Aug. 21, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. -
After taking two days off following last Saturday's scrimmage, the Army football returned to the practice field on Tuesday morning. A brisk and cloudless morning greeted the squad as it worked out on Howze Field and inside Foley Athletic Center.
Tuesday's session marked the team's 11th practice of the preseason, and its first since classes began yesterday. In order to ensure that the players made it down the hill in time for their academics, today's workout began just before 7 a.m., and lasted approximately 90 minutes.
Near the beginning of practice, Chris Boldt, Alex Tardieu and Jon Crucitti punted outside on Howze Field. Frank Ceva and Andrew Ellerson served as the long snappers for the drill. Josh Jackson, Anthony Stephens, Scott Williams and Jared Rogers took turns receiving the kicks. A series of players also practiced covering the kicks, running down field trying to fend off a block.
Army's offensive line worked without projected starters Ryan Powis and Ben Jebb for the majority of Tuesday's workout. Will Wilson continued to fill in for Powis at center, while Daniel Whitaker stepped in for Jebb at left tackle after he suffered an injury during today's practice.
Sophomore RB Stephen Fraser and junior RB Julian Crockett both made elusive moves to avoid contact in the one-on-one tackling drill. Both players utilized their speed to evade would-be tacklers.
Army players matched up in blocking drills with the offensive linemen going up against the defensive linemen, the wide receivers engaging the defensive backs and the running backs squaring off with the linebackers.
Notable players wearing red "no contact" jerseys during Tuesday's practice included junior DE Jarrett Mackey, sophomore OL Ryan Powis and senior WR Malcolm Brown. Sophomore WR Chevaughn Lawrence donned a blue "limited contact" jersey but was able to participate in most of the session.
Senior QB Trent Steelman and junior WR Ejay Tucker hooked up on a deep throw down the right sideline during passing drill versus defensive backs.
Later in the same drill, Steelman hit sophomore WR Zach Williams with a perfectly timed fade-stop route.
Freshman QB A.J. Schurr looked sharp throughout today's workout. One of his finest throws went to freshman RB Jared Rogers on a deep seam route. Rogers was blanketed in coverage, but Schurr fit the ball in perfectly.
During the team portion of practice, sophomore RB Larry Dixon broke off an explosive run right up the middle.
Later during that part of practice, Steelman found junior RB Raymond Maples on a seam route right down the middle. Steelman lofted the ball over the outstretched arm of a defending linebacker and dropped it into Maples' arms.
Eric Osteen finished practice by nailing all three of his field goal attempts from 42 yards. He successfully converted kicks from both hash marks and from the middle of the field.
Offensive Coordinator Ian Shields
(Ref.: progression of the offense through the first two weeks of camp)
"Well, it looks like football when the one and a halves and some of the twos take a rep. Not so much with the threes and fours right now. We're starting to get more focused through training camp now, and onto game preparation. I like where we're at. There is room to grow here, but we're moving forward at a rapid rate."
(Ref.: the play of Army's quarterbacks)
"Trent has a lot of experience, and he is full-speed every day. He's a great leader. We're probably one of the few teams in the country that have the luxury of having a fourth-year starting quarterback. We're fortunate that Trent is here. He's an excellent leader and we need to keep him healthy. At the same time, we have some young guys who have some talent and experience as well. You look at Angel (Santiago) and certainly A.J. Schurr coming up from the prep school and Kelvin White as well. I think we're in good shape at the quarterback position."
(Ref.: assessing the running back position)
"I think it's a special group, and it's probably one of the strengths of the offense. Larry had an excellent freshman campaign last year, and it's only going to get better. Raymond Maples had an excellent sophomore year, and I think his best football is still in front of him. Terry Baggett is an exceptional talent as well. He was a direct plebe who got hurt last year. He's just coming into his own, but he may be the fastest of all the backs we have and he's physical. You've got guys like (Jared) Hassin, (Stephen) Fraser, (Jon) Crucitti, (Trenton) Turrentine and (Hayden) Tippett. That's a deep group of backs, probably as deep as anyone could hope to have around the country."
(Ref.: Malcolm Brown's transition to wide receiver)
"It's been great; we had a little setback in the scrimmage on Saturday. Malcolm is one of our best football players, and we are always trying to get our best personnel on the field. We want our best 11 out there to give us a chance to win each snap. Malcolm is definitely one of those guys. With the depth we have at running back, we think that Malcolm can add something outside for us that can make us a more explosive offense."