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VMI trying to manage short turnaround between football seasons

VMI AthleticsVMI, like most of the rest of FCS, played football into April, putting a different meaning to the term spring football.

With the Keydets prepping for a season opener next weekend, we’re talking a little more than four months between games.

The thinking behind how to get two football seasons into one calendar year actually began back in January.

“We took precautions back in January in limiting contact, and then the NCAA kind of followed suit with limiting contact in the fall,” VMI coach Scott Wachenheim said. “We’re well under the NCAA minimums for the amount of time that we’re going to have contact on the field and the amount of time we’re on the field. We just feel we’ve got to keep our team healthy.

“We have cut back or curtailed our live tackling activities,” Wacheneheim said. “We do more drill work than we’ve ever done in the past in tackling. Blocking, we always work to the nth degree, because the linemen have got to go full speed in practice when they have shoulder pads on. So we’ve just shortened amount of time around the field, and we’ve also limited the contact, and we’re hopeful that that will keep us healthy.”

Student-athletes also adjusted their schedules for the spring and summer to make sure that they got enough rest and recovery time between the seasons.

“VMI has two summer sessions. Summer session one is right after the end of the spring semester, and summer session two is, you know, right before we get here for camp. I know a lot of the starters and key guys went to summer session. My thought was go home rest of it a little bit, but I mean, still working, you know, we still have workouts, but you know, just give it time,” said junior linebacker Stone Snyder, the SoCon Defensive Player of the Year.

“I gave myself a little time off, but still working, and then came back for summer session two,” Snyder said. “That way I feel like the flow from summer session to the fall camp is really just the best because you’re there the whole month prior with the coaches. You know, we’re out there on the field doing position work, kind of also get out there with the freshmen to help them, you know, really have an extra step when they step in camp. I feel like the flow just coming from summer session into fall camp is really beneficial for us.”

“We got a little bit of time off, a week or two to really rest the bodies and whatnot. But, you know, we still had a little bit of a school year left,” sophomore QB Seth Morgan said. “And so during that time, we had some offseason training to some light running, light lifting. And then this summer, I had the opportunity to take some courses down here in Lexington. I was here pretty much the entire summer, just training. We had some receivers down here, so I got to work some chemistry with some guys. We had all the freshmen come in for the month of July, and  so we got some young offensive talent there that I got to work with.”

“The spring season was definitely tough on the body,” said senior wideout Jake Herres, the SoCon Offensive Player of the Year. “You know, starting in the cold and everything like that, practicing outside. But just getting that rest, nutrition and stuff like that after. I really only took about a week’s break and kind of just got right back to it. You know, I just wanted my body to be full force for when I came back in the fall.

“Me and Stone actually had like a house together with a few other guys during the summer that were here working out and just preparing. Like you said, that transition from summer to the fall camp really helps, because you’re just really working out with the strength coach and getting better in that way. So I think we’re all right,” Herres said.

Story by Chris Graham