#3 Richmond FCS Football 2016 Preview

Richmond Spiders
Overall Rank: #3
#1 CAA
Following an opening game loss to Maryland, Richmond reeled off seven wins in a row. Heading into November though, the Spiders looked vulnerable with road losses to New Hampshire and Villanova. However, a big win over William & Mary to close the season had Coach Danny Rocco’s side going in the right direction into the playoffs. After a bye in the first round, the Spiders again got the best of William & Mary in the second round. Then Richmond pulled off a pretty big upset, knocking off #2 seed Illinois State 39-27. In the semifinals, the Spiders had a shot at another upset, but lost to North Dakota State 33-7. Heading into 2016, this is a Richmond team that should be shooting for another semifinal appearance.
2015 Record: 10-4, 6-2
2015 Postseason: FCS Playoffs
Coach: Danny Rocco (33-18 at Richmond, 80-38 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: John Garrett
Defensive Coordinator: Chris Cosh
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: David Broadus, QB, 207 yards
Passing: Kyle Lauletta, QB, 3,598 yards
Receiving: Brian Brown, WR, 1,450 yards
Tackles: Omar Howard, LB, 136
Sacks: Andrew Clyde, DL, 6.0
Interceptions: David Jones, DB, 9
Other Key Returnees: RB Gordon Collins, OL Thomas Evans, OL Nick Vergos, DL Winston Craig, DB Jarriel Jordan
Key Losses: RB Jacobi Green, RB Seth Fisher, WR Reggie Diggs, OL Nick Ritcher, LB Trevor Jones, CB Ayo Ogunniyi, DB David Herlocker, K Peter Yoder
The Spiders boasted the best passing attack in the CAA last season and they should again in 2016. Kyle Lauletta threw for 3,598 yards and 19 touchdowns as a sophomore and his junior season should be even better. Lauletta certainly needs to boost his 61.6 percent completion percentage and reduce his 15 interceptions, but that year of experience will help. Having receiver Brian Brown back will help too. Brown caught 76 passes for 1,450 yards and six touchdowns. He averaged over 19 yards per reception and will again be one of the most dangerous deep threats in the country. Reggie Diggs, who caught 66 passes for 901 yards, is gone, but Porter Abell is ready to step up. The ground game needs to replace Seth Fisher and Jacobi Green, who rushed for 1,595 yards and 21 touchdowns, but new offensive coordinator John Garrett has a strong offensive line to build a running game behind.
The defense was a weak spot last season, ranking seventh in the CAA in total defense. With eight starters back though, there is plenty of room for higher expectations. The front line returns intact, but the team as a whole tallied a mere 16 sacks in 14 games. Andrew Clyde got 6.0 of those sacks and he needs help from the rest of the returning starters on the front four. At linebacker, Omar Howard is back after tallying a team high 136 tackles. He will be flanked by Selton Hodge, who recorded 41 tackles, but a replacement does need to be found for Trevor Jones. The biggest losses are in the secondary where David Herlocker and Ayo Ogunniyi need to be replaced. But building around David Jones and Jarriel Jordan is a great place to start. Jones, a senior safety, was second on the team with 97 tackles and picked off an amazing nine passes.
The Bottom Line:
With a defense that should be better and an offense with plenty of weapons, Richmond is again the team to beat in the CAA. Following a trip to Virginia to open the season, the Spiders should have a relatively easy go of things until November when they face off against James Madison, Delaware and William & Mary. That season finale trip against the Tribe could very well have CAA title implications.
Projected Postseason: FCS Playoffs
2015 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 190.9 (31st in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 260.9 (27, 1)
Total Offense: 451.9 (19, 2)
Scoring Offense: 33.0 (23, 2)
Rushing Defense: 156.6 (51, 7)
Pass Defense: 215.1 (65, 11)
Total Defense: 371.7 (51, 7)
Scoring Defense: 24.6 (51, 8)
Turnover Margin: 0.57 (21, 1)
Sacks: 1.14 (112, 11)
Sacks Allowed: 1.50 (38, 2)
Madness 2016 Recruit Rankings:
#13 Logan Blake
#161 Hamilton Day
#194 Michael Iamunno