LEXINGTON, Va. – The VMI Keydets are well into fall camp with first year coach Danny Rocco. It’s been a steady work in progress for a team that is a few years removed from a Southern Conference championship.
That title back in 2021 is a big reason why Rocco and his staff aren’t considering this season a “complete rebuild” year.
“We’ve dedicated the season to our seniors,” Rocco said. “Our seniors have won a conference championship then they have also experienced the misery of defeat last year. So, they’ve seen both ends of the spectrum. Their is no thrill of joy without agony of defeat. Those guys have been that and I think there’s a lot to be said about that.”
The Keydets had four players earn preseason All-Socon honors including Lord Botetourt grad Evan Eller at linebacker and William Fleming grad Tyriq Poindexter at right guard on the offensive line.
Despite being picked to finish dead last in the conference in the preseason votes, VMI is excited to play a more balanced and dynamic offense this year.
“We have a super deep running back room and super deep receivers room,” said quarterback Collin Ironside. “We have talent all over the field so anybody we have out there or any personnel we’re in I feel pretty good about what we can get done.”
“Through the winter and the spring I felt like we were making steady improvement,” Rocco said. “We had really good carryover heading into the summer and the guys are in a really good spot right now. You always would like to be a little further along but I feel like we’re right where we need to be as we head into the second part of summer camp.”
Helping on that side of the ball from the sidelines will be assistant head coach and offensive assistant, Bryan Stinespring, who brings decades of coaching experience from in and around the Commonwealth and beyond.
“We were pleased with the guys who we had here,” said Stinespring. “We just had to improve and come together, learn new terminology on new systems and how we do things. The more we can spread the ball around the field and make the defense play the field, we play more complimentary football.”
At media day Friday, many of the players including Ironside and veteran receiver Chance Knox spoke on the culture that Rocco and his staff are trying to create--one that embodies a winning culture.
With that, the Keydets are hoping those wins can begin as early as September 2nd when they open the season at home against Davidson. The Wildcats are led by Scott Abell, a familiar face in Lexington after coaching at Washington & Lee for six seasons.