Aug. 16, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. -
The Army football team was greeted by a beautiful, sun-splashed morning on Thursday as the Black Knights returned to the practice fields to continue preparations for the 2012 season. Army utilized Howze Field and Foley Athletic Center for its eighth practice of preseason camp.
Thursday's practice marked the team's fourth full-contact session of the season. The Black Knights have just one more practice before engaging in their first full-team scrimmage on Saturday afternoon.
Army ran through a crisp, up-tempo practice that lasted approximately two hours and 40 minutes. The Black Knights began promptly at 7:40 a.m., and worked out for about 70 minutes before taking a 15 minute "halftime" break. The squad then returned to the field and practiced for another 70-75 minutes.
Army wore helmets, shoulder pads and football pants for the first half of practice, but emerged from the locker room wearing shorts instead of pants for the second half.
Former Army great Carl "Rollie" Stichweh (USMA '65), who was recently named to the Army Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2012, attended today's practice.
Army men's basketball head coach Zach Spiker also attended Thursday's session. He spent most of the practice "shadowing" head coach Rich Ellerson as he led the Black Knights through practice.
Notable players wearing red "no contact" jerseys during Thursday's practice included junior DE Jarrett Mackey, sophomore WR Chevaughn Lawrence, sophomore OL Ryan Powis, senior OL Ben Jebb and junior LB Justin Trimble.
During the special teams portion of practice, senior Chris Boldt and freshman Alex Tardieu practiced punting outside on Howze Field. Junior Scott Williams, junior Anthony Stephens and freshman Jared Rogers took turns receiving the punts.
Several players, including sophomore RB Stephen Fraser, took turns receiving kickoffs, which were fired to them from a JUGS machine.
Assistant coach Andy Guyader put the wide receivers through a series of drills during the individual portion of practice. The Army wideouts first worked on their route running and then practiced their blocking technique in a full-speed drill versus defenders.
Sophomore RB Larry Dixon broke off a bulldozing-type of run straight up the middle during a drill with the first offense.
Senior QB Trent Steelman fired a 20-yard "frozen rope" to junior WR Ejay Tucker down the right sideline during the same drill.
Junior RB Raymond Maples showed off his skill set with a shifty run around the right side of the offensive line. Maples made a series of cuts and evasive moves to avoid contact.
Junior DB Jordan Crockett made a spectacular play in the secondary, jumping up high to intercept a pass 20 yards down the field. Crockett leapt up and snagged the pass, which appeared to be heading over his head. The play drew rave reviews from his defensive teammates and coaches.
When the team came back out after the "halftime" break, it engaged in some Army vs. Army action with the first-team offense going up against the first-team defense. Steelman looked sharp leading the offense down the field during the drill, which began near the 50-yard line.
Associate head coach Gene McKeehan and assistant coach Bill Tripp put the offensive linemen through a series of blocking drills against defenders. The group primarily focused on run blocking during the 10-minute sequence.
Steelman and Scott Williams hooked up on a 30-yard fade route deep down the right sideline.
Steelman connected with senior WR Malcolm Brown on a perfectly placed slant route about 15 yards down the field. Brown, who is converting to the wide receiver position after spending his first three seasons at running back, continues to look more and more comfortable at wideout.
Freshman QB Kelvin White drew positive feedback after lofting a 30-yard pass to Williams on a corner route. White's strong and accurate throwing arm was on display as he perfectly led Williams into the end zone.
Junior WR Scott Williams
(Ref.: developing during camp)
"(Wide receivers) coach (Andy) Guyader is teaching us a lot, and we're always active. Even during our `downtime' we are working on the mental game. It's fun to be in camp and to be able to play."
(Ref.: the Army wide receiver corps)
"We have one senior in the group, and we are mostly junior-based. Malcolm Brown is our only senior, and he just got switched over from running back. Malcolm is a great athlete, and he's the leader of our group. The juniors are stepping up. We had some awesome receivers last year who taught us how to lead and how to go about our business. It's been fun just getting out there."
(Ref.: rapport with Trent Steelman)
"We worked together a lot during the offseason, so we already had a good connection when we came into camp. We didn't have any time to waste and we haven't missed a beat. It's been really good so far."
(Ref.: excitement level heading into the San Diego State game)
"San Diego State is first game, and it's also our next game so we're definitely all focused on that one. For me it will be like going home, so I'm looking forward to that. It will be a fun game. I played with a lot of guys on that team (in high school), so it'll be fun to compete against them."