Jul 21 / Rob

Check Out This 2016 CAA Football Preview Show


CAA Football Media Day is next week, which means it’s almost time to start talking football for real. (Yay!) While we’re not attending Media Day, we’ll go ahead and sum it up for everyone in advance. Every team had a great offseason. The players on each squad have been putting in work in the weight room. A couple underclassmen from each school are ready to step up. And all the coaches think that if their team catches a few breaks, this year could be special.

All of that is expected. Media Day is a day to celebrate the league and its programs, not to provide objective analysis. Thankfully, there are plenty of others ready to offer real opinions on the league. Like the crew from Football Gameplan of course. Which is great, because it’s July and you’re crazy if you think we’re prepared to offer intelligent analysis on the league yet. In any case, give the video above a view. It’s offers a pretty good look at the state of CAA football as teams get set to start camp. And a pretty good use of 30 minutes in July.

Spoiler: the Dukes are picked to finish 4th, due to concerns about the interior defense and struggles stopping the run. If we’re going off what we saw last year, it’d be tough to argue against that rationale. But we’re optimistic about Coach Houston’s ability to improve the defense, not to mention total purple Kool Aid drinking homers. Therefore, let’s assume whatever optimistic cliche we hear at Media Day about the defense’s improvement is 100% true.

Jul 18 / Rob

A Tale of Two Quarterbacks

JMU-STF FTBPresenting two separate four game stretches for two different quarterbacks.

Quarterback A

73 completions in 148 attempts for 978 yards, with 7 TDs, and 5 INTs

64 rushes for 341 yards and 2 TDs

That works out to a 49% completion rate with 6.6 yards per attempt passing, and 5.3 yards per carry rushing.

Quartrack B

62 completions in 100 attempts for 732 yards, with 6 TDs, and 1 INT

65 rushes for 219 yards and 3 TDs

That works out to a 62% completion rate with 7.3 yards per attempt passing, and 3.4 yards per carry rushing.

You obviously can’t say which player is better based on this small sample size. A few things stand out though. Quarterback B has a much better completion percentage and far fewer interceptions. Quarterback A has a much better yards per carry rushing the ball.

Quarterback A is Vad Lee in his first four games as a starter for JMU. Quarterback B is Bryan Schor in his first four games as a starter at JMU. And before you start picking this apart, I understand Lee’s first game was against Maryland, an FBS team. He also got to beat up on two out of conference patsies in St. Francis and Lehigh. Schor played 3 conference games and a playoff game. This isn’t supposed to be a perfect comparison. I just thought it was interesting.

My point is not that Schor is equal to or better than Lee. Vad pretty much took off after those first four games and played some of the best football by a quarterback in the history of the JMU program. My point is that the book wasn’t closed on Lee after his first four starts, and it shouldn’t be closed on Schor either.

The common refrain of most JMU fans this offseason is that the Dukes need better quarterback play. It’s crazy that QB play concerns most fans more than a defense that surrendered 46 touchdowns last year does, but it’s also probably true. JMU does need better play at QB than it got in the final four games last year. Schor was by no means bad, but he didn’t command the offense effectively enough to overcome for the defense’s deficiencies. And if you watched the games, it was clear that he struggled with some of the reads in the option. Go back and watch the first half against Lehigh in 2014 though and tell me how great Vad looked. It wasn’t pretty.

We’re all excited that Connor Mitch transferred to JMU from the SEC. He’s got plenty of raw talent and potential to succeed with the Dukes. But so does Schor. He might not win the starting job, but he might. He didn’t light the world on fire in relief of Vad last season. But he did pretty well. And it was only four games. There’s no reason he can’t improve drastically. Vad certainly did.

Jul 18 / jmusport

Canada’s Goalie Store

Important Considerations to Make When Choosing Hockey Skates

The best way for a parent to keep their children active is by getting them involved in sports. Rather than let a child sit around and watch television all winter, a parent can get them into winter sports like hockey. In many parts of the world, hockey is one of the hottest sports around. There are a variety of things that a parent will need to buy when getting their child into this type of sport. When trying to get the right equipment, a parent will need to track down Canada’s goalie store to help out. Below are some of the things that should be considered when attempting to find the right hockey skates. read more…

Jul 13 / Rob

Roughriders Acquire Rights to Vad Lee from Eskimos

roughridersBig news in the world of the Canadian Football League today folks. The Saskatchewan Roughriders acquired the negotiation list rights to Vad Lee from the Edmonton Eskimos. This is obviously good news for Vad, who now has another window open to continuing his football career. It might be even better news for your favorite bloggers (ed. note: we’re talking about ourselves here), because there ain’t a damn thing to write about JMU otherwise. However, we understand that many of you might not be up on the ins and outs of the Canadian Football League roster moves. That’s where we come in as we attempt to answer all of your CFL roster move questions.

Wait, when was Vad even drafted?

He wasn’t. Only 70 players are picked in the CFL draft and most international players are ineligible to be drafted. The CFL bylaws require each team to have a minimum number of Canadians both on the active roster and in the starting lineup. As such, most non-Canadian players are ineligible for the draft. It’s confusing, but as best we can tell, the CFL needs to limit the number of Americans on each team. If they did not, whichever would team signed the most Americans would obviously crush everyone, thereby eliminating the need to even play the games and the league would go out of business. Make sense?

So Edmonton must have signed him after the draft?

No. After the draft Edmonton put Vad on its negotiations list (neg list for short) for international, or “import”, players. It’s basically a way for a team to lock up the negotiating rights for any player the club might want to sign.

How come I’ve never heard of this negotiations list?

Probably because it’s unique to the Canadian Football League. A league where, as the name implies, all games are played in Canada. As Americans we’re conditioned to ignore all things in the Great White North. But it’s worth noting that according to our research, “it is estimated 75% of players do not know they are on a CFL team’s neg list.”

So if people aren’t even notified when they’re put on a negotiations list, does this mean I might be on some CFL team’s neg list?

No. That’s not possible. You suck at football.

Why would the Eskimos trade the rights to negotiate with a player as awesome as Vad?

Like in most American sports leagues, teams value prospects differently and sometimes sacrifice future potential for more immediate results. Another likely scenario is that everyone on the Eskimos roster was so scared that Vad would make them look bad in practice that they forced management to trade his rights.

So now he’s part of DMX’s crew?

Easy mistake, but you’re thinking of the Ruff Riders. The team that acquired the rights to Vad is the Roughriders.

What’s up with the Roughriders?

They’re based in Regina, Saskatchewan and play in the Western Division of the CFL. They’re actually one of the oldest professional sports franchise in all of North America. Plus, they have arguably the most passionate fanbase in Canada and have the third most valuable brand in all of Canadian sports. They’ve even won four Grey Cups (think Canadian Superbowls).

Wow, four Grey Cups. So the Roughriders must be one of the premier franchises in the CFL?

Um, not really. Winning the Grey Cup four times is awesome. Until you consider that seven teams have won more than that. And there are only nine teams in the entire CFL. Because, Canada.

You sure are down on Canada. Have you even seen who’s running for president in America?

Good point. I take it all back. Canada ain’t bad. Let’s drink maple syrup and watch hockey, eh?

Cut the crap. What does this all mean?

We’re not sure. It probably depends on whether or not Vad wants to play professional football. If he does, this is cool. Really, really cool. Even if he doesn’t, a major professional franchise trading for the right to negotiate a deal for him speaks volumes about his abilities.

Despite our playful jabs above, the CFL is a great league. And if you’ve never been to Canada, trust us when we tell you that it’s an absolutely beautiful country. And it’s filled with some truly wonderful people. Most Americans are either unfamiliar with the CFL entirely, or wrongly think it exists solely as some sort of proving ground for the NFL. Yes, notable NFL players such as Warren Moon and Doug Flutie proved themselves in the CFL before getting their NFL breaks, but it’s a great league on its own merits. Canadian Football is similar to the American game, but is just different enough to make it uniquely Canadian. A few of the things that make it different, such as the larger field, probably make it better suited to Vad’s speed and ability in the open field actually. Should he decide to pursue a career in the CFL, the Roughriders would be a great franchise for him. They’ve got a proud history and some of the best fans in sports. We’re sure they’d gain many more if the ever added Vad.

Jul 10 / Rob

JMU Women to Host Tennessee Lady Vols in November

Convo CrowdSean O’Regan has lined up a pretty impressive opponent for his first home game as head coach of the JMU Women’s Basketball team.. The Dukes will play host to the Lady Vols from the University of Tennessee on November 11. The Tennessee program is legendary and getting the Vols on the Dukes’ schedule is quite a score. Getting them to play the first game of the series on the road in Harrisonburg is kind of nuts.

Just like in the men’s game, it can be very difficult for successful mid-major teams to line up out of conference games against quality opponents. P5 programs don’t like to schedule games they can lose. As such, it’s often tough for a solid mid-major like JMU to get good games. Kenny Brooks said as much when he departed. O’Regan managing to get a power team to come to the ‘burg in his first year as head coach is a pretty big deal. Any P5 team for the home opener would have been great. Getting the winningest team in women’s college basketball history? Damn near amazing. Of course, JMU has a proud history as well, with the third most total victories. So it will be two of the three winningest programs facing off in the Convo. Better get your tickets soon.

Jul 7 / Rob

We Can Guarantee Zalakeramia ZTE Is Your New Favorite Hungarian Basketball Club

kirbyThat’s right, we’re going with Hungarian Basketball news. (It’s July people.) But wait, this isn’t your standard Hungarian hoops clickbait that litters the internet nowadays It’s actually relevant. Really relevant. And that’s because we now know that Zalakeramia ZTE is your new favorite Hungarian basketball club. Or at least it should be, because the men’s team just signed Devon Moore and the women’s team signed Kirby Burkholder. Seriously, how cool is that?

As you undoubtedly know, Moore is a former standout point guard for JMU who helped take the Dukes back to the NCAA tournament after a 19 year absence. As a senior, he averaged 11 points and 4.9 assists. Since graduating from JMU, Moore has played in Europe. He’s had stints with teams in Germany, Ukraine, and Hungary. My Hungarian isn’t too good (it’s non-existent), but this signing seems to be for a summer league of some sort. He now will attempt to latch on permanently with Zalakeramia ZTE, a team that finished 5th in the Hungarian A Division.

Burkholder was a standout scorer for the Dukes under former coach Kenny Brooks. She averaged over 18 points and nearly 9 boards a game as a senior, and was selected as the CAA Player of the Year. She also dropped 28 and 18 in the Dukes NCAA Tournament victory over Gonzaga. Since graduating from JMU, she’s played for Azzurra Orvieto in the Italian League and had a stint in Belgium. In Italy, she averaged 14 points a game and was Eurobasket All Italian. According to the translated version of this website, “the American girl is expected to post a triple spindle társakhoz.” We assume that’s a good thing. Kirby is expected to join the team in September prior to the start of the season.

 

Jul 4 / Rob

Is Daniel Brown Switching to Tight End?

brown ravensFormer JMU wide receiver Daniel Brown defied the odds last year and went all the way from being an undrafted free agent to suiting up and earning game reps with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens. Virtually nobody envisioned Brown playing on Sundays, but that didn’t deter him. He kept at it and managed to play in 6 games, even started one. He ended his rookie year with 6 catches for 64 yards.

Nobody can take anything away from Brown and what he was able to accomplish by getting on the field. We’d be lying if we said that injuries to receivers ahead of him on the roster didn’t help clear a path though. There’s no shame in that and he still earned his spot.

This year the Ravens have added receivers to create more depth at the position though. That means the path to the 53 man roster might be tough at wideout. It might be a little easier at tight end. Or if one player was versatile enough to potentially add depth at both positions, that might make him more likely to stick around. That appears to be Brown’s logic at least. According to this report on Cover32, Daniel has added 30 pounds of muscle this offseason and is now big enough to play TE or as a larger slot receiver.

If you watched Brown play at JMU, you know he’s got great hands. Now that he’s up to around 250 pounds, he’s probably big enough to play tight end. He doesn’t have burner speed, but he’s still quick enough that he’d be a tough for a linebacker to keep up with. Plus he can play special teams and even blocked a kick last year for Baltimore. Moving to tight end seems like a no-brainer. We’ll be rootin for him.

Jul 4 / jmusport

Types of Virtual Baseball Games

Baseball is America’s sport, and fans are always looking for a new way to engage even when they can’t play themselves.  Virtual baseball has become a hot commodity, inspiring everything from major console releases to gambling games on the Euro Palace online casino.  Below are a few options for those looking to get their baseball fix online.   read more…

Jul 1 / Rob

Watch Tyler Gray Nail This 45 Yard Trick Shot FG

Nothing says “offseason” more than college football players posting trick shot videos in empty stadiums. But that doesn’t mean they’re not fun to watch. Here’s one of JMU’s Tyler Gray doing a little Lionel Messi meets Adam Vinatieri thing. As a freshman last season, Gray handled kick-off duty for the Dukes. Bombing 45 yards with ease makes us think he’s ready to step up and start making field goals.

Jun 28 / Rob

Former South Carolina QB Connor Mitch is Now a JMU Duke

ConnorAfter weeks of speculation about where he’d transfer, former University of South Carolina QB Connor Mitch finally announced that he’s headed to JMU yesterday. Mitch won the starting job at USC prior to last season. Unfortunately for him, he suffered hip and shoulder injuries that knocked him out for the year after only two games. He has already graduated and will come to JMU with two more years of eligibility while he pursues a graduate degree.

Mitch was a four star recruit for Steve Spurrier coming out of high school, throwing for over 12,000 yards and earning PARADE All-American honorable mention. He was third on the Gamecock’s depth chart coming out of spring ball, but head coach Will Muschamp said he was going to give him a chance to compete for the QB 1 spot in the fall.

While Mitch has to be considered the favorite to start at QB, he’ll still need to beat out Bryan Schor. After Vad Lee went down with an injury last season, Schor stepped in and assumed the starting role. He was solid, but not spectacular. Now he’s got to beat out a 6’4″ 214 pound former SEC starter to win the job.