Aug. 11, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. – The Black Knights completed their fourth practice of the preseason on Saturday morning. The three-hour session was conducted in helmets and shoulder pads, and marked the last workout before the first full-contact session of the season.
Army will practice on Sunday morning before its first day off on Monday. The morning workouts will resume on Tuesday with another full-pad session. Tuesday’s practice will also mark the beginning of the last week of workouts before classes at West Point begin on Aug. 20.
The coaching staff introduced the “combative” portion of practice on Saturday. While there was no contact, players were brought up to speed on what will be expected tomorrow when they put the pads on.
Army continued its routine of individual and group work for the first 70 minutes followed by a “halftime” break, and then another 70-minute session featuring one-on-one and team drills.
Some plebes started getting into the mix with the top units on defense. During the last portion of practice, Alex Meier (mike), Brandon Fusilier-Jeffries (rover) and Ryan Alexander (tackle) all took turns with the first and second teams. Meier was in the middle when the team began the second half of practice with its offense vs. defense no-huddle drill that featured the ones vs. ones. Geoffery Bacon was back with the first unit at the end of practice.
Senior QB Trent Steelman continued to look sharp in the passing game. During the no-huddle drill, Steelman showed good velocity in completing to short passes into tight windows, including a touchdown to a sliding Chevaughn Lawrence.
Steelman also completed two deep throws in the receiver vs. defensive back portion of practice. He lofted a high-arching ball to a streaking Malcolm Brown for what would have been a touchdown, and then fit another long throw between two defenders that junior WR Scott Williams was able to haul in.
Williams also made a tremendous diving catch on a short comeback route from Steelman.
Freshman QB Kelvin Smith showed off his arm completing a short route to a closely covered Patrick Laird. White put the ball low and away where only Laird could catch it, which he did by making a nice adjustment.
The offensive skill positions began to separate into distinct groups. The backs rotating in with the first unit included Larry Dixon, Terry Baggett and Jared Hassin. Later in the practice plebe fullbacks Matt Giachinta and Tirone Young were with that group, but Hayden Tippett remains the No. 2 fullback. Tippett was with the second team during the final portion of Saturday’s practice.
The receiver groupings include Malcolm Brown, Patrick Laird and Ejay Tucker with the first unit and Chevaughn Lawrence, Anthony Stephens and Justin Newman with the second group. Scott Williams is also heavily in the mix for playing time at one of the receiver spots.
Army installed another routine to end its practice with that will become a staple once pads are introduced. The team was separated into three groups, ones vs. ones, twos vs. twos, and threes vs. threes. The first unit starts at the 35-yard line going in, while the second group works at the other end in the red zone. The third group is on the sideline waiting their turn. The three units then rotate at the coaches’ commands.
Senior WR Malcolm Brown
(Ref.: his adjustment to receiver)
“It’s going well. I’m just trying to get the dimensions of the offense at receiver down. It’s similar to being a running back, but there are obviously some differences.”
(Ref.: if his familiarity with the offense makes the transition smoother)
“I’ve been here for four years so I’ve seen receivers go through the program, and that’s helped me out. My sophomore there I was there for preseason practice so I got some work in, and now I’m just building off that.”
(Ref.: his relationship with Trent Steelman)
“We have been going together every one-on-one chance we get. We’re just building that mesh. We’ve been together since the prep school so we’re already pretty familiar with each other.”
(Ref.: whether or not he’ll play running back at all this season)
“The coaches want me to focus on playing receiver right now. We’ll see what happens later in the year, but right now I’m getting to know the receiver spot.”