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 … VMI.
The Southern Conference (9th in SoCon)
COACH: Scott Wachenheim – 4th year (5-28 record)
2017 OFFENSE: 8.0 ppg (123rd in FCS)
2017 DEFENSE: 37.1 ppg (115th in FCS)
SUM IT UP: Let's not mince words here, folks: VMI has had a tough go of it for awhile. It has been 15 years since it posted back to back 6-6 seasons, and it has been since the early 1980s that the program has posted a winning season. Having a brutally tough conference this year doesn't make anything easier. There is no obvious win on the SoCon schedule for the Keydets — but upsets can happen. One last thing to keep in mind with a school like VMI: These young men face mega challenges beyond just lifting weights and listening to their coaches and winning football games. They face the usual challenges in the academic realm, but a third pressure most college students don't face — a rigorous schedule that fills every day, beyond just the classroom and the field. Players at The Citadel and the military academies know what those trials are. While VMI may not pile up the wins on the gridiron like some schools, the graduates are far from failures. These guys get "it" when it comes to leadership and discipline. There's my soapbox talk.
BEST-CASE SCENARIO: The goal for now is to break the 17-game losing streak the Keydets are on currently, and that should happen this year with 14 starters back in the lineup. One has to think VMI's program saw what happened at Austin Peay last year and would love to replicate that story, but at the very least the streak should come to an end this year. The last wins for the program came in 2016 against ETSU and an overtime victory over Bucknell.
TOP RETURNEE: DB Kaleb Tucker (54 tackles)
THE NEXT BEST: DB A.J. Smith (48 tackles); QB Reece Udinski (432 yards passing, 4 TDs); WR Kris Thornton (33 receptions, 340 yards, 2 TDs); DL Zach Baker (4 TFL, 30 tackles); OL Cole Brummit (started all 11 games at left tackled – 669 total snaps).
TOP NEWCOMER: QB Syour Fludd (4-year starter in HS, throwing for nearly 8,000 yards and 74 touchdowns, while rushing for another 1,300 and 9 scores)
DID YOU KNOW?: VMI has winning records or .500 records all-time against the following schools?: N.C. State (11-7-1), Clemson (5-5-2), South Carolina (1-1-0) and Tennessee (1-0-0). It also has beaten Florida State, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Maryland, Ole Miss, North Carolina, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest in its school history. How many FCS programs can say that?
THE QUOTE: "I wanted the defense to run to the football and I thought they really did that today. The offense executed for a good part of the scrimmage. We do have some things to iron out in the penalty areas on both sides of the ball which we continue to work on. I wanted to be precise in the kicking game and we were – the snaps were good and the get-off times on the punts, and it was good to get the substitutions patterns in the kicking game some work. Going 50 plays in the scrimmage and coming out healthy were two huge pluses." — coach Scott Wachenheim said after spring ball
SOCIAL MEDIA SPOTLIGHT
THE HASHTAG: #WeAreVMI
FOOTBALL TWITTER: @VMI_Football
— VMI Football (@VMI_Football) June 6, 2018
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