UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND, Va. - The Richmond Spiders football team continued with training camp Wednesday morning, donning pads for the first time. The spirited, two-hour practice at Robins Stadium was just the start for the Spiders, as the rest of the day included team and positional meetings.
This season, all practices during training camp are open to the public. With practices being held at both Robins Stadium and the Grass Practice Fields on River Road, fans attending practice are asked to remain in the bleachers. In Robins Stadium, fans are asked to sit in the stands on the west side of the stadium.
During 7-on-7 drills on Wednesday, the defense stood out, swarming to the ball and limiting the offensive unit. Highlighting the effort was sophomore Aaron Roane, who made a great interception while falling down.
Offensively, QB Michael Strauss had one of his best throws of camp, connecting with TE Hunter Westfall for a 20-yard gain down the left sideline. The catch was one of three for Westfall during the drills, as the 6-6 redshirt-sophomore made two more snags in traffic down the middle of the field.
After the 7-on-7 drills, the Spiders brought the complete offensive and defensive units together. Again, the defense stood out, with the secondary making several nice plays. DB DeShawn Holmes made a couple of nice plays, while LB Darius McMillan seemed to be in nearly every tackle while on the field.
The best play for the offense came near the end of practice when QB John Laub was forced out of the pocket. Rolling to his right, Laub looked for an open receiver. Recognizing the roll out, WR Rashad Ponder broke off his route, breaking towards Laub. Ponder's heads-up play resulted in a nice, 17-yard reception.
The Spiders will be back on the practice field in pads on Thursday morning, with practice scheduled for 9:45-11:45 a.m. at Robins Stadium.
Post Practice Quotes
"The first day of pads was good. You got to see a little bit more pop between the offensive and defensive lines. It brings a little bit more excitement to things as far as hitting people for the first time since spring ball. This is our third practice now and we keep on improving, so we just need to get back to the film, watch it, make the corrections and keep on going forward."
-- Senior QB John Laub
"Practice was a little up and down today. Some good spots
and some low spots, but I'm confident we'll come out and fix it all up
tomorrow. It felt good having the pads on and hitting people. The first two
days are still aggressive, but without pads on, you really can't hit people.
Everybody was saying in the locker room that they could tell the difference
with pads on because you just get a little more winded. They might be in great
regular shape, but football shape is different. But I'm confident we'll all
find our right shape and get it right."
--Senior FB Kendall Gaskins