April 14, 2014
WEST POINT, N.Y. – The Army football team began its final week of spring practice with a two and one-half hour workout at Michie Stadium and Howze Field. The Black Knights conducted the up-tempo, full-contact session in pads.
Army head coach Jeff Monken announced that Saturday’s spring game will be played as a regulation football game. There will be four 15-minute quarters with a 10-minute halftime. West Point Superintendent Robert Caslen and Commandant Richard Clarke will serve as the coaches. Caslen will lead the Black team and Clarke will guide the Gold team. One team will be made up of the first-team offense and second-team defense, while the other squad will have the first-team defense and second-team offense. The remaining players will be divided between the two teams to ensure each has enough players at each position.
The Black Knights will practice Wednesday and Friday before Saturday’s event, which kicks off at noon.
- Army started practice with 25 minutes of special teams work.
- Six players took turns snapping on either punts or field goals. Hayden Pierce, Alexander Clamp and James Forgrave were with the kickers, while Connor Farley, Derek Sanchez and Jeremy Timpf were with the punters.
- Army utilized only two center, Matt Hugenberg and Todd McDonald. Hugenberg, a converted guard, made the switch to snapping left handed.
- Guard Stephen Shumaker was upgraded to a blue jersey. He missed all of last week with an injury.
- The depth chart is still fluid and revamped based on the previous practice.
- On Monday, the first-team offense consisted of receivers Kelvin White and Xavier Moss, quarterback A.J. Schurr, fullback Larry Dixon, slotbacks Tony Giovannelli and a rotation of Elijah St. Hilaire and Jared Rogers. The offensive line was made up of a mix of Ryan Powis and Drew Hennessy at left tackle, Shumaker at left guard, Hugenberg at center, Stefan Moreau at right guard and Justin Gilbert at right tackle.
- The second offensive group featured Deandre Bell, Justin Newman, Edgar Poe and Lane Holmes rotating at receiver. The backfield was made up of quarterback Angel Santiago, fullback Matt Giachinta and slotbacks Elijah St. Hilaire and Joe Walker. Up front, the second unit was Niko Schillaci at left tackle, O.J. Hall at left guard, McDonald at center, Colby Enegren at right guard and Corey Hobbs at right tackle. Jeffrey Malm-Annan (slotback) and Chris Smythe (OL) also rotated in.
- Defensively, Monday’s first group was Joe Drummond, Richard Glover and Mike Ugenyi up front, James Kelly and Stephen Ricciardi as outside linebackers, Andrew King and Jeremy Timpf as inside linebackers. Josh Jenkins and Lamar Johnson-Harris at cornerback, and Geoffery Bacon and Hayden Pierce as the safeties.
- Holmes made a nice sliding catch over the middle during the one-on-one portion of practice.
- Brandon Parros appeared to have Jenkins beat on a double move, but the corner recovered to bat the ball down.
- The defensive linemen made some notable plays during the 11-on-11 periods. Glover, Ugenyi, Drummond and Atimalala all made plays in the middle and chasing down perimeter runs.
- Larry Dixon had several nice runs, including one that would have moved the chains.
- Angel Santiago hit Chevaughn Lawrence for what would have been an 85-yard touchdown. Lawrence ran down the seam without a defender anywhere close. The two later connected on a sideline pattern where Lawrence just got his feet inbounds.
- Addison Holstein delivered a big hit on Malm-Annan after he caught a pass on the outside. Holstein’s inside-out pursuit allowed him to take the ball carrier down.
- Tony Giovannelli made a long run on a quick-hitter up the middle.
- Jenkins made an interception during 7-on-7 drills.
- In the final 11-on-11 period, Kelly got to the quarterback and was able to strip the ball out.
- Army attempted two field goals during 11-on-11 work. Daniel Grochowski and Cale Brewer both made 35-yard attempts. Schurr held and Farley snapped on the first attempt, while Tardieu placed Pierce’s snap on Brewer’s kick.
Head Coach Jeff Monken
(Re.: the spring game format)
“We’re going to try and make it just like a game. We’ll open it up with a kickoff. We’ll punt at appropriate times, and kick extra points and field goals. We haven’t always been able to do that based on the number of injuries. We feel like right now that we have enough healthy players that we can play a game. Hopefully, we’ll be healthy enough on Saturday to have a game.”
(Re.: the team’s toughness)
“I think we’re better, but we’re not where we need to be yet. I don’t know if we ever completely get there. I’ll always want them to be tougher. I’ll always want them to play harder. I’ll always want them to play better. I’ll always want us to execute better. You never play perfect, but you have to strive for that. I think there has been a lot of improvement.”
Safety Geoffery Bacon
(Re.: his adjustment to the new coaches)
“The coaches take the time to work with you, and they’re open anytime you need anything. Every player wants a coach that cares about theme, and even though they’re hard on us, we can tell they care about us.”
(Re.: the team’s toughness)
“They’re putting us through things we haven’t done before. It pushes our limits. It’s going to be special to be part of this team, and Coach Monken has shown that not everyone can be a part of it. That’s what makes guys work so much harder. You can tell something special is about to happen.”
Running back Tony Giovannelli
(Re.: playing on special teams)
“Everything is new, and the coaches are doing a good job of getting everybody in the right positions. Last year, the defense played kickoff and punt and offense was kickoff return and punt return. This year, everyone is doing everything. It’s a lot different than last year. It’s very detailed, but that’s what going to help us win.”
(Re.: his role with the slotbacks)
“As a senior, I’ve been trying to take a leadership role, but it’s also my first year with the new coaches so I’m making mistakes. I try to lead by example. I want to help anyway I can. (Stephen) Fraser and I have gone in with Coach Seward to learn as much as we can so we can help the other guys.”