ETTRICK, Va — For the first time in a decade, Virginia State had someone new on the sideline overseeing its Orange and Blue spring game.
Latrell Scott, an former All-American tight end at Hampton who replaced Andrew Faison in January, made his official, unofficial debut Saturday as the head man for the Trojans. Scott’s last head coaching stint was with the Richmond Spiders in 2010, where he resigned after one season following a DWI arrest.
“Our goal coming into the spring was to make sure we were better at the end than we were at the beginning,” Scott said after the game Saturday. “The kids have bought into our program, they’ve done things the right way and they’ve gotten better.
“We’re not nearly where we need to be, but we’re taking some steps in the positive direction.”
VSU, which finished 4-6 overall and 3-4 in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 2012, came into the spring with an entirely new coaching staff and aims to solidify the quarterback spot left by three-year starter Jared Battle. Lamonta Green, who overtook Battle early on last season as the starter before a broken tibia on Sept. 22 sidelined him for the rest of the season, took the snaps for the entire scrimmage.
Green, a senior from Compton, completed 26 of his 43 pass attempts and threw two touchdowns.
“He (Green) made some throws today, he did some things very well but he’ll have to make better decisions down the stretch for us to be successful in this league,” Scott said.
In a league dominated by Connell Maynor’s Winston-Salem State offense and its 40.2 points per game average last season, a sound defense will seemingly be critical for every team’s success. Was Scott pleased after his defense won 47-33 over the offense Saturday?
“Not really,” Scott answered when asked if the final score is indicative of where his defense is at. “There were some great plays by the defense but I think we’re right where we need to be.”
Despite Scott saying that the Trojans are still finding their character, his imprint on the program is undeniable. Junior punter Alejandro Diasgranados tweeted, “He’s a great coach and is what Virginia State needed to move into the right direction.”
Sophomore running back Lamont Britt tweeted, “I like him. He’s about business,” and sophomore wide receiver Ja’von Smallwood called him the “best coach I ever had.”
Virginia State opens its season on the road against Fayetteville State on Sept. 7.
Chris Harris is a sports journalist based in Richmond, VA.