Feb. 19, 2013
WEST POINT, N.Y. – Army began its second week of spring practice with a spirited, fully-padded workout Tuesday morning. The third practice of the spring featured the first contact drills.
• Coaches stressed the importance of tempo in Thursday’s session in order to maximize the number of repetitions in each drill.
• One of the new one-on-one drills of the spring involved the receivers versus defensive backs. The Army wideouts ran deep patterns, and both the offense and defense were forced to fight for the ball that was launched at a high trajectory from a machine. Both sides won their share of the battles with several Army receivers making over-the-shoulder catches along the sideline.
• Converted Gino DeBartolo stepped in front of a pass across the middle for an interception during an offense vs. defense skeleton drill.
• The last portion of practice was the “Army vs. Army” segment that involved 11-on-11 work. While there was contact, the ball carriers were not taken to the ground. The team was broken up into four groups, each with an offense and defense that ran plays simultaneously.
• With the depth chart still undecided and remaining fluid, the first group of defenders included Joe Drummond, Richard Glover, Robert Kough and Holt Zalneraitis across the front four.
• James Kelly was working at the bandit position with the first unit, while Marcus Poling was the mike linebacker and Thomas Holloway was the rover.
• The defensive backfield included Chris Carnegie and Lamar Johnson-Harris at the cornerback positions, Stephen Ricciardi at the free safety and Lyle Beloney at strong safety. Justin Trimble and Geoffery Bacon, starters during the 2012 campaign were working with the second group of defenders at rover and free safety, respectively.
• Dalton Mendenhall (bandit), Kyle Maxwell (end), Hayden Tippett (mike) and Jarrett Mackey (quick end) were also rotating with the first group on defense.
• Defensive tackle Mike Ugenyi was wearing a blue, limited contact jersey and did not participate in Army vs. Army.
• The offense squaring off against that group of defenders included Nick Bennett, Matt Hugenberg, Ryan Powis, Stephen Shumaker and Justin Gilbert from left to right along the front. The backfield consisted of A.J. Schurr (QB), Larry Dixon (FB), Terry Baggett and Stephen Fraser. Chevaughn Lawrence and Anthony Stephens were the wideouts.
• Stephens caught a touchdown pass from Schurr to highlight the offensive performance.
• Kelvin White and Angel Santiago rotated at quarterback with the second offensive group.
• The workout ended with a brief special teams walk-thru. Special teams coach Luke Thompson began the installation of the field goal/PAT concepts.
• Army’s next practice is Thursday, Feb. 21.
Senior DE Jarrett Mackey
(Ref.: coming back for his final spring practice)
“It feels great getting back on the field with the boys. Most of my classmates have had to hang up their cleats, but I get one more chance.”
(Ref.: his health following his 2011 knee injury)
“I’m wearing a knee brace for precaution. It’s spring ball so everyone is out there trying to make something happen and get on the depth chart so we don’t want anything crazy to happen. I’m back at 100 percent, and I feel great.”
(Ref.: his role as a returning captain)
“I’m just trying to provide leadership. Now that I have a year under my belt, I can look back and see what I could have done better. That’s an advantage of coming back. I can set things up so the guys have time to bond and better allocate time and resources. Coach Ellerson and I have a good connection in terms of letting me do things with the team.”
(Ref.: the new practice routine)
“It’s not so much out with the old, in with the new, but it’s a nice change up because it breaks up the daily routine. Guys had some good ideas that got thrown in there so it becomes more of our team. A little bit of everyone’s opinion went into the melting pot. It’s still a work in progress, but guys are happy because it’s their input. It’s not a finished product, but the guys are happy.”
(Ref.: the team’s input)
“We had some ideas for warm ups. I know we all told Coach E that we needed more contact in practice, and now we have like 15 new contact drills. It’s turned out well. The guys really like it.”