UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND, Va. – Watching his teammates battle through an FCS playoff game from his own couch was all the motivation that rising senior Brandon Waller needed entering his final season with the University of Richmond football team.
Waller, who was on his way to a career year last fall before suffering a broken jaw against JMU, finds himself as the veteran on a new look defensive line that will rely on speed and athleticism in the Spiders’ new 4-2-5 scheme this upcoming fall.
“I’m really excited about the new defense. We’re going to be playing really aggressively and I think we’re really tailoring the defense to the personnel we have right now,” Waller said. “With Winston and Joe gone, we don’t have as many big defensive line guys, so we’re really working with speed and athleticism. For me, it’s going to allow me to really utilize my strengths.”
Along with Waller, the Spiders return Andrew Clyde, Chad Wiggins, DeAnthony Muse, Will Ingle, Will Ingle, Colby Ritten and Darius Reynolds. Cody Gray and Andre Booker are battling injuries this spring.
“For me, it’s important to lead this group of guys, especially during a coaching change,” Waller said. “This new staff is excited to coach us and we’re excited about the season. We believe that we have a really talented roster and we think we can do some special things.”
Faces In New Places: A few Spiders are testing new positions this spring with former defensive lineman Kolby Williams working with the offensive line now, Trey Moore (wearing #27 in practice) moving up front to the defensive line and former WR Gershom Ejoni sticking to the defensive line, where he moved in the final few weeks of the 2016 season.
Working Their Way Back: With nearly 20 season-ending injuries last fall for the Spiders, there are plenty of guys working their way back to full strength.
All-CAA QB Kyle Lauletta, RBs Xavier Goodall and Gordon Collins, DB Jarriell Jordan, LB Paul Padalino and TE Stephen Jacob are all without pads this spring, working to learn the new systems and schemes from the sidelines, while rehabbing with the Spiders’ athletic training staff.
Jordan is working on most of the drills, however, is not competing in full contact drills yet.