HERO Sports welcomes you to "Two-a-Days", where we will preview every single one of the 125 FCS programs, with two being released each day from June 18 to August 18 (with the final day having three in one day). Today we give you … Richmond.
Richmond (6-5 IN 2017)
Colonial Athletic Association (UR was 6th in 2017)
COACH: Russ Huesman – 2nd year (6-5)
2017 OFFENSE: 30.9 ppg (27th in FCS)
2017 DEFENSE: 24.7 ppg (49th in FCS)
SUM IT UP: The Richmond Spiders will unquestionably be one of the most interesting teams to watch during the 2018 FCS season. One year removed from a 6-5 season that featured seven games decided by one score or less — including a dramatic, last-second loss at JMU and a double-overtime loss at Delaware — Richmond still has some pretty talented names headlining the top of the roster. However, none of them are Kyle Lauletta, UR's former quarterback who was drafted by the New York Giants in April. Lauletta's burgeoning talent carried a lot of water for the Spiders in 2017; with presumed starter Kevin Johnson now stepping in to take the reigns of the offense, just how good will Richmond be? The defense should be quite capable, but a shaky offensive line could keep UR out of the playoffs for a second straight season.
Either way, Lauletta's shadow looms large. How the Spiders restructure this post-Lauletta team will go a long way in determining whether Richmond belongs with the playoff contenders picked above them at CAA Media Day. If not, UR could just be the best of the rest.
BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Richmond returns to the FCS Playoffs in spectacular fashion, with wins against a slew of big-name teams padding the resume. The Spiders' schedule is front-loaded, with games against Virginia, Delaware and archrival James Madison all in the first six weeks. When considering what the rest of Richmond's schedule looks like, just one win out of those three games could put UR in a good position to return to earn a playoff berth, while winning two or three would likely vault Richmond into the Top 8 in the polls.
TOP RETURNEE: DL Andrew Clyde (All-American, 39 Career Starts).
THE NEXT FIVE: LB Justin Rubin (Third-Team All-CAA, Leading Tackler); WR Dejon Brissett (First-Team All-CAA, Top 5 in CAA in Receiving Yards Per Game & Receptions Per Game); OL John Yarbrough (17 Career Starts); DB Daniel Jones (68 Tackles, 5 PBU's, 4 INT's, 2 BLK's); QB Kevin Johnson (Three Starts in '16 FCS Playoffs).
TOP NEWCOMER: RB Milan Howard (All-State RB from Charlotte, NC).
DID YOU KNOW?: The University of Richmond hosted the first-ever Town Hall-style Presidential Debate in 1992, featuring incumbent President George H. W. Bush and challengers Bill Clinton and Ross Perot.
THE QUOTE: "During the week of the Senior Bowl… I thought [Kyle Lauletta] was the most consistent quarterback in terms of his accuracy and decision-making throughout the entire week of practice. I flew home on Friday as most scouts do and then watched the game on TV Saturday and he obviously was MVP of the game. From that point on, it became 'Alright, now I've got to go back and really dig' and I wound up watching every throw he made this past year." -ESPN Analyst and former UR Quarterback Todd McShay, on former UR quarterback and 2018 fourth-round draft pick Kyle Lauletta.
SOCIAL MEDIA SPOTLIGHT
THE HASHTAG: #OneRichmond
FOOTBALL TWITTER: @SpiderFootball
Former @SpiderFootball TE Garrett Hudson may have played just a few miles from @BonSecoursRVA , but this is his first time there. Hudson reflects on how @NFL training camp has been thus far with @Redskins . @SpiderAthletics @8NEWS #redskinsinrva pic.twitter.com/Nfr8u3zuiR
— Natalie Kalibat (@NatalieKalibat) July 28, 2018