#21 Richmond FCS Football 2015 Preview

George Hammond

Richmond Spiders

Overall Rank: #21
#5 CAA

Richmond Team Page#21 Richmond FCS Football 2015 PreviewBuy Richmond Football Tickets

The Spiders earned a FCS playoff berth for the first time since 2009 last season when they went 9-5 overall and 5-3 in the always competitive Colonial Athletic Association. Richmond defeated Morgan State 46-24 in the first round before losing to Coastal Carolina 36-15 in round two. The nine victories also was the school’s most since the 2009 campaign. Despite the loss of 23 seniors from last year, the Spiders expect to have a talented team. But it won’t be easy in the CAA. Consider Richmond’s ranking: It is No. 21 in the CSM preseason poll yet only No. 5 in the CAA. Only the Missouri Valley Football Conference has as many teams ranked in the top 20.

2014 Record: 9-5, 5-3
2014 Postseason: FCS playoff quarterfinals
Coach: Danny Rocco (23-14 at Richmond and 70-34 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Charlie Fisher
Defensive Coordinator: Bob Trott

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Seth Fisher, RB, 777 yards
Passing: None
Receiving: Reggie Diggs, WR, 1,157 yards
Tackles: Omar Howard, LB, 92
Sacks: Winston Craig, DL, 3
Interceptions: Ayotunde Ogunniyi, DB, 3

Other Key Returnees: QB David Broadus, WR Brian Brown, PK Peter Yoder, RB Jacobi Green, DB David Jones, OL Nick Richter, OL Caleb High, OL Nicholas Vergos, DB Dominique Miller.

Key Losses: QB Michael Strauss, QB Michael Rocco, DL Justin Williamson, DL Evan Kelly, DL Eric Wright, TE Hunter Westfall, OL Austin Gund, .

The running game should be solid as Richmond might go from being an air attack team to a ground attack team. Running back Seth Fisher (6-2, 232 pounds), a preseason all-CAA selection, led the team in rushing last year and is complemented by running back Jacobi Green (634 yards). While the offensive line did take a graduation hit, there are several players who have seen lots of action: Nick Richter, Caleb High and Nicholas Vergos come to mind. Meanwhile, the receiving corps might be the strongest part of the team with Brian Brown and Reggie Diggs, both all-CAA preseason selections. Diggs led the team with 85 receptions last year and Brown had 1,089 yards on 79 receptions. The placekicking is in the capable hands of Peter Yoder, who set a single-season school record last year with 19 field goals.

Now the bad news. Diggs and Brown might give the Spiders once of the best receiving corps in the nation, but can anyone get them the ball? Michael Strauss and Michael Rocco combined for more than 4,000 yards. It appears redshirt sophomore Kyle Lauletta will get the starting nod at quarterback. He redshirted last year and played just a few snaps in 2013, hence the reason Richmond might focus on the ground game until Lauletta gets established. The defensive line was decimated, too, as the Spiders return only four starters on defense.

The Bottom Line:
In all honesty, with the amount of seniors gone and the inexperience at quarterback, Richmond might be getting a little higher ranking than maybe it should. But the players that are back: Fisher, Diggs, Brown, defensive back Ayo Ogunniyi are outstanding players to form a team around. The schedule helps, too, at least early on. Richmond opens with a tough one at Maryland, but then faces Hampton, VMI, Maine, Elon and Rhode Island. Those are winnable games with the possible exception of Maine. But say, the Spiders are 5-1, that would give them momentum heading into a brutal second half that reads: JMU, Albany, New Hampshire, Villanova and William & Mary. So, in reality, Richmond must be 5-1 to have a shot at doing anything the second half of the season.

Projected Postseason: FCS Playoffs

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 147.1 (79rd in nation, 8th in conference)
Passing Offense: 313.8 (8, 1)
Total Offense: 460.9 (20, 3)
Scoring Offense: 31.1 (41, 4)  
Rushing Defense: 143.2 (33, 3)
Pass Defense: 209.1 (51, 6)
Total Defense: 352.3 (33, 3)
Scoring Defense: 25.4 (49, 7)
Turnover Margin: -1.00 (112, 10)
Sacks: 1.71 (78, 10)
Sacks Allowed: 1.00 (11, 1)

Madness 2015 Recruit Rankings:
#44 Kevin Johnson
#139 Micah Keels


See All FCS Football Top 44 Previews