Cavalier Preview: VMI

How do you scout a team whose best win in the last 10 years is Lock Haven?  We joke, but seriously there is not a lot to go on.  While most of our readers read newspapers and novels, we read opponent’s media guides.  And let me tell you, this one was the most entertaining one in a long time.  While most guides tell interesting facts about their team, VMI’s media guide gives you facts about what happened on “This Date in History”.

No lie, this is from Page 2 of the VMI Media Guide:

It Happened on September 25 –

WORLD EVENTS – On this date in 1513, Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa became the first European to reach what is now known as the Pacific Ocean.  On Sept. 25, 1911, ground is broken for the construction of Fenway Park in Boston, Mass.

Well, lets get this over with.

Coaching Staff

Sparky Woods is in his third year of coaching VMI.  The Wahoo faithful will remember him from being the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the 1997-98 season with Virginia.  He has had several stops over his 30 year career, including a head coaching job at Appalachian State and assistant jobs at Memphis, Mississippi State, Alabama, and under Pete Carroll for the New York Jets.  He has made the Keydets respectable in the Big South, but it still hasn’t translated into wins.


The first two years of Sparky’s head coaching stint at VMI, they ran the triple-option, similar to Georgia Tech and the other service academies.  But this year, the Keydets are running a pro-style offense.  The results have not been as expected.  Putting the Lock Haven game aside, VMI lost to William & Mary 45-0.  At quarterback, they started the game with Cameron Jones, but he went 5-19, 60 yards, 3 INTs. Then they brought in Eric Kordenbrock, and he went 5-12, 47 yards, 2 INTs.  Finally, they ended the game with Adam Morgan who went 2-8, 19 yards.  The bright spot on the team has been Gabe Itoka at running back, who rushed 21 times for 85 yards.  Their receiving threats come in the form of their 3 wide attack in T.J. Talley, Bryan Barnson, Mario Scott.


VMI’s 3-4 defense is highlighted by ILB A.J. Gross, SS Byron Allen, and NT Josh Wine.  They are not very deep, but the first string is full of upperclassmen, which gives them a very good knowledge of the system, but they gave up nearly 400 yards of offense to a mid level DI-AA team.

Special Teams

Like UVa, VMI’s special teams is headlined by their punter, Marc Ray, who averaged 41.3 yards a punt.  Other than that, not a lot to talk about

How Virginia Loses

London decides to let hung over frat boys play instead of the regular team.  VMI wins 33-32.  Seriously, I’m trying to find a way Virginia loses this game, but I can’t.  I guess it would be starting on the ground and throwing in trick plays to keep drives alive.  If they are up at half, it could motivate them to fight in the second half.

How Virginia Wins

Play the first down and go from there.  To say what Mike London will do this game would be asinine.  Look for a lot of power running plays to set up the pass.  In the 3-4 you can run the ball for 5 yards consistently (we know that from the Groh era).  But when the passing attack works, look for the Keydets to drop 8 into coverage, which Jones could exploit on a delayed handoff.  Outside that, we will be keeping our eye on penalties and special teams.  If there is no marked improvement, it might be a long season.


I hate to see teams run up the score on other teams, but it might happen in this game.  Look for the second team in the second half, they will still score.  Other than that, look for the stadium to clear out half way in the 3rd quarter. UVA 49, VMI 7.

Hamilton Riley

About Hamilton Riley

Mild mannered contractor by day, sports blogger by insomnia.