With temperatures hovering around 30 degrees and the remnants of snow on the surrounding ground, VMI football held a spirited controlled scrimmage at Fiorini Field Jan. 30, 2021.
“I like the fact we got a lot of snaps in today and got to stay out there for six to eight play drives. It was our intent to test the conditioning of the team and our team is in great condition,” said Scott Wachenheim, head coach, after the workout. “I like the fact that we got all our special teams units snapped and additionally we got to work on four-minute offense and defense—a situation where the offense has the lead late in the game and the defense is trying to get the ball back. I think we learned a lot of lessons from that we’ll be able to teach moving forward.”
Most of the 64 snaps taking were under thud tempo conditions, but the late game scenarios went with full live tackling.
Reece Udinski ’21, senior quarterback, completed nine of 15 passes for 73 yards and connected on a 14-yard touchdown pass play to Korey Bridy ’22, running back. Other offensive highlights included a 15-yard touchdown rush by Grant Swinehart ’24, freshman running back.
Defensively, the secondary was active with Aljareek Malry ’23 and Kyser Samuel ’23, sophomore defensive backs, generating key pass breakups on a third down conversion opportunities.
“I think the passing game is coming together really well,” added Wachenheim. “We’ve had some receivers we’ve limited due to minor tweaks, but we should be full strength Monday of next week. We’re learning how to throw and catch in cold weather, and that’s a different ball to throw and a different ball to catch. Our kids are fighting through and doing a great job, and we’re getting better every day.”
Wachenheim also likes the progress the defense is making one week into preseason practice.
“I love the intensity level of our defense. I love the leadership. I think Kyser Samuel [’22, defensive lineman] is doing a great job of leading and I think Stone Snyder [’23, linebacker] has stepped in and is doing and great job at mike linebacker and defensive back Josh Sarrart [’23] is back 100% healthy. He’s just a football junkie and a coach on the field and Jordan Ward [’21], whose character is the best I’ve ever been around, his leadership on defense has been awesome. It’s the most leadership on defense that we’ve ever had, and I really like the way that unit is coming together.”
A week earlier, several Keydets received honors from the Southern Conference. Udinski was named Southern Conference Preseason Offensive Player of the Year in voting by the league’s nine head coaches.
Udinski was named to the preseason First Team Offense, along with Nick Harnett ’22, offensive lineman. On the defensive side, Ward, lineman, and A.J. Smith ’21, safety, were named to the First Team Defense. Jakob Herres ’22, junior wide receiver, was named to the Second Team Offense, and Bridy, junior kick returner, was named to the Second Team Special Teams unit.
The Keydets open the 2021 spring season at Chattanooga at noon, Feb. 20. Check vmikeydets.com for up-to-date results, schedule, and ticket information.
Editor’s Note: Compiled from articles first published at vmikeydets.com.