New coach inherits many questionmarks at Richmond

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RICHMOND, VA. (AP) - When he was hired as Richmond’s football coach last winter, Latrell Scott inherited a program two years removed from winning its first national championship, and one that has made deep runs into the FCS playoffs a matter of routine.

But in becoming one of the youngest head coaches in Division I football, the 35-year-old Scott also took over a team that had just said goodbye to 15 senior starters, including a four-year starting quarterback and four of its offensive linemen. And it still plays in the Colonial Athletic Association, which has become the pre-eminent league in FCS football.

Villanova last year became the CAA’s fourth different national champ in seven years.

“It shows you what the CAA is all about,” Scott said.

Thankfully for the first-time head coach, help was on the way.

Aaron Corp, once penciled in as the starting quarterback at Southern California, arrived as a transfer, as did Richard Muldrow, a 6-foot-8, 300-pound offensive lineman from Rutgers.

The school also will open its $25 million, on-campus stadium this season, and perhaps as importantly, was picked by the CAA’s coaches and media to finish just sixth in the league.

Not much respect for a defending regular-season league champion.

“It’s been placed in a few places around the building,” Scott said of the prediction. “I’m not sure how it got there, but it’s a tool, something that our kids have to focus on. We don’t want to be the sixth-best team in anything we do, be it the conference or the country.”

The players also enjoy being doubted in spite of their recent success.

“I think the year we won the national championship, every game in the playoffs we were the underdog,” returning All-CAA center Drew Lachenmayer said as camp began. “It’s always that little bit of an extra chip you have going into the week when people are doubting you.”

And it’s not like the cupboard is bare. Not even close.

Six of the seven returning starters were named to the CAA’s preseason all-league team, including wide receivers Kevin Grayson (48 catches, 545 yards, 2 TDs) and Tre Gray (51, 713, 4), giving Corp two targets adept at stretching a defense. Also picked was fullback Kendall Gaskins (6 TDs), whose blocking will be key as the new offensive line works to protect.

On defense, lineman Martin Parker led the Spiders with 6 1/2 sacks last year, and linebacker Eric McBride and cornerback Justin Rogers are three-time all conference first-team choices.

In their careers, they’ve been part of 35 wins and only eight losses, won the national championship in 2008 and advanced to the semifinals in the other two seasons.

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