Feb. 15, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. -
The Army football team conducted its third practice of the spring season on Wednesday morning inside Foley Athletic Center. The Black Knights also utilized Howze Field for a portion of the workout.
The practice began with the defense on the field and the offense in the weight room. After approximately 45 minutes, the defense hustled over to the weight room, and the offense hit the field. Wednesday's session was a non-contact workout conducted in practice jerseys and shorts.
"We've taken these first couple of shorts practices and we've gotten our rotations installed," said head coach Rich Ellerson. "We've knocked off any rust that we might have had on our assignments, and we've tried to get the timing down. I think we have tried to set our players up for success when we start putting on pads and running into each other. They know what's expected of their eyes and feet, and they know what's expected when we go to a specific drill.
"We haven't necessarily tried to do things at (full) speed, though, because I don't want to get away from the strength development any earlier than I have to," added Ellerson. "I've tried to have my cake and eat it too here in these first couple of practices where we're continuing to keep that arrow up in terms of our strength development while we're getting ourselves oriented to the practice environment."
Wednesday's Practice Notes
The defense took the field first, practicing inside Foley Athletic Center and on Howze Field for approximately 45 minutes while the offense conducted its strength training routine inside the weight room at Kimsey Athletic Center.
After about 45 minutes, the offense and defense switched with the offense practicing for the final 45 minutes and the defense working out in the weight room.
The defensive portion of the practice again focused on teaching various drills as the players rotated between several stations. The coaches made sure to fully explain each aspect of every drill before putting the players through the paces.
The defensive linemen worked on getting off the ball with quick footwork and strong hands. The coaches utilized the blocking sleds during this drill.
The other positions focused on flying to the football and causing turnovers.
Kickers Billy Fisher and Eric Osteen booted field goals of various distances into the net on the far end of Foley Athletic Center while the defense was using the other end of the sprawling facility.
Offensively, the players took the field and immediately broke off into their position groups.
The wide receivers were put through an interesting drill that featured a manager throwing passes off target to challenge the wide outs' ability to make adjustments and catch the ball. Anthony Stephens made a pair of outstanding plays during this exercise, once leaping high to make a fingertip grab and later going low and scooping up a pass that nearly grazed the turf.
The quarterbacks worked on their agility in a unique drill that required lots of changes in direction.
The offense worked against both odd and even fronts, which were simulated by large orange cones.
The Black Knights finished practice by conducting a simulated two-minute drill, running four or five plays in succession down the length of the field, and then jogging back and doing it again. Four different offensive groups participated in the drill, which lasted the final 15 minutes of practice.
Terry Baggett received ample time working with the first team offense.
Army's next practice will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 21.
Co-Defensive Coordinator Payam Saadat
(Ref.: starting a new season with a clean slate)
"I think with every coach, the best part of your job is always the coaching. Getting back on the field with the guys is probably the most enjoyable part of the job. Being able to erase a rather unsuccessful season by starting over again does make it a little bit more fruitful and a little bit more energized as a group, and that's what we're trying to do."
(Ref.: what the team can get out of the non-padded practices)
"Basically, what we're trying to do, is prepare the guys for what's going to happen in practice. What's happening here is going to happen in practice, but 10 times faster. We're trying to prepare the guys to maximize their reps in the short amount of time that we have."
(Ref.: first impressions of the morning practices)
"I think it has been positive. The kids have been very receptive to it. As a coach, I know that I favor it. Ultimately, it's how our young men respond to it, and I think they've responded well. I think they like getting this physical exercise out of the way so now the rest of the day is more manageable for them in terms of their energy and their mental preparation because they know that the physical activity has been accomplished already."