The Collegian
Thursday, May 19, 2022

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A career of coaches only causing doubt to outsiders

First, there was Dave Clawson. Then, when Clawson left before the 2008 season to coach at the University of Tennessee, in came Mike London who helped lead the University of Richmond to its first football National Championship in 2008.

After a successful 2009 season, London left for the head coaching job at the University of Virginia and in stepped Latrell Scott, just 34 years old at the time. Finally, when Scott resigned last week after being arrested on a second charge of DWI in five to ten years, in came offensive coordinator Wayne Lineburg to fill in as interim coach for the 2011 season.

Redshirt senior wide receiver Tre Gray has been a Spider for all four of those coaches. Coaching changes have become the norm for him.

So when Gray learned about Scott's stunning resignation, he was the perfect player to address the team.

"I told them in our team meeting, 'I've had four head coaches, I've had four different offensive coordinators and I've had five different position coaches since I've been here and we've still been able to win championships," Gray said. "So just take what it is and move on."

What makes this latest change more challenging is the timing of it. Scott resigned just 10 days before Saturday's season opener at Duke University, leaving Lineburg - a first time head coach - with minimal time to get adjusted to being the man ultimately responsible for the team's performance.

Despite the limited acclimation period, Lineburg said that he was getting comfortable with his new job.

"It's set in a bit more, adapting to the role of head coach," Lineburg said at his weekly Wednesday press conference. "Like I said last week, we have a great staff here and they help quite a bit with coach Trott on defense and coach [Dave] Legg on special teams and the offensive staff we have here to help ease the burden of the transition we are going through."

Also helping out Lineburg in his transition is the adversity the team has faced the past few years. It started in December 2009 when London left the school less than 24 hours after a heart-breaking loss to Appalachian State University in the playoffs.

Then in Scott's first season, injuries took their toll on the team and forced backups to play significant roles on a team that went 6-5 for the year and almost missed the playoffs for the first time since 2006.

The resignation of Scott is just the latest potential distraction. But Gray said that it wouldn't affect the team Saturday.

"Experience is the best teacher of it all," Gray said. "We had a lot of adversity last year, so this is just another hump that we have to get over."

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Lineburg has noticed the seniors on the team stepping up and taking on a leadership role and helping to get the rest of the team ready for the Blue Devils.

"It's been tough on those guys, there's no doubt about it," Lineburg said. "I can't sugar coat that it's been tough on them but they've done a tremendous job on focusing and, at the end of the day ... they just want to win."

With all the off-the-field distractions that have been going on the past week, the players are looking forward to getting out on the field and playing a real game of football, redshirt junior linebacker Darius McMillan said.

And when the Spiders take the field for the first time this year at Wallace Wade Stadium at 7 p.m. Saturday, there will be no thoughts of having a new coach for the fourth time in five years.

"Coach Lineburg pretty much took the role in stride," Gray said. "It's something you can't dwell on, it's something you have to accept and go with the flow."

This version corrects where Clawson went after Richmond.

Contact staff writer Andrew Prezioso at andrew.prezioso@richmond.edu

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