ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond football team welcomed Cheraw (S.C.) and Fairmont to its practice field for a multi-team 7-on-7 early Tuesday morning, which gave quarterbacks coach Jay Jones another chance to watch Caleb Hood and Noah Altman put their arms to test against a couple of live defenses — minus the big guys up front.
Hood, a rising sophomore and the team’s starting quarterback, “has had a good spring” and an even better start to the summer. Altman, a rising junior, continues to improve his game as he heads into his debut season on varsity.
“Really, in my opinion, we’ve got two potential college quarterbacks here at one school, and that doesn’t happen,” Jones said. “At a lot of schools, there’s not one potential college quarterback, so we’re fortunate.”
The Raiders’ offense started Tuesday’s session with 10-play drives — on one half of the field — against Fairmont and Cheraw, respectively, before switching to five-play drives that started at the 20-yard line. While that was happening, their defensive unit was on the other side of the field trying to keep the opposing teams’ offenses from reaching the end zone.
They would end the day with back-to-back 12-minute scrimmages against the Braves and the Golden Tornadoes, which brought “a little more competitiveness” to the summer outing.
“Coach (Greg) Williams did a tremendous job of organizing this. He had everything set up, already having the cones and everything out, and Coach (Brad) Denson came out here and painted the lines,” head coach Bryan Till said. “Hats off to our coaching staff for being able to give us a good bit of reps out here. I thought it worked really well.”
Hood threw a touchdown pass in each of the four drives prior to the scrimmages: finding rising senior Jordyn Wall twice and once connecting with rising junior Justin Morman and rising senior Bobby Terry, a 2016 all-conference selection.
In the scrimmage with Cheraw, however, Hood threw an interception — looking for the deep ball — on the first play. After the Richmond defense held the Braves to just four plays, he would trot back on the field and answer with a touchdown pass to rising senior Preston Coker, which was the team’s only score during the 12-minute span.
“We’ve been able to beat some guys over the top in the early summer 7-on-7s and he’s starting to get where he wants to take those shots no matter what, and it gets him in trouble sometimes,” Jones said of Hood. “The thing I told him today was to get back to doing what he does, take his progressions as they come and take what the defense gives you.
“And when he did that, the one time on the shallow route, Preston catches it and rolls for a touchdown,” he added. “That’s what he needs to do. H
During the battle with Fairmont, another one of Hood’s passes ended up being picked off following a deflection in the middle of the field. Once again, though, after the Raiders got a stop on defense, Hood put the mistake behind him and found the end zone — this time connecting with rising senior Malik Stanback on a go route.
“The interceptions don’t faze them. It fazes me — it hurts my heart, I can’t stand it — but it doesn’t faze them,” Jones said. “They’re always going to forget it and move on to the next play. Both of those guys are confident, resilient kids.”
Altman got his reps in during the split-field drives, and like Hood, proved that he can bounce back from a pair of misreads from the pocket. The rising junior had already tossed two touchdown passes to Morman before ending the drive against Fairmont with an interception and then throwing another one to kick off the second possesion versus Cheraw.
Altman gathered himself afterwards, found rising sophomore Tremel Jones as he made his way to sideline, and then recorded his third and final touchdown pass of the day on a well-placed ball down the middle.
“Noah’s progressing well. He’s kind of where Caleb was (at this point) last year, where he’s seeing what to do but he’s not trusting himself enought to go ahead and (make the throw),” Jones said. “The picks he had down here, he knew where to go with the ball … but he waited and the linebacker stepped in front of it.”
Both playcallers, Jones says, will stay after practice — and the leadership council meeting — on Wednesday and go over the film from Tuesday’s competition to see what things they did well and what things they can improve on.
“It’s easy to coach when they are students of the game and they want to get better,” Jones said.
Richmond will host another 7-on-7 on Thursday, starting at 10 a.m., with Cheraw, again, and Marlboro County (S.C.).
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. by phone at 910-817-2673 or by email at [email protected] For stories, scores and updates, follow the Daily Journal’s sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.