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2013 Flames Football Opponent Preview: VMI
LibertyFlames.com continues its coverage of Flames Football training camp with the second in a series of previews of Liberty's 2013 opponents, featuring VMI today.
The Keydets and the Presbyterian College Blue Hose, who combined to go 1-11 in the Big South last year, shared fifth place in the Big South preseason football poll, which was released at Big South Media Day in July.
VMI's lone Big South win in 2012 came against Presbyterian College, 17-7, in front of its own fans at Foster Stadium on Oct. 6. The Keydets' other victory in 2012 was in their home opener against Division II Chowan, 24-17, on Sept. 8.
Sparky Woods returns for his seventh season at the helm of the Keydets program and will have 15 starters and 31 returning letterwinners at his disposal during the team's final season in the Big South. VMI announced during the summer that its 10th season in the Big South would be its last, with the school slated to return to the Southern Conference at the start of next year.
The Keydets' offense will once again look to leadership from Eric Kordenbrock, a three-year starter at quarterback. Last year, Kordenbrock threw for 2,008 yards and eight touchdowns and enters his final season with VMI fourth all-time in program history in career passing yards (4,523 yards).
VMI's backfield returns its two leading rushers from 2012 in Jabari Turner and Derrick Ziglar. Turner was the Keydets' top rusher with 110 carries, 375 yards and four touchdowns, while Ziglar followed closely behind with 68 rushing attempts for 239 yards.
VMI's top defender from 2012 returns for his senior season, as inside linebacker Weston Reber led the Keydets with 87 tackles last year (25 solo, 62 assisted).
VMI's defense will also be bolstered by the return of defensive back James Frueham, who finished second on the team last year with 76 stops, including a team-best 54 solo tackles.
The Flames' final meeting with VMI as a conference opponent will kick off Liberty's November schedule. Liberty will host the Keydets on Nov. 2, starting a three-game homestand at Williams Stadium.
Liberty's last meeting with VMI was a momentous one for Flames head coach Turner Gill. The 33-14 win on Nov. 17, 2012, wrapped up a winning season for Gill in his first year at Liberty and sealed a share of the Big South title for the fifth time in the last six seasons.
Liberty has defeated VMI in seven consecutive meetings and has outscored the Keydets, 164-79, in its last three meetings at Williams Stadium.
On the practice field today, Gill held a lighter morning workout as the team prepares for its first scrimmage-oriented practice of preseason training camp tomorrow night, starting at 7 p.m.