The Collegian
Monday, April 15, 2024

Scott, Corp highlight changes for Richmond football

The final game of the 2009 University of Richmond football season ended in disappointment for the Spiders, but during the month that followed, multiple changes within the program have fueled excitement for the season to come.

Two days after the Spiders fell 35-31 to Appalachian State University during the Football Championship Subdivision quarterfinals, head coach Mike London took the head coaching position at the University of Virginia. U.Va. will pay London $1.7 million per year for five seasons.

At the time, many Richmond players expressed disappointment in London's decision to leave and uncertainty about welcoming the third head coach during the past four seasons.

"It's kind of a sad move because he was a good coach," sophomore wide receiver Donte Boston said. "I've had three different positions coaches since I've been here. It sucks, but it's something you've got to get used to because it's a business."

But what Boston didn't know was that one of his former position coaches would soon become his head coach.

Eight days after London's resignation, Director of Athletics Jim Miller named former Richmond assistant coach Latrell Scott as the new head coach. Scott served as wide receivers coach under former head coach Dave Clawson during the 2005-2007 seasons.

Scott, a self-proclaimed players' coach who is known for his recruiting ability, is only 34, making him the youngest head coach in Division I football.

"A lot of people ask, 'What makes you ready at 34 years old to accomplish this task?'" Scott said. "I've been raised by some of the best football coaches in the country."

Scott has coached under Clawson, former University of Tennessee head coach Phil Fulmer and former U.Va. and NFL head coach Al Groh.

On Jan. 5, Scott made his first serious decisions as Richmond's head coach when he named four new coaches to his staff, including former Richmond assistant coach Wayne Lineburg as offensive coordinator. Scott also retained five assistant coaches from London's staff.

London, however, was not the only notable member of the football program to depart following the team's playoff loss.

Senior quarterback Eric Ward graduated during December, leaving the quarterback position unsettled.

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But before Scott could even evaluate the potential quarterbacks on his roster, one of the most highly touted recruits in the recent history of Richmond came knocking.

Aaron Corp, a sophomore from the University of Southern California who backed up freshman Matt Barkley last season, decided to leave the Trojans for a chance to be the starter at an FCS program.

Corp grew up and played high school football in Orange County, Calif., so his decision to cross the country to come Richmond came as a surprise to many. But, after visiting campus, Corp decided he did not need to look any further.

"I kind of initiated it," Corp said. "I took a visit out here with my mom and we met with coach [Scott] and it just seemed right. ... Once I came here, it was kind of love at first sight I guess."

During 2009 spring practice, Corp had been named the starter for USC, but suffered a knee injury during pre-season that opened the door for Barkley to win the starting job. Corp started one game for the Trojans during 2009, a 16-13 loss against the University of Washington.

"I think, just looking at the positive, now is a brand-new opportunity," Corp said. "Last year was a little rough but I'm really excited to be here and I can't wait to get started."

Before Corp's arrival, many assumed that redshirt freshman John Laub would take over as the starter during the 2010 season. Now, Laub and Corp will compete during the spring to see who earns the start during the season opener against U.Va., and against Elon University during the inaugural game at E. Claiborne Robins Stadium.

Laub played during five games for the Spiders during 2009 and passed for 122 yards on 18 attempts. He also rushed for a touchdown against Georgetown University.

"John [Laub] welcomes the challenge," Scott said. "John's a competitive young man and John's not just going to go away because we brought another quarterback in, and it will be a competition in the spring."

The Spiders will begin spring practice during the third week of March, but one other important date sits between now and then.

National Signing Day for incoming freshmen occurs on Feb. 3. Richmond had more than a dozen verbal commitments while London was head coach, and Scott's ability to maintain the commitments will be the first test of his recruiting ability as a head coach.

Contact staff writer Reilly Moore at reilly.moore@richmond.edu

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