Aug. 15, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. - Army completed its first week of practice on Wednesday with their seventh workout of the preseason. The three-hour session was conducted in pads for the first 70 minutes and in shells for the second half of practice.
Wednesday's practice was the third full-contact session of the season. The Black Knights are gearing up toward their first full-team scrimmage on Saturday afternoon.
Wednesday's Notables -
Anthony Stephens, Scott Williams, Jon Crucitti, Josh Jackson and plebe Jared Rogers rotated catching punts during one of the special teams periods. Jackson was the only Army player to return a punt last season (3.7 yds./ret.).
Hayden Pierce was working as the No. 2 long-snapper behind Frank Ceva on both punts and field goals.
Six projected defensive starters were also with the first punt group.
Ben Jebb recorded a knockdown block during an offense vs. scout defense portion of practice. Jebb sat out the second half of practice with an injury.
Several rookies offensive linemen were getting opportunities with the first three groups on Wednesday, including Will Butler, Matt Hugenberg, Corey Hobbs and Justin Gilbert.
Will Wilson continued to be one of the most versatile members of the offensive front. Wilson began practice splitting time with Steve Shumaker at right guard, but moved over to center when Ryan Powis missed some plays with an injury. Wilson and Shumaker appear to be fighting for the right guard position with Jebb, Frank Allen, Powis and Michael Kime getting the vast majority of first-team reps at left tackle, left guard, center and right tackle, respectively.
Trent Steelman continued to look good in the passing game, hitting a wide open Ejay Tucker for what would have been a 30-yard touchdown against the No. 1 defense in the last drill of the first half of practice.
Rookie A.J. Schurr showed great touch on a completion to Tony Giovanelly while running to his right. Schurr dropped the ball over the linebacker, but in front of the defensive back, hitting Giovanelli in stride.
The quarterback group has started to come into focus with Steelman, Angel Santiago, Schurr and plebe Kelvin White taking all the reps with the first three groups.
The first group of defensive linemen that started the second half of practice featured Derek Sanchez at one end, Bobby Kough and Richard Glover in the middle, and Joe Drummond at the other end. Drummond started the season at defensive tackle.
The offensive and defensive lines had a spirited one-on-one pass rushing session. Shumaker and Allen both won decisive battles on the inside, while DE Holt Zalneraitis and Drummond each used good counter techniques to win on the outside.
Sophomore DL Mike Ugenyi showed good quickness and explosion during the drill, prompting enthusiastic praise from assistant coach John Mumford.
Army ended the session with the field goal/PAT teams. The four kickers vying for the job were a combined 10-for-12 from 42 yards out on Wednesday. Billy Fisher and Dan Grochowski made all three of their kicks, while Eric Osteen and Cale Brewere each were 2-for-3.
Wednesday's Quotables -
Sophomore LB Geoffery Bacon
(Ref.: the defense's performance after one week of practice)
"It's going well. Each day we make progress, so that's good. We're not where we need to be. We need to be perfect, but we're making steps to get there each day. We're playing more together. We're talking more. Things are going to be bright for us this year."
(Ref.: his top priority during preseason camp)
"I'm working on being at the right place at the right time. I need to have my eyes right. My eyes are going to lead me to the ball and the tackle so that's what I'm working on."
(Ref.: how much his experience as a freshman has helped this season)
"It's helped me a lot. Last year, I would lose my eyes, but this year I've been able to be where I need to be. It's so much easier having that game experience."
(Ref.: the group of middle linebackers)
"I see some real ferociousness. We're going to be good - we have (C.J.) Shelley, (Alex) Meier, (Michael) Cermak and Zach (Williams). We're going to bring it this year."