Feb. 21, 2013
WEST POINT, N.Y. -
Army resumed its second week of spring practice with another fully-padded workout Thursday morning. The practice session, which was held inside Foley Athletic Center and Howze Field on a clear and cool February morn, featured a bevy of contact drills.
Thursday's practice began at approximately 6:50 a.m., and lasted until about 8:30. The session was conducted primarily inside Foley Athletic Center, though Howze Field was also utilized.
This morning's weather featured clear skies and temperatures in the low 20s. A steady breeze made the conditions outside feel even colder.
Army's quarterbacks worked on the fundamentals of the option for about 10 minutes early in the practice. Each player drilled on the mesh with the fullbacks and pitching the ball to the running backs. During this portion of practice, the backs worked on cut blocks, taking out yellow tackling dummies with explosive, diving hits.
Junior Terry Baggett, who worked with the first team, showed no ill-effects from the injury that sidelined him last season. He ran hard throughout today's practice.
The defense worked on a series of drills that focused on the fundamentals of engaging and getting off blocks, reading the option, forcing fumbles and tackling technique.
Army's offensive skill position players, including quarterbacks, participated in a one-on-one tackling drill where the offensive players were out in space near between the hash marks and the sideline and had to try to make a defender miss in space.
During this drill, junior WR Chevaughn Lawrence made a nifty spin move to avoid a hit. Senior WR Anthony Stephens made a shifty move to also avoid contact. Two of the better defensive plays during the drill were made by junior LB A.J. Armstrong and sophomore LB Kyle Ricciardi, who made perfect form tackles. Ricciardi came in strong on junior RB Trenton Turrentine, wrapping him up and driving him to the turf.
Sophomore QB Kelvin White, who earned extensive reps with the first-team offense, threw a perfect pass down the seam to Stephens, who caught the ball in stride.
Senior WR Patrick Laird made a tremendous catch along the sideline, reaching up high to snare the aerial from sophomore QB A.J. Schurr and getting one foot down in bounds before being shoved out.
Sophomore RB Jared Rogers made a nice sliding catch about 20 yards down field on a pass from Schurr. The pass led him perfectly, and Rogers caught it as he slid to the turf.
Junior LB Brady Earnhardt came up with an interception.
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.
Army's next practice is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 23.
Sophomore QB A.J. Schurr
(Ref.: the feel of practice without Trent Steelman)
"It's a little different. Last year, (the quarterback position) was basically Trent's spot. Now, it's just a big competition. It's definitely different, and we're all trying to find how we fit into the offense and create our own identity within this Army offense because, quite frankly, it's been Trent's show for the past four years."
(Ref.: excitement level knowing the starting job is up for grabs)
"It's very exciting, and I know all of the quarterbacks are equally excited. We're competing out here every day in every single drill. Whether it's during warm-ups playing catch, or at the end of practice when we're playing Army ball."
(Ref.: working with new quarterbacks coach Andy Guyader)
"It's been good. It was different last year with Coach (Ian) Shields, because he couldn't focus on the quarterbacks when he had to go run the whole offense. We were kind of left without a coach during those times. I think it's helping a lot that when Coach Shields needs to take control of the whole show, we still have somebody looking over us, and watching to see if we're making mistakes and what we're doing well and not doing well."
(Ref.: what he'd like to improve during the spring)
"I want to familiarize myself with the offense, knowing the ins and outs. I also need to take care of the ball. We've found the past two seasons that ball security has been our Achilles heel. First off, getting to know the offense and the fundamentals of everything, and secondly, taking care of the ball."