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Saturday, May 28, 2022

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Defense dominates early during Spiders scrimmage

The small group of fans that gathered around the Lower Grass Practice Field to watch the University of Richmond's football team's final open-to-the-public scrimmage saw a familiar sight: The Spider defense exerting its dominance.

The defense dressed in white practice jerseys, while the offense sported red ones. The white team racked up five sacks and three recovered fumbles during the action that lasted just over an hour once play began.

"I think the defense played extremely well today for the whole day," coach Latrell Scott said. "The offense matched the intensity late in the scrimmage."

The offense began the day with 10 straight rushing plays. Of the 10, only a run by junior fullback Kendall Gaskins, gained more than a couple yards.

When the passing plays did start coming, all eyes were on first- and second-team quarterbacks Aaron Corp and John Laub. Both had some success late in the scrimmage, with the biggest play coming on a deep catch over the middle from Corp to redshirt freshman Stephen Barnette towards the end of play.

"Under the circumstances, [Corp and Laub] both played well," Scott said. "I don't think that Aaron had the time to do all the things he's done all camp and I'm excited about both our quartebacks. Corp is our starter; he's our guy going in, but John Laub, we'll have some packages for him and he'll be able to do things for us as well."

On defense, junior safety Cooper Taylor, recent transfer from Georgia Institute of Technology, showed some flashes of why the coaches were so so excited about his arrival. On one of the first series, Taylor met Gaskins in the backfield just he took the ball from Corp's hands and dropped him for a five-yard loss. One play later, Taylor broke up a deep pass play by jarring the ball loose from the receiver's hands with a big hit.

Despite a few big hits from the defense, no obvious injuries were sustained during play.

"We came out of thing healthy," Scott said. "First and foremost, we wanted to make sure we finished this training camp healthy and we've improved from where we were at this point last year."

The Spiders are now less than two weeks away from their first game, where they will travel to Durham, North Carolina to face Atlantic Coastal Conference opponent Duke University. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. on September 3.

"I don't think we're good enough at any position to say that we don't have room for improvement," Scott said, "so I think offense, defense, [and] special teams all gotta continue to improve for a chance to compete against Duke."

Contact staff writer David Weissman at david.weissman@richmond.edu

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