When Aaron Corp transferred to the University of Richmond in January, he guaranteed himself loads of media attention and a chance at a fresh start, but not a starting job. Now, he has that too.
Corp, a transfer from the University of Southern California, and sophomore John Laub, the Spiders' back-up last season, competed all spring and throughout most of training camp for the starting spot. On Tuesday, head coach Latrell Scott announced that Corp would start the season opener against the University of Virginia on Sept. 4.
"It was a tremendous competition, with both Aaron and John Laub playing extremely well in preseason camp," Scott said. "But we have made the decision that Aaron will start the season opener."
Though Corp's Division I-A pedigree caused much excitement, Scott told him he would have to earn the role of starter.
"From the first time I was in Coach Scott's office, he told me there were no guarantees," said Corp, who started one game for USC last season.
Both quarterbacks split reps with the first team offense during spring practice and training camp, with neither developing a noticeable lead in the battle for the starting job as recently as last week, Scott said.
Quarterback controversy is new for the team, as former Spider quarterback Eric Ward started every game during the past three seasons and holds every major career passing record for Richmond. He led the Spiders to a 41-12 record during four seasons.
Laub's season will start in a backup role as it did last season, but even with Corp named the starter for the opener, the two quarterbacks could both see playing time this season.
"It's tough to tell the difference between the two," Scott said. "If you close your eyes and you didn't know who was in the huddle, just based on production a lot of times you wouldn't know who was who."
Although both quarterbacks described the battle for the starting job as healthy competition, Corp said both players knew what was at stake.
"It's kinda love-hate," Corp said of his relationship with Laub. "We both want the same thing, but we're not mean towards each other or anything. It's just an understanding that we both want the same thing and there's only one spot."
Even though expectations were high for Corp coming from USC, he said he had tried to avoid the hype.
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"I don't see the expectations that other people place on me," Corp said. "I haven't watched the TV, I haven't read the newspaper or anything like that so just coming in and trying to play within myself is all I can do. ... My job is to help the team and help the team win."
Laub, who likely would have been named the starter in the spring had Corp stayed at USC, said he had thought the competition within the team, not just for quarterback, would pay off.
"We have a competition at a lot of positions right now so it's just going to bring out the best in people, which ultimately helps the team," he said.
Last week, Scott described the qualities he hoped his starter would show.
"We want to know who's going to run the show," he said. "Who's going to manage the team, who's going to move the chains and who's going to make the best decisions."
Though Scott indicated that both quarterbacks played on a comparable level, he felt a decision needed to be made quickly with Sept. 4 approaching.
"As you get closer to game time you want to have a guy where it's his team," Scott said. "It's his huddle, you want to make sure the offensive line know the nuances of his cadence and things of that sort."
Richmond's opener against former head coach Mike London's Cavaliers will mark Corp's second appearance against Virginia, as he saw limited action against UVa. as the back-up quarterback for USC. Corp's memories from that game?
"I just remember it was hot," Corp said.
Spider fans hope there will be better memories this time around.
Contact staff writer Reilly Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org
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