Opposition Danger Men: VMI

Next up in our series is another military academy, and no, Navy has not suddenly moved the clash with Army to the middle of the fall. This is where we are going to take a closer look at a couple of difference makers who Navy will come up against each week when the season gets started. These are the guys that the coaches must game plan for if the 2014 Navy football season is going to be a success.

VMI

Offense: RB – Derrick Ziglar

In all honesty it is tough to come by information about the Keydets. Playing in the FCS makes them low profile enough, but then you add in a 2-10 season last year and it is easy to see why not much is written about them even at the regional level. All that being said I was able to pull together bits and pieces from various sources, and it seems that they all agree that the best player on this team is running back Derrick Ziglar.

This would definitely seem to correlate with the VMI stat book from last fall. Ziglar led the team on the ground in rushing attempts (148), yardage (768), and touchdowns (five). His 5.2 yards per carry average stands out no matter what the level of play and you have to wonder just how effective he would be with a team which must have had to abandon the run early in some of their blowout losses.

Ziglar is listed at 5-feet-9 and 230 pounds. It will not shock you then that his game is all about power and the ability to lower his broad shoulders and make tough yards after contact. He is the definition of a one cut runner who will put his foot in the ground and turn anything he can up field though an open hole. Ziglar is also surprisingly adept as a receiver out of the backfield as he was third on the team with 25 catches for 336 yards in 2013.

Defense: DE – John Washington

As difficult as it is to come up with information on the Keydets offensive play makers it is monumentally more difficult to do so for the defense. If nothing else this task has proven that those on the defensive side of the ball who often cry foul about how they are treated compared to their offensive cousins may have a valid point.

Statistically at least the most impactful returning defender for the Keydets is defensive end John Washington. Washington played in all twelve games last fall and was in on 44 tackles, a decent number for a defensive end. He made his (figurative) money though with plays behind the line of scrimmage. Washington led the team in tackles for a loss (6.5) and was second on the team in sacks (3). He also somehow managed to come down with an interception and forced a fumble. On a team without many defensive playmakers Washington is definitely the pick of the bunch. He is the guy who Navy will have to keep quiet to avoid the Keydets even thinking about an upset.

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