#27 Richmond FCS Football 2021 Preview

Richmond Spiders
Overall Rank: #27
#5 CAA
 Richmond Logo
Richmond did not get too many games in during the spring. In the end they beat William & Mary and Elon twice. With an opportunity to reach the playoffs on the line, the Spiders fell short against top ranked James Madison by a score of 23-6. But for Coach Russ Huesman, the spring was basically an extended spring practice. The Spiders return just about everybody on both sides of the ball and they will enter the 2021 season proper ready to make a serious push for the top spot in the CAA.
2020-21 Record: 3-1, 3-1
2020-21 Postseason: None
Coach: Russ Huesman (18-20 at Richmond, 77-57 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Jeff Durden
Defensive Coordinator: Justin Wood
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Aaron Dykes, RB, 229 yards
Passing: Joe Mancuso, QB, 706 yards
Receiving: Leroy Henley, WR, 193 yards
Tackles: Tristan Wheeler, LB, 38     
Sacks: Darius Reynolds, DL, 5.0
Interceptions: Tyrek Funderburk, DB, 2
Other Key Returnees: RB Savon Smith, WR Justin Jasper, TE John Fitzgerald, OL Clayton McConnell, OL Tim Coleman, LB Tyler Dressler, DL Kobie Turner, DB Amir Hall
Key Losses: None
Joe Mancuso has developed into a very good quarterback. He has spent time backing up other quarterbacks and worked his way up the pecking order, making a handful of starts in 2018 before starting most of Richmond’s games in 2019. In the spring he started all four games and threw for 706 yards with five touchdowns and one interception and rushed for another 190 yards and a score. Leroy Henley, Justin Jasper and tight end John Fitzgerald highlight a deep group of pass catchers. The ground game will again be led by Aaron Dykes. He made a name for himself as a kickoff returner in 2019 before turning into the Spiders top running back threat in the spring. Savon Smith is the more bruising back and he too is expected to get plenty of carries this season.
The defense played well in the spring. Even against James Madison they only allowed 23 points and were able to force the Dukes to settle for three field goal attempts. Darius Reynolds and Kobie Turner did a great job of getting to the opposing quarterback, totaling 8.5 sacks between the two of them. Linebacker Tristan Wheeler picked up where he left off from in 2019 when he earned CAA Defensive Rookie of the Year accolades. He is turning into a great leader in the middle of the defense. The secondary has a leader and playmaker in Tyrek Funderburk and a promising freshman in Amir Hall. Hall started three games in the spring and that experience will help him turn into an important piece in this defense.
The Bottom Line:
If Richmond is going to be a serious contender for the CAA title, the schedule will work in their favor with both James Madison and Delaware coming to Robins Stadium. However, those could both easily be home losses. The important game to watch early in the year is a September 18th trip to Villanova. If they lose that one and do not manage to beat the Dukes or Blue Hens, Richmond will have very little margin for error and could miss out on the playoffs yet again.
Projected Postseason:  None
2020-21 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 153.2 (38th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 185.5 (58, 5)
Total Offense: 338.8 (51, 4)
Scoring Offense: 24.0 (44, 5)
Rushing Defense: 78.5 (6, 3)
Pass Defense: 200.0 (53, 9)
Total Defense: 278.5 (13, 5)
Scoring Defense: 17.0 (9, 3)
Turnover Margin: 0.00 (44, 6)
Sacks: 3.00 (16, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 2.00 (38, 4)