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VMI Football: Big plays highlight first scrimmage

vmi footballRedshirt junior running back Alex Ramsey ripped off a 67-yard scoring run on the third play from scrimmage and sophomore quarterback Chance Newman added a touchdown strike to freshman wideout Leroy Thomas to highlight VMI Football’s first preseason scrimmage Saturday morning at Foster Stadium.

The Keydets conducted the 90-play scrimmage that took just over an hour under beautiful weather conditions.

“I was really happy with the energy, the defense was really enthusiastic and I was happy with the way we ran to the football,” said head coach Scott Wachenheim. “We had big plays on both sides of the ball. We’re trying to get more proactive on defense and create more opportunities. Overall, a good day. We’ve got some things to clean up but that’s why we get out here.”

Ramsey, who is VMI’s leading returning rusher from 2018, opened the scrimmage with rushes of five and two yards before taking a handoff, cutting left, and racing down the sideline for the first touchdown of the day.

“Alex has had a great training camp,” added Wachenheim. “He’s been a downhill runner and has hit the holes hard. It’s great to see guys take it to the end zone.”

The defensive units recovered and were able to hold the upper hand throughout the midway point of the scrimmage keyed by a interception return  of 27 yards by redshirt freshman defensive back Tim Smith to the one-yard line.

The Newman-Thomas TD pass play covered 66 yards and Newman later added a 12-yard touch pass to freshman wide receiver Jack Caussin to convert a red zone opportunity.

The reserve quarterbacks handled most of the snaps as starter Reece Udinski saw action on two early possessions. Newman finished the morning completing six of 12 passes for 154 yards and the two touchdowns. Freshmen QBs Seth Morgan and Nick McCarthy also took snaps.

“We held out some of the guys from a lot of work – Reece (Udinski), Javeon Lara, Rohan Martin, A.J. Martin – they’ve got a lot of game experience. We got to see Chance Newman work with the first unit and Seth Morgan worked with the second team offense and Nick McCarthy got some work. That was good from an offensive stand point.”

Caussin led all receivers with five catches for 101 yards and a touchdown while redshirt junior running back Tyain Smith gained 36 yards on seven carries.

Defensively, sophomore outside linebacker Ethan Caselberry intercepted a pass to halt a drive at near midfield.

The kicking game excelled converting three of four field goal attempts. Redshirt freshman Camden Murphy connected on attempts of 28 and 26 yards while senior Grant Clemons ended the scrimmage by knocking through a 52-yard attempt.

“Grant has come on strong,” said Wachenheim. “I had a lot of confidence he would go out there and make it. He didn’t overkick it and he pulled out the three-wood and put it through the pipes. He came to this training camp having prepared.”

VMI resumes camp practices Monday August 12 at 9:15 am and will conduct another scrimmage at Foster Stadium 9:30 a.m. on Friday, August 16.