Friday, September 05, 2014

Fewer than 25 Questions about VMI...

The Keydet Football Team, 1895
Usually we do 25 questions about our opponent, but this is relatively difficult for VMI, about whom there is not as much information.  We will see what we get.

Body of Work:

They are a struggling program.  They have 2 wins in each of the last years.  Over the last 10 seasons, they are 21-90.  Their last winning season was 1981 and that was their last win over an FBS team.

In their first game, they lost a close contest to Bucknell, which was picked to finish 4th in the Patriot League.  VMI is picked to finish last in the Southern Conference.

They returned 6 players on offense and 7 on defense from last year's team.

Their top returning RB, Derek Ziglar, did not play in the first game due to a high ankle sprain.  I can't find any word about whether he is expected to play Saturday.  They also played without their leading returning WR, Sam Patterson.

Even with Ziglar last year, the Keydets were 114th out of 120 in the FCS in rushing offense.  They were 103rd overall in scoring offense.

They started a R-FR QB named Al Cobb and he had a good enough game to be named the conference Freshman of the Year.  He threw for 4 TDs and ran for one and had 308 yards passing.

Their fill-in RB, Deon Watts, had 98 yards on 22 carries.

They do have some size across the offensive from.  L-R, they go 310, 325, 285, 325, 325.

Stonewall Jackson--
Formerly on the Faculty, students
called him "Tom Fool"
On defense, they gave up almost 8 yards a rush to Bucknell, who also passed for 230 yards on 25 attempts.  Last year's defense was 103rd in scoring and total defense.

Special teams, wise, their PK, Dillon Christopher, hit 56% of his FGs last year and then made his only one--34 yards--against Bucknell.  He had a 52 yarder last year.  Their punting game is soft.  They are using a new punter, and he averaged only 29 yards a punt and a 13 yard net.  He did put 2  of his 4 punts inside the 20.

They defended kickoffs well, but allowed a 62 yard TD return with 13 minutes left in a game that was tied at the time.

Their coach is (I swear to God) Sparky Woods.  Sparky was a head coach at Appalachian State and South Carolina, lasting at the latter job for 5 years with a 6-win ceiling.  He then served as an assistant at Memphis, Virginia, Mississippi State, and Alabama.  He then came to VMI, where he is in his 7th season.  In 16 seasons as a head coach, 78-98-5.

Intangibly, there are a lot of question marks for BG.  It has been a very long six days for the orange and brown.  You produce a "unrecognizable" defense performance and get smoked at WKU, and then you lose your starting QB and starting DE in the next few days.

In that sense, this is just what the doctor ordered--a soft landing.  Look, either VMI has gotten a lot better since last year, or they just aren't a good team even at the FCS level.  The team will get an opportunity to stretch its legs and get the new guys introduced at the right level.  Two Big 10 teams follow, so things get less soft pretty quick, but let's be honest...I'm glad we're not heading into Camp Randall tomorrow.

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