On Saturday, Army had a new quarterback taking the first snap of the scrimmage with the first team. Freshman Trent Steelman lined up behind center Zach Peterson, and it would not be long before Army fans would see just why the Army coaching staff was anxious to have Steelman join the Black Knights this summer. After a few nice runs by slotbacks Patrick Mealy and Malcolm Brown, Steelman took the ball to the right on an option keeper and darted down the sideline for a 32 yard touchdown. It would be the first of three touchdowns on the ground for Steelman. He would connect with Damion Hunter through the air for a touchdown as well.
For Steelman, the progress of the offense has met expectations, and the anticipation for the opener against Eastern Michigan is starting to build. "We've come a long way," says the USMAPS product. "Things are really started to come together as a team right now. We're just looking to get to that first game."
On Tuesday preceding the scrimmage, Army head coach Rich Ellerson announced that Steelman would take the majority of the snaps with the "ones". A humble Steelman gives credit for his success to the big guys up front. "It's going very good," begins the freshman signal caller. "My line does a lot of things for us, and I give them all the credit of course. They are the ones that push us forward. Right now, as an offense, we are clicking."
After running a few option pitches and handoffs to start the game, Steelman took the opportunity to showcase his speed. Only five plays into the scrimmage, he made it to paydirt. "It feels good to get in the end zone. As an offense, it's what we work to do. Moving the ball up and down the field is our goal."
Things are really started to come together as a team right now. We're just looking to get to that first game.
- Quarterback, Trent Steelman
With only a few weeks under his belt as a Black Knight, and just having completed "Beast" (Cadet Basic Training), the time for adjustment has been short. But Steelman has taken it in stride and displayed on Saturday that he is adapting well. "The biggest change is the speed of the game, and the fact that everyone is as good or better than you all the time," explains the athletic quarterback. "That's been my biggest adjustment coming from high school to the prep school to West Point. Just adjusting to the speed of the game. Taking a hit every play. You are going to take hits in this offense."
Understandably, moving to the top of the depth chart in just a few weeks has Trent feeling good. "I really couldn't ask for anything more," shares the excited Steelman. "I've taken every chance I have been given to learn the offense and hopefully be a contribution to this team. That's all I can ask for, just to help this team out and hopefully we go a long way."
With less than two weeks left before Army opens the 2009 season at Eastern Michigan, Army head coach Rich Ellerson knows that he has a decision to make. "I think you can see that they are very different guys (Steelman and Chip Bowden), but both of them can be very effective," starts Ellerson. "We're going to need both of them, of course, and there are going to be situational opportunities for them both. Clearly we see Trent's quickness is really a weapon in this offense, as is Chip's ability to be physical and his experience level. Carson (Williams) will play as well. We try and make those guys feel that they are close to the field because in the course of a season you're going to need them all."
Choosing a starter is right around the corner, and could come as soon as Monday. "We'll make a decision coming out of this," starts the Army mentor. "We'll look at this tape, we'll reflect on this week and see how we are going to handle this."
With only days until opening day, and the need to settle in and plant on who will lead the Black Knights on September 5th, you can't help but feel that Steelman has made his statement on being named Army's starter.
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