VMI holds first scrimmage of 2015 preseason football camp

vmi_logo2VMI held its first extended scrimmage of football preseason camp Saturday with the defense having the upper hand throughout the morning workout at Foster Stadium.

“I was very pleased with the way the defense flew around creating turnovers and penetrated the line of scrimmage,” said head coach Scott Wachenheim.  “It’s normal this time of year in training camp for the defense to be slightly ahead of the offense. On offense we had to hold a few players out of the scrimmage with minor injuries and I thought the defense stepped up and played very well. I’m very proud of the way they played.”

The ground game was shouldered mostly by true freshman running backs with Chris Gavin (Westminster, Md.) leading all ground gainers with 43 yards on nine carries. Quan Myers (Altavista, Va.) added eight carries for 21 yards.

“One goal of our scrimmage offensively was to evaluate our freshman running backs,” said Wachenheim. “We wanted to see what Chris Gavin and Quan Myers could do. We’ll take a good look at the film when it comes in. Just making judgments as to who is ready to play against Ball State for the freshmen. This was the first time they were in Foster Stadium – first time we were practicing on grass. And it was the first time they were in a stadium that was a little bigger. We wanted to see who could step up and play and we’ll get a good evaluation on this tape. “

The defense turned in big plays all morning with sophomore outside linebacker Tony Richardson racking up three tackles for loss including a sack for three yards. Freshman defensive end Jarrod Richmond also added a sack and a tackle for loss for three yards. Redshirt junior outside linebacker Brad Lipscomb and freshman defensive lineman Casey Phillips each recovered fumbles and redshirt sophomore  Amon-Ra Clay forced a fumble. Freshman linebacker Arnold Roots stepped in front of a screen pass early in the scrimmage and returned it 14 yards for a touchdown.

“Tony Richardson has had a great camp – he really worked hard all summer, said Wachenheim. “ I’m very impressed with him. Jarrod Richmond is a great young freshman from Southwest Virginia – full of talent and it will be interesting to see on the film to see how well he did and the great plays he made on his own versus maybe a young freshman offensive lineman not doing a right assignment.”

Redshirt sophomore Al Cobb completed eight of 16 passes for 73 yards to lead the quarterbacks. Redshirt junior quarterback Hayden Alford connected on a nine-yard TD strike to redshirt junior wideout Darrian Johnson on a slant route to the end zone and Myers also scored on a one-yard TD run. Both scores came in red zone short yardage drive scenarios.

Alford boomed a 52-yard punt early in the scrimmage and junior kicker Dillon Christopher converted a 24-yard angle shot field goal and was good on both extra point attempts.

“The special teams play is coming along great,” indicated Wachenheim.  “We actually did live work yesterday and the day before so today we just wanted to make sure we could substitute 11 on and off, so we didn’t do any live work today. Next Saturday, we’ll probably get a little live work on those. We’re progressing very well special teams and I like we are.”

With week two of practice well underway, Wachenheim said specifics will dictate the tone of practice in the coming week as the Keydets prepare for the September 3 opener at Ball State.

“We have everything in offensively and defensively and we’ve done all the situational football. What we haven’t done enough of is actually game situations and it showed today with some substitution infractions and people not getting the signal the first time. So the focus now next week is to do more game type ‘who is in and who is out’ – situations where coaches are calling the plays and have to make decisions. We have to communicate who we’re substituting and we have to play the play itself not knowing the situation with a script ahead of time.”

– Source: VMI Athletics



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