Practice No. 19: The End Of Preseason

Geoffery Bacon

Geoffery Bacon

Aug. 31, 2012

WEST POINT, N.Y. – With the season opener just eight days away, Army completed the “preseason” portion of its preparations on Friday morning. The Black Knights will take the weekend off from on-field work before returning on Monday for their first game week practice.

Friday’s Notables
•    Army was split into its “A-Squad” and “B-Squad” on Friday. The varsity was dressed in their white practice jerseys to simulate the road uniforms the team will wear next Saturday at San Diego State.
•    The first 40 minutes of practice ran just like the majority of Army’s workouts, featuring special teams, individual drills, group work, a one-on-one period and combative drills.
•    The team then went outside to Howze Field where they staged a mock game. The 30-minute drill consisted of simulating situations such as transitioning from offense and defense to special teams and vice versa.
•    Special situations the Black Knights worked on for the first time included the last play of a half, both offensively and defensively, and running the field goal team on the field to get a kick off with the clock expiring and no timeouts.
•    Jon Crucitti worked as the second-team punter. Crucitti punted in high school and worked at that position during the preseason in 2011.
•    Plebe Dan Grochowski was the No. 1 placekicker on Friday. The field goal specialist unit was made up of all freshmen, including snapper Andrew Ellerson and holder A.J. Schurr.
•    Senior OL Ben Jebb was back at practice without restriction.
•    Sophomore DE Colin Linkul participated in the mock game with a blue “limited contact” jersey.
•    Junior DT Bobby Kough and senior WR Malcolm Brown were held out, but are expected to be at full strength on Monday.

Friday’s Quotables
Offensive Coordinator Ian Shields
(Ref.: Scott Williams’ conversion to wide receiver)
“Scotty brings a lot to the team. There is not a harder working guy, there is not a more resilient guy. He brings a lot of energy to the offense. He’s always great to have out there. He’s always a battler. He went through some tough situations last year, but he’s never dwelled on it. He’s learned from it, and he’s grown. I’m proud of the way he has responded this year.”

Head Coach Rich Ellerson
(Ref.: the end of preseason camp)
“We feel like we’ve had a couple of endings. We had one before school started, and now the game lends that sense of urgency to the practice environment. Sometimes when you’re weeks removed it’s hard to keep that focus and intensity, although I’m really impressed with our group. They’ve done a nice job of taking advantage of the turns.”

(Ref.: the health of the team entering game week)
“We’ve still got our share of nicks and bruises, but we have a chance to have a really healthy football team come Monday.

(Ref.: the team’s attitude throughout preseason)
“They’ve been good, but any group is going to go through some of this. There are times when you’re looking out and you don’t play for another three weeks, and you think to yourself, ‘Holy cow, we’re doing that again?’ Preseason is hard when you don’t play a game. We scrimmage in spurts. There is no game to look forward to, but to their credit, they’ve come to work.”

(Ref.: the progress of the defensive line)
“As I’ve said, one of the things that I’m excited about in our defense is the play up front. We’ll have some guys playing a lot of snaps early in the season that haven’t played much college football, but we have the right guys. They’re going to grow throughout the course of the season. I feel like we’ve got a job description that’s realistic for those guys to fulfill. How far along they’ll be? We’ll have to wait and see.”

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