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Tag:Trent Steelman
Posted on: February 13, 2012 1:12 pm
 

Army opens spring practice, moves spring game

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's not easy for our nation's men and women in uniform to make the trip to West Point for the Army football team's spring game. So the Black Knights are bringing the game to some of them.

Army announced recently that the annual Black/Gold Game will be held at Doughboy Stadium on the campus of Fort Benning, Ga. The game will be held March 9 at the conclusion of Army's spring practice, which officially begins Monday after some weekend walkthroughs.

"It's something we're anxious to do," Army head coach Rich Ellerson said in a statement. "It makes too much sense. As spring football games have become a little bit more of a media event, it's a chance for us to showcase the program and articulate that connection with the U.S. Army ... It will be a great experience for us and hopefully for the folks at Fort Benning. It's a first-time thing. We had to get an exception from the NCAA, but it makes sense given the institutional relationships. We'll see where it leads us."

Maj. Gen. Bob Brown, Fort Benning's commanding general, said the "theme of the event and the focus of the day" surrounding the game would be "Duty."

The game at Fort Benning will wrap up what shapes up as a key spring practice for the Black Knights, one Ellerson hopes will help turn around the momentum from a disappointing 3-9 season. Ellerson said after Saturday's workout that more team veterans will have more work to do in spring drills than in 2011--particularly in the area of ball security, where the Black Knights ranked 120th out of 120 in fumbles lost.

“Frankly, those guys need it very badly,” head coach Rich Ellerson said. “We had the ball on the ground a lot last year. When we talk about the fundamentals, in some cases, I’m talking about our older guys. We need to either get them right or beat them out.”

For a CBSSports.com ULive video interview with Army senior quarterback Trent Steelman, click here. 

HT: EDSBS

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Posted on: December 10, 2011 6:16 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2011 6:16 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Navy 27 Army 21

Posted by Tom Fornelli

NAVY WON. For the tenth straight season the Navy emerged victorious in its annual game against Army. Things looked as though they might get out of hand early, as two Army turnovers helped lead to a 14-0 Navy lead, but Army would fight back to tie the game just before halftime. Both teams then swapped touchdowns on their first drives of the second half, but Army mistakes and turnovers helped settle things in the final quarter.

It's not often that a quarterback playing with a dislocated elbow on his throwing arm is your player of the game, but that was the case for Navy's Kriss Proctor on Saturday. Proctor rushed for 97 yards and 2 touchdowns to lead the Midshipmen, and Alexander Teich rushed for 93 yards and Navy's other touchdown. Army was led by Trent Steelman who had 139 total yards and 2 touchdowns on the day, and Malcolm Brown who rushed for 82 yards and a touchdown of his own.

WHY NAVY WON. It was a very close contest, as you'd expect from two teams who are so similar to one another, but if there was any real difference in this game it was that Navy dominated time of possession. Combine that with 5 penalties and 3 turnovers for Army, and that was essentially your difference.

WHEN NAVY WON. With 4 minutes remaining in the game and down 27-21, Army faced a 4th and 7 at the Navy 25-yard line. That's when Trent Steelman was stuffed behind the line of scrimmage by Navy linebacker Matt Warrick. Army turned it over on downs and Navy then bled the rest of the clock.

WHAT NAVY WON. Neither of these schools is going to a bowl game this season, which just adds more significance to what this game meant for both schools this season. So it's a victory that Navy will surely cherish, and the fact that it's now 10 wins in a row only makes it that much sweeter.

WHAT ARMY LOST. It never feels good to lose to Navy, and to lose to the Middies ten times in a row hurts even more. Of course, as we all know, everybody on that football field on Saturday is going to go on and do a lot more important things than play a football game.
Posted on: December 6, 2011 12:31 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Army vs. Navy

Posted by Tom Fornelli

ARMY WILL WIN IF: When it comes to a game like this that's not only a great rivalry, but also features two teams who are so incredibly similar to each other, it's usually going to come down to one or two big plays and turnovers. So if Army wants to emerge victorious against Navy on Saturday, it'd be best served to take care of the ball and make sure it's the one making the big plays. Which will be easier said than done. Army's rush offense has been slightly better than Navy's this season, but its passing offense has not been equal. The Cadets average 8 pass attempts per game and are completing only 36% of those passes for 48 yards a game. If there was ever a game to improve those numbers it would be this one, as the Navy defense has allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 74% of their passes this season. If Army can find its usual success on the ground but manage to sneak in a deep ball here and there, then it could be the difference in this one.

NAVY WILL WIN IF: I could essentially copy and paste what I wrote for Army and put it here for Navy. Still, where Navy has its biggest advantage over Army is in its passing offense. It's not great by any means, but it's better than Army's. Navy throws more often and has been more successful doing so. If that continues against an Army pass defense that gives up 8.1 yards per attempt and has allowed over twice as many touchdowns as it has interceptions, then Navy is likely going to win this game.

X-FACTORS: Max Jenkins and Trent Steelman. Both quarterbacks have seen some time on the field for Army all season, though Steelman has found more success throwing the ball. Still, as I said above, one of these two will have to find a way to move the ball through the air in this game. Whichever one is able to could be the single biggest factor in this matchup.
Posted on: February 18, 2011 12:16 am
 

Spring Practice Primer: Army, Navy, Air Force

Posted by Adam Jacobi

College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice. So we here at the Eye on College Football will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers. Today, we look at the service academies -- Army, Navy, and the Air Force Academy -- who all began spring practice yesterday.

Spring Practice Question: Who's going to take the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy in 2011? 

To say there has usually been a talent disparity among the triumverate of military academy football programs is, to say the least, an understatement. If the outcomes of football games were random events, then the odds of the three teams splitting their series at 1-1 apiece would be one in four. In practice, only four times since the inception of the trophy 39 years ago has that happened. Which program is superior changes, of course -- Air Force leads the series, but with only a plurality of trophy wins instead of a majority -- but rarely is it the case that all three teams are on equal footing coming into a season.

We may be at such a situation, though. 2010 marked the first instance in college football history that Army, Navy, and the Air Force all reached bowl games in the same season. Will the trio repeat the feat in 2011? It's quite possible.

Air Force comes into the 2011 (pardon the expression) flying high, and it's easy to see why: the Falcons beat took the C-i-C trophy for the first time in eight years last season, besting Navy 14-6 and walloping Army 42-22. Better yet, QB Tim Jefferson is back for his senior season after rushing for 15 touchdowns and throwing for 10 more. He's the linchpin of the offense and one of the best option quarterbacks in the nation.

The Air Force offense is hardly a one-man show, of course, and it's no surprise that four different players notched over 100 carries on the season in 2010. Tailback and human/waterbug hybrid Asher Clark is also back; Clark led the Falcons in rushing yardage and added five more rushing TDs.

Still, it'll be interesting to see how Air Force's ground game changes with the addition of Des Kitchings as running backs coach and running game coordinator. Kitchings was most recently at Vanderbilt for three seasons, and he was brought in to replace Jamel Singleton, the longtime Air Force assistant who recently joined the staff of incoming Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson this offseason. There probably won't be sweeping changes or anything -- this is still Troy Calhoun's team, after all -- but this is our first opportunity to see how Kitchings addresses the Falcons' ground game and what changes he might implement.

While the current Commander-in-Chief's Trophy holder is Air Force, this rivalry has belonged to Navy for the majority of the decade; the Midshipmen swept the three-pronged rivalry for the seven prior seasons, and even despite losing to the Falcons in 2010, Navy still went 9-4 and earned a bowl bid. This is still a very strong program, in other words.

Unfortunately for Navy, the impossible task of replacing Ricky Dobbs begins this week. Dobbs was arguably Navy's best quarterback since the days of Roger Staubach ('63), and though Dobbs didn't live up to his preseason Heisman hype as a senior, for crying out loud, the man had Heisman hype. Senior-to-be Kriss Proctor appears to be the best bet to replace Dobbs, but if Navy sees a solid spring from Trey Miller, there could be some drama at the QB position.

Where Navy really needs to excel this spring is on defense, however. The Midshipmen struggled at times in 2010, giving up 23 points and almost 400 yards per game, and now that defense needs to replace six starters. Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo recently restructured some of his defensive assistants' responsibilities; perhaps that will help the Middies' middling D.

As for Army, for once, the Black Knights are no slouch, having reached their first bowl in 13 years last season: a stirring (if sloppy) 16-14 upset of SMU in the Armed Forces Bowl. The Cadets return starting quarterback Trent Steelman... sort of. Steelman will miss spring practice after undergoing shoulder surgery last month. It's on his non-throwing shoulder --the left -- so even if rehabilitation goes slowly, it shouldn't drastically affect his throwing motion.

That said, in 2010, Steelman ran the ball 197 times (which isn't even counting the option plays where he pitched the ball and absorbed contact) to 133 pass attempts, so it's not like he can hide a bum shoulder by hanging out in the pocket all afternoon. The Black Knights will look to depend on Steelman in the fall, so it will be extremely interesting to see how the offense handles not having its leader in the saddle during these spring sessions.

The Black Knights' new team captain is linebacker Steven Erzinger, replacing graduating linebacker Stephen Anderson (so many linebackers; so many Steves) who held the title for the last two seasons. Army technically ranked 29th in total defense in 2010, but a closer look at the yards given up per play actually puts Army down at 84th in the nation, so the defense wasn't so much "good" as "not on the field very much." Erzinger's first task, without doubt, is to get his guys into that "good" category if the Cadets want a shot at the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy.

Posted on: December 30, 2010 10:06 pm
 

Bowl Grades: Armed Forces Bowl

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Army jumped out to a big first half lead and held on to stun the heavily favored SMU by the score of 16-14.

Army

Offense: There usually isn't much pride to be taken in scoring 16 points in an entire game, and it usually adds up to a loss to boot. But even that would be an overestimation of Army's production today; one of the Black Knights' scores came on a fumble return, so the offense really only managed nine points. Further, QB Trent Steelman struggled with the SMU defense: in the second half, Army never even managed to get into field goal range until the last clinching drive. Things really could have gone south for Army today. Grade: D

Defense: Those things did not, in fact, go south for Army today because the defense was so effective in the first half. In addition to the fumble returned for a touchdown, Army also came up with two interceptions in the first half (neither of which it was able to turn into points, mind you, but that's not the defense's fault). In the second half, Army's defense seemed to be running out of gas, allowing two long touchdown drives and another drive to field goal range. That field goal was missed, but again, not necessarily on the defense. Still, three first-half takeaways put Army in charge, and that's nothing to take lightly. Grade: B-

Coaching: Here, Rich Ellerson deserves a great deal of credit; the Black Knights were much more prepared for today's game and took the fight to SMU early. Then late in the game, with the Army offense floundering and SMU desperately needing a stop, Ellerson made two brilliant third-down calls: one a play action QB sweep on 3rd and 9, and an especially gutsy play action throw to the tight end to seal the game with 1:14 left -- only Steelman's second completion of the game. The bottom line is this: Army played four quarters, and SMU didn't. Grade: A

Southern Methodist

Offense: SMU QB Kyle Padron threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns, and the Mustang offense gained over 400 yards in total. When their backs were up against the wall, the Mustangs responded well, gaining 198 yards on their three drives of the second half. But thanks to Army's time-intensive ground attack, all SMU got in that second half was three drives, so all Army needed was one stop -- which it got late. The stop itself was something of a surprise, considering how well the Mustang offense was connecting through the air and grinding on the ground, but it still happened. If only Padron hadn't given the ball away three times in the first half. Grade: B-

Defense: The SMU defense did its job, for the most part; Army's offense gathered 16 first downs but only 221 total yards, and it had just two scoring drives on the day. The Mustang defense didn't force any turnovers, though, which meant SMU was never in a short-field situation; even after forcing four punts, SMU's average starting field position was its own 24-yard line. Small nit to pick with a defense that gave up nine points, but an important note when one team outgains the other by almost 200 yards and loses by two points. Grade: B+

Coaching: It's easy to understand why the Mustangs might not have been thrilled about this bowl assignment, since they had to play it at their home stadium in front of a generally disinterested crowd. There are things football players expect out of a bowl experience, and staying home isn't one of them. That said, responsibility for getting the team ready to play ultimately falls on June Jones -- who's normally well-respected as a coach, and deservedly so -- and the flat first half the Mustangs put forth is on his shoulders. Now, whatever Jones said to his guys at the half (probably something along the lines of "GUYS YOU ARE IN A BOWL GAME") worked, as SMU outscored Army 14-0 after the break, but when Matt Smymanski 's 47-yard field goal sailed left, it was too little, too late. Why Szymanski was even kicking a 47-yard field goal in the first place is a good question, since Jones called an inside draw on 2nd and 10 -- away from what had been working very well for the SMU offense the entire day -- and the blitz pickup on 3rd and 9 was nonexistent. Those calls didn't put SMU in a position to win, and for that, June Jones must be judged harshly. Grade: D

Final Grade

Anyone who saw the 16-0 lead for Army knew it wasn't going to stay that way for long, and it didn't; SMU made this a game with plenty of time in the fourth quarter, and if it weren't for some odd play calling on the final series, SMU could have easily won. That said, the contest was pretty sloppy at times on both sides, and fans can probably be excused for tuning out before the exciting last few minutes. All that aside, this is a bowl win for Army -- its first in over two decades -- and it's this writer's opinion that success at a traditional power like Army is on the whole a net plus for the sport of college football, so this game was good to see. Grade: B+

Posted on: December 28, 2010 12:09 pm
 

CBS Bowl Bonanza: Armed Forces Bowl

Posted by Tom Fornelli as part of the blog's Bowl Bonanza series.

The Basics: Army (6-6) vs. SMU (7-6), Dec. 30 Noon EST

Why You Should Watch: You should tun into the Armed Forced Bowl because you generally don't get a lot of chances to see Army and SMU in bowl games these days.  This will be the first time Army has played in a bowl since 1996, and this is only the second time that SMU has been in a bowl game over the last 25 years, or since Eric Dickerson and Craig James were getting paid.  If that's not enough there's also the contrast in styles of both teams, as Army runs the triple option and SMU is a run and shoot team.

Keys to Victory for Army: The strategy for Army to win this game is simple, yet won't be nearly as easy to execute.  It simply needs to keep the SMU offense off the field as much as possible.  While Army should be proud to be back in a bowl game, the fact of the matter is that they just don't have the talent and depth that SMU has, and can't afford to get into any kind of shootout.

Still, there's reason to believe Army can be successful.  SMU's defense had a lot of trouble stopping Navy's offense earlier this season, particularly the pitch on the option as Navy rushed for 253 yards in a 28-21 victory over the Mustangs.

Trent Steelman and the Army offense will have to have a similar game and hold on to the ball to have any chance of winning in this game.  They just simply don't have the depth on defense, particularly in the secondary, to keep the Mustangs passing attack in check.

Keys to Victory for SMU: Stop the option.  SMU has spent a lot of time in practice trying to fix the mistakes of the Navy game and work on their defensive assignments against the option.  If they can keep Army from running all over them, the Mustangs should come away with the victory.

After all, this game will be played in SMU's home stadium.

When SMU has the ball they should look to exploit any Army linebacker forced into coverage as they just don't have the agility to stay with SMU's slot receivers Darius Johnson and Cole Beasley.  Another key will be to pick up the blitz, as odds are that Army will blitz a lot to make up for its secondary.  Kyle Padron has had some trouble when pressured this season, so giving him time to find his open receiver will be key.

The Mustangs should also look to use the run game to slow down the blitz, as they've been more successful on the ground than you'd expect from a June Jones offense.  Zach Line isn't going to break any long runs, but he is a big, bruising back that can be used to soften the Army defense and cause linebackers to hesitate on play action, therefore opening up more lanes in the secondary for receivers.

The Armed Forces Bowl is like: that old t-shirt you found in the back of the closet.  You haven't worn the thing in a long time, and it's no longer in fashion, but it still fits and it's awfully comfortable.
Posted on: December 11, 2010 4:21 pm
Edited on: December 11, 2010 5:56 pm
 

14-point play may doom Army vs. Navy

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It may be a little early to declare the Army-Navy game (live now, exclusively on CBS ) over and done with, but with the Midshipmen up 24-7 at halftime , it doesn't look like this is the year the Black Knights end their eight-year losing streak against their archrivals. Army's first-half score is their single touchdown scored against Navy since 2006, so how likely is is they manage the three necessary to overturn the deficit?

Not likely, though it didn't look like likely that Army would even offer the Midshipmen a challenge after falling behind 17-0 and not recording so much as a first down until 10:15 remained in the half. But Ricky Dobbs' fumble set the Knights up on the Navy 23, and a short Trent Steelman touchdown pass broke Army's three-year touchdown drought.

But Steelman giveth, and Steelman taketh away in the most gut-wrenching fashion possible. Another Navy fumble led to first-and-goal for Army from the 3, but Steelman fumbled on a plunge over the right side, and Wyatt Middleton returned the ball 98 yards for a massive Navy score. Instead of being down three with the ball to start the second half, now the Knights are looking at scaling a near-impossible deficit. One play, a 14 points' worth of swing.

Of course, part of the reason that deficit looks as imposing as it does is because when they haven't been fumbling the ball away -- they've done it three times -- Navy has been the better team. Dobbs has torched Army through the air, connecting on four passes for 164 yards (yes, that's 41 yards a completion) and the Midshipmen own a 213-115 advantage in total yards. 77 of those came on this Dobbs touchdown pass to John Howell , the longest Navy play in Army-Navy history:
 


Assuming Navy hangs onto the ball, the Knights won't stand a chance of a comeback after Middleton's score.

They might not have stood a chance anyway, of course. But if the streak extends to nine games, there's also no question that's the play they'll point to as the moment things got away from them.

UPDATE, 6 p.m. EST:  Army made a nice effort in the second half, getting another touchdown pass from Steelman to pull within 14 points late, but a ruthless 13-play, 87-yard Navy touchdown drive that ate up the first 9 minutes of the fourth quarter erased any real hope of a Black Knight comeback. Of course, if you take away the 7 points from the Middleton return and add them to Army's tally if Steelman had forced his way in instead, the game might have been tied down the stretch. As you might have expected at the half, here is where the game was won and lost:
 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com