After five weeks of spring practice, Richmond’s football team competed in the annual spring game Saturday at the Robins Center, showcasing what the team will have to offer come the fall.
The defense dominated the game, beating the offense 53-33. In the spring game, the offense and the defense face off against each other, so the scoring system is different than in a traditional football game.
Head coach Danny Rocco said that this outcome was not uncommon in spring games. The defense has been training against the offense and knows the plays, so the offense is unable to come out with any surprises.
Saturday’s game was the first opportunity for the players to take the field under new offensive coordinator John Garrett and defensive coordinator Chris Cosh.
“The changes went into motion the day we brought them in,” Rocco said. “They’re both extremely experienced. They know how to do the job at a very high level and have been able to march through the transition.”
At halftime, Rocco announced the captains for next season, keeping four out of the six the same because he appreciates the continuity in leadership on the field, he said. Offensive captains are rising seniors Thomas Evans and Brian Brown and current redshirt sophomore Kyle Lauletta. The defensive captains are rising seniors David Jones, Omar Howard and Winston Craig.
“I just really appreciate my teammates,” Craig said. “I would not be here if they had not voted for me. I have the label, but really, they’re all leaders too.”
Rocco also announced most improved players for the spring. The coaches acknowledged freshman Chad Wiggins for his ability to adapt from being a linebacker to a defensive end and sophomore Garrett Hudson, a tight end who scored a touchdown Saturday. They also crowned sophomore Jarriel Jordan as the weight room champion.
All three are both familiar faces and up-and-comers to keep an eye on that made appearances throughout the day.
Offensively, starting quarterback Lauletta threw for 193 yards and two touchdowns. Receivers Brown and sophomore Porter Abell combined for 101 yards on seven catches. Twelve different players caught a pass, including sophomore Jarmal Bevels, who had been out last season because he'd torn his ACL in spring ball last year.
Bevels said that he had assumed the offense would start out slowly because this was their first time running the new offense in a game situation. They had to learn an entirely new playbook, whereas most of the defense stayed the same.
“When camp comes around and we get more scrimmage time, I think we’ll get more chemistry as an offense,” Bevels said.
Notable performances on the defensive end included rising junior Brendan Coniker, who landed the only interception of the day as well as four tackles. Junior Lemond Johnson and freshman Billy Caughell both had five tackles of their own.
This past season, the team finished first in the CAA conference and competed in the semifinals of the FCS playoffs, finishing No. 3 in the league. A majority of the starters, 16 of the 22, will be back next year for another attempt at an FCS championship. For now, they have one more week of spring ball between them and summer.
Contact sports editor Jennie Trejo at firstname.lastname@example.org