making sure we're covering all of the special situations that come up in the kicking game. We're just getting ready to play in a week."

(Ref.: mindset of the players at this point)
"I think at this point in the camp guys are ready to go against somebody else; they are tired of hitting each other."

(Ref.: not playing this weekend and whether the coaches will watch other games)
"I don't know if any of us will really be sitting back watching games; we're all going to be pretty anxious ourselves. We're anxious, just like the players, to get the season going for sure."

(Ref.: status of the kicking game)
"We're still evaluating it. They've both done a great job throughout preseason camp, and it's a good situation that we're in. It's a good problem to have."

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