#18 Richmond FCS Football 2014 Preview

Richmond Spiders

Overall Rank: #18
#4 CAA

Richmond Team Page#18 Richmond FCS Football 2014 PreviewBuy Richmond Football Tickets

During September and October, Richmond went 1-6. Obviously that put a quick end to any playoff hopes the Spiders had for the 2013 campaign. But Coach Danny Rocco rallied his troops and they did win their last four games of the season. With nine starters returning to an offense that was the best in the conference in passing, this team has something to build around heading in 2014.

2013 Record: 6-6, 4-4
2013 Postseason: None
Coach: Danny Rocco (14-9 at Richmond, 61-29 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Brandon Streeter
Defensive Coordinator: Bob Trott

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Jacobi Green, RB, 566 yards
Passing: Michael Strauss, QB, 3,808 yards
Receiving: Stephen Barnette, WR, 1,189 yards
Tackles: Eric Wright, LB, 83
Sacks: Evan Kelly, DL, 6.0
Interceptions: Justin Grant, DB, 3

Other Key Returnees: RB Seth Fisher, WR Rashad Ponder, WR Reggie Diggs, OL Austin Gund, DB Reggie Barnette, LB Aaron Roane, DB David Jones

Key Losses: WR Ben Edwards, WR Shane Savage, LB Walt Sparks, DB Wayne Pettus, DL Kerry Wynn, K Brandon Jordi

Quarterback Michael Strauss took control of the Spiders offense and threw for 3,808 yards and 26 touchdowns during his junior campaign. He completed 65.4 percent of his passes and totaled just eight interceptions. His favorite target, Stephen Barnette, is back after catching 76 passes for 1,189 yards and five touchdowns. Receivers Rashad Ponder and Reggie Diggs are also quality big play receivers and Coach Rocco and company will find some other receiving options as well. The Spiders will not run too much, but they have two capable backs in Jacobi Green and Seth Fisher. With a decent line led by Austin Gund, the offense will get time to operate and there is no reason for this offense to falter through the air.

The Richmond defense was not bad, ranking fifth in the CAA in total defense and sixth in scoring defense. Linebacker Eric Wright is a good leader in the middle of field and Aaron Roane can get into the backfield from the outside. Speaking of getting into the backfield, Evan Kelly is a great lineman who totaled 6.0 sacks and 9.0 tackles-for-loss. He will lead a unit that tallied just 1.75 sacks per game in 2013. That number must go up if the defense is going to improve enough to help get the Spiders into the playoffs. The big loss in the secondary is Wayne Pettus, who made many big plays for Richmond. He picked off five passes, forced two fumbles and blocked two kicks.

The Bottom Line:
As always the CAA slate is tough and Richmond did not do themselves any favors by adding trips to Virginia and Liberty to the schedule. However, road games at Albany and Elon are winnable conference games and this team should be able to enter their last four games against Villanova, Maine, James Madison and William & Mary with a great chance to make the playoffs. If this group is ready to compete with the best the CAA has to offer by November, they will make their first playoff appearance since 2009.

Projected Postseason: FCS Playoffs

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 113.2 (104th in nation, 11th in conference)
Passing Offense: 328.3 (7, 1)
Total Offense: 358.3 (36, 5)
Scoring Offense: 27.7 (52, 7)
Rushing Defense: 137.9 (32, 6)
Pass Defense: 220.3 (59, 4)
Total Defense: 358.3 (36, 5)
Scoring Defense: 23.8 (40, 6)
Turnover Margin: 0.30 (33, 1)
Sacks: 1.75 (81, 9)
Sacks Allowed: 1.83 (54, 4)

Madness 2014 FCS Football Recruit Rankings:
#46 Jarriel Jordan Jr.
#51 Jared Coker


See All College Sports Madness Top 44 FCS Football Previews