Sep 29 / Todd

Dukes Fall to Delaware 29-22; Coaches Error

What is the identity of this edition of Dukes football? That’s a question for the coaching staff alone and so far they have failed miserably to come up with an answer.  That IS on Mickey and no one else when you get down to the heart of it. Everything else is secondary to that question.

The Piss Wall

Finally made the trip to Delaware for a game and a few quick notes.  First, one thing stood out to me this morning. Watching in person did not lead me or those I got to watch the game with to nearly so gloomy a conclusion about the rest of this season as it appears to have done for those who watched on television.  Maybe it’s because in person you notice how physically superior JMU is at most positions and how the young secondary continues to grow.  Maybe it’s because you notice that while Birdsong is by far the most capable of must-have tough throws of any QB1 JMU has had since Rascati, you also become painfully aware of the fact he was starting his 8th game as college QB and still encounters serious indecision at times (though more on this later as that is the theme from the top down).  But in any case, it seems while the second half was just as excruciating in person, I’m not willing to throw in the towel just yet after a road loss to Delaware.

Second, the trip was great, the weather was perfect and it was great to make some knew friends (BDK, DoubleD) and see some old JMUSB friends (SB). Delaware truly is a fun place to watch a game, but they just don’t take it nearly as seriously as JMU.  Kids aren’t even in the stadium as hundreds of them play on the still-lit practice fields next door throughout the game.  Their band is a disjointed mess that doesn’t seem to give two shits about the game itself. They’re split up both in and out of the stadium all game long and even play at the wrong times.  Really makes you love the MRD’s all that much more for being the best JMU fans!  And finally, their “student section” is about 300 strong.  No joke here, that is the joke.  Seriously, maybe 300 people. I’m through complaining about JMU students leaving early after that limp performance.  And the fact they pump in artificial crowd noise through the speakers on big plays is a damned disgrace.

Third, the legend is true.  We’d heard the rumors that everything negative about Delaware’s aging, piss-poor facilities could be summed up by the mens’ bathroom’s infamous “piss wall.” It’s all true:

Two sides of the enormous, three-sided "Piss Wall." Also, do you know how difficult and uncomfortable it is to try to snap a photo in this situation?! Talk about awkward visiting fan.

Two sides of the enormous, three-sided “Piss Wall.” Also, do you know how difficult and uncomfortable it is to try to snap a photo in this situation?! Talk about awkward visiting fan.

The Good

The first quarter.  Huge defensive play to start. Raced out to a 13-0 lead (more on that later too).

Robertson and Steele are simply incredible.  Best players on the field by a wide margin.

DB’s are getting better.  UD made a huge play to their stud WR Johnson over Taylor Reynolds early, but he was in position and just got beat by a stud player.  Then he came back to finish JMU’s biggest play of the game on the interception in the endzone that started a 13 point swing before the half.  There were still a large handful of big plays given up, but don’t make the mistake of putting this loss on the defense at all.  The offense and special teams pinned them in bad positions all night.

The Bad

Specials: What the hell is wrong with the kicking game?!  Normally this would land in the ugly section but that’s reserved for the coaches and the big picture this week.  I have no idea what’s going on with Cam Starke this year.  If he’s not healthy after an injury-plagued offseason, try someone else. If he’s disappointed he’s playing college ball instead of rolling with friends at TomorrowWorld, try someone else.  But it’s gotta be fixed.  Second, on the punt team, I’m not as opposed to the rugby style as others, but I still can’t figure out JMU’s thinking in the blocking scheme.  Not to mention that all the punt protectors are high-numbered linemen/LB types and it makes me wonder if we’ll ever be capable of any type of fake if it’s needed later on.

Inability to step on the throat.  Two FG’s and a missed FG in positions where they could have all been momentum-killing, demoraling TD’s for Delaware. Definitely tied up in the identity question.

The Ugly

In-game coaching adjustments.  Or should we say, the complete lack thereof.  Just like Akron, JMU got out to a nice lead, played a decent half, and then looked like they spent the halftime break eating glue. The first quarter was one of the best we’ve seen from JMU in quite a while.  After Delaware’s coaches presumably adjusted and JMU’s clearly did not, the third quarter was an utter debacle.

Identity.  Who’s in charge?  Mickey or O’Cain?  Are we a running team or passing team? Are we playing uptempo or just looking to the sidelines because the coaches are arguing over what to call? Has Mickey lost his nerve?

Early in the game, 4th and 2 deep in Delaware territory. The MM some of us loved at one point, the ole’ riverboat gambler, used to make this a no-brainer.  Hit someone in the mouth and go for it.  No doubt about it.  Now we settle for a chicken-shit FG attempt.  And he panics on the sidelines and almost bumps an official screaming like a lunatic for a timeout. leaving most of us to wonder if all the personal foul penalties, including many from the unquestioned leader of this team Stephon Robertson aren’t a direct reflection of what they see from their head coach?

Late in the game. Twice JMU gets the ball with plenty of time and timeouts to tie the game and twice they abandon the run.  We all know that in years past if the Dukes got the ball down 7 with 6 minutes to play, we’d see run, run, and more run even if it cost us everything.  But at least the players, the coaches, the fans, and the other team knew they better buckle up because this wasn’t going to be easy.  Not anymore.  Now we seem to love to dominate yardage totals with cutesy offense while losing the game.

Moving On

Vent now if you haven’t already because we’ve got to move on to other things.  As horrible as the loss was in the present, most of us would be lying if we said preseason that @ UD was one we put for certain in the win column so don’t jump just yet (even if you want to give MM the Lane Kiffin treatment).  The next three weeks that will make or break the season.  JMU should be a huge favorite this week against Albany and a decent favorite in three weeks at W&M, but in between the UR trip to the ‘Burg on the 12 will determine everything about this season.  Win these three, get to 6-2 and give yourself a great shot coming down the stretch.  Get to the bye with 3 losses and Villanova, @ UNH, and @ Towson on the horizon and you might as well figure out whose going to get the “interim” tag.

Lastly, it’s also important to move on from this because the Carr Report will be presented to the Board of Visitors this Friday and if nothing else, we should be learning more about what President Alger’s, and JMU’s, plans for the future of JMU Athletics are over the next week or two.  Note: If you’re one of those saying “we’re not ready for a move up because we lost to Akron and/or Delaware” – just stop!  We can only say this so many times, that has NOTHING to do with moving up or not.  Facilities, infrastructure, finances, and growth potential are the only things that are germane to the issue.  You think Mickey or Birdsong or Robertson or JB or anyone else is actually going to be around when and if JMU ever establishes a serious foothold on long-term success at the next level? No.  If anything, Alger and the fans are the only ones who might last that long.



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  1. 2004 Duke / Sep 30 2013

    You are dead wrong with your assessment about moving up. Just ask UMass and Georgia State what happens when you move up before you are ready.

  2. 2004 Duke / Sep 30 2013

    I know Reyonlds is a young guy and I’m sure he will be a stud 4 years from now, but I’d bet $100 that on every opponent’s scouting report this year, #14 is on the coverpage, and the game plan is to make him cover their best reciever and throw it at him as much as possible. Being a freshman corner is tough because man-coverage is hard for anybody….esp against the other team’s best WR…and zone coverage is complicated to understand at a NCAA level.

    I think Starke is a good kicker. He had a bad night, but that is going to happen from time to time. Kicking out of bounds isn’t his fault…. that one is on the coaches for calling that idiotic sky-kick. JMU has a well-documented history of horrible kickers under the Matthews regime, and Starke is probably the best we’ve had.

    I agree whole heartedly on the identity crisis. I’ve been saying that for years. Every successful team has an identity. The Denver Broncos are going to establish the passing game and throw it 50 times. Ohio State and Wisconsin are going to establish the power running game and stick it between the tackles. Air Force and Navy are going to run the triple option. What does JMU do? We sort of have a passing game. We have zero power running game. We don’t really run the read option. We kind of run this speed sweep/wide zone thing a lot that has mixed results. There is no real bread-and-butter play for us. That is killing our team.

    You can’t be successful by randomly calling plays with a magic 8-ball. You have to have an identity. In 2004-05 it was the power run game. In 2006-08 it was the read option. After that, it’s like we’ve been grasping at a bunch of different things that haven’t really fit the team, and rather than pick one and *coach* the team to be good at it, they just punt and try something else.

  3. 2004 Duke / Sep 30 2013

    …and blame the players for not being successful. Forgot that part.

  4. Todd / Sep 30 2013

    04 – That’s ridiculous. UMass has little tradition, is located in the least passionate college football part of the country, and most of all, has a MASSIVE infrastructure/facility problem. They have no stadium and are playing games 90 miles from campus in an NFL stadium. That’s exactly what’s killing their transition and ability to recruit to even have a chance on the field.

    Georgia State is a train wreck of epic proportions. It’s a commuter school whose graduates almost entirely root for, and attend games, for another school (UGA). They have ZERO tradition as they didn’t even have football till five years ago. They’ve never averaged more than 6000 fans a game even before they made the move. Oh yeah, and they play games in an NFL stadium because they have no on-campus facility or infrastructure.

    App. St., Georgia Southern, and ODU were as ready as anyone on-field and they’re all struggling ON the field to a certain extent. It’s inevitable as you change your entire recruiting profile and gradually add schollies during the transition. Even the most successful transitions (Marshall, Boise, etc.) didn’t happen overnight and didn’t necessarily happen fresh off National title type seasons in 1-AA.

    To clarify, Starke doesn’t handle kickoffs. We have a kickoff specialist who’s been doing a fine job, but you’re right, my guess is the pop-up was called from the bench

    From the stands it sure looked like Delaware actually changed their target from Reynolds to Williams as the game progressed and Reynolds made a few plays, but they’re both growing and no reason at all to jump on freshman DB’s at this point.

    Final note from the game, forgot to mention that Taylor Reynolds had, not joking for one second here, probably 300 purple clad #14 shirts filling the JMU section. As most folks may know, he was a legendary QB for Newark High School and is very much considered the one who got away. He was the subject of all the buzz at the game. The UD coach bought tickets for the entire Newark High School team and they were all at the game wearing their jerseys…and milling around the JMU side cheering for the Dukes. Pretty cool small-town atmosphere created by all of that actually!

  5. 2004 Duke / Sep 30 2013

    Todd- You made my point. UMass and GSU were not ready to move up. The other schools you mentioned are all in transition…they haven’t actually moved yet.

    I would look to Marshall and UConn as examples of how to transition. They might suck now, but when they made the move (10+ years ago) they did it right and competed immediately.

  6. 2004 Duke / Sep 30 2013

    I’m not jumping on the freshman DB’s….. they are freshman. Nobody can just show up from high school and be good (except possibly Johnny Football). The fact is, however, they are clearly the weakest part of the defense by far, and they are going to keep getting picked on.

  7. Dukes4 / Sep 30 2013

    Hmm… more like 60% player error and 40% coaching…
    Per JMU’s website commentary: “The Dukes rallied with an eight-play, 65-yard drive but the drive stalled at the 11-yard line.” Indeed- it stalled, perhaps due to plays from sideline..but they have to execute.

    And, Birdsong seems to lean towards being a “pocket passer”. Soon as he is flushed, the blinders come down and he cant find any of the open receivers. 19 for 35… And the p/pk…….ugh

  8. 2004 Duke / Sep 30 2013

    Just to clarify:

    App. St lost their legendary coach to retirement.

    Georgia Southern has had 1 exceptional season in the past 13 years, and fired a couple of coaches in the process.

    ODU has made a name for themselves playing a bunch of cupcakes. Granted they won the CAA once. Once.

    I do not buy your arguement.

  9. Deacon Danny / Sep 30 2013

    I will agree with almost everyone else that this debacle belongs, to a large degree, on the coaching staff but I’m not going to give the players a pass. I keep hearing how JMU has the best athletes on the field week in a week out so I think we need to see these ‘best athletes’ executing much better than they are. We are not going to have a power running game or even a knockout passing game until the OLine can open up some running lanes and protect the QB on passing downs. Looking down at the sidelines each week, I see a lot of beef standing there. If the 5 on the field are not getting it done (Wells included), put some of the other guys out there to see if they are hungry. I’m at a loss. Good teams find ways to win games. The trend I am seeing is that we keep finding new ways to lose them!

  10. Ken / Sep 30 2013

    Guess making the 1200-mile round trip drive to my niece’s wedding WAS the better choice this weekend.

  11. joetom / Sep 30 2013

    Am I the only one who thought the Akron game was proof we were ready to move up? I understand Akron is a cellar dweller in the MAC this season, but watching that game I honestly felt that JMU was the better team on the field and that’s why that game was so upsetting for me when we lost. I think if we played them again in Akron even we would come out with a W, if the game is played in Harrisonburg it’s a no doubter in my opinion. Looking at the MAC standings there are other teams I think we could beat if not hang with at least and that’s with fewer scholarships right now, so increase the scholarships and the recruiting profile for JMU and you could easily down the road start competing for a conference championship and be making bowl games. The only thing that worries me is, I’m not sure that MM is the guy you want steering the ship once you’re in the FBS.

  12. Finn / Sep 30 2013

    The thing I find most difficult to deal with in all of this is the coaching staff’s lack of “killer instinct” …”kick’em when they’re down” …”punch’em in the dadgum neck” mentality when we achieve these one to two score leads. We seem to take the foot off the gas and attempt to coast our way to a victory instead of leaving no doubt. On the MM Show after the Charlotte game he said that (and I’m paraphrasing) he called the dogs off… and that anyone who knows him knows that he doesn’t like to run the score up. Well, maybe that philosophy should change, because as we’ve seen (twice) this year, no lead is safe.

    (off my soap box)
    On to the next one!
    Go Dukes!

  13. Dukie95 / Sep 30 2013

    They had a good atmosphere, but I was absolutely floored by the band situation. They were completely self-serving and the football served only to interrupt their farting around.

    The colorguard and drumline were in the practice field during the entire 2nd quarter warming up. Seriously, the drum line was marching drills for 30 minutes, like they were a High School team getting ready for a competition. I assume the band needs this warm-up time because they rarely play during the game. So, what happens when they score while the band is away? They have 5 guys that stay behind in the stands to play the fight song over the PA system. (Actually, they used the PA system with the entire band, too)

    When halftime is over, they come back to the stands, right? Nope. The drumline could be heard playing warm-up exercises outside the stadium during the entire 3rd quarter. Meanwhile, the horn players ran around through the seating section doing God knows what, while the colorguard kept doing their thing on the practice field.

    By the 4th quarter, they were all back again in the stands again. (except for the colorguard, who remained on the practice field because of course they did)

    Our band is great, they’re engaged the entire time, they are the loudest screamers, they play frequently and they don’t use the PA system. I know UD has an excellent music school and I had heard UD had a good band, but they got nothing on the MRDs. We truly have the best band in the CAA.

  14. Shady_P / Sep 30 2013

    Correct, our coaching staff has no killer-instinct – like they are scared they may get accussed of running the score up and let teams hang-around, gain momentum, and then beat us. We get a two score lead and go ultra-conservative on offense and hope to just hang on for the win. That style of football was great 20 years ago, but today football is all about offense and scoring….keep the offense clicking and score as much as you can. The other team has professional coaches it is their job to stop you, not to stop yourself.

  15. Shady_P / Sep 30 2013

    I hate to admit it, but I have now conditioned myself to lose every Saturday from this point forward….so I will be pleasantly surprised if JMU wins.

  16. bulldogg / Sep 30 2013

    Another painful loss. Superior talent, early lead, inability to go for the juglar, get a nice lead and piss it away going all conservative until the house is burning down, then go all Hail Mary. Mickey is incapable of adjusting. Dave Brock is not.

    WE ARE READY!!!! We have been for a few years now. In fact, more ready than anyone else at our level (tie with Ape State), including ODU. Lin Rose held us back for reasons I can’t figure out. Regardless of which conference wins the JMU sweepstakes (CUSA, SBC, or MAC), we will be at or near the top of any of them in terms of both budget and attendance. WE ARE READY!

    Mike O’Cain is a blessing. It seems to me like we DO have an identity…. for one half. Then someone, somewhere (wonder who that could be?) appears to usurp his play-calling authority, and the wheels fall off. Pretty frustrating and I am sick of it. Big Red needs to run more. He needs to watch some ODU tape and perfect the Heineken Slide. Several times he had all kinds of daylight and threw the ball away, or tucked it and got dangerously close to the LOS before dumping to a receiver for a four-yard gain, when it clearly looked like he could have picked up 15 on his own. When he can do that it freezes a defense and creates all kinds of opportunities. I wonder how Albany is enjoying their initiation to the CAA. We won’t humiliate them the way ODU did (66-10), but we will punch them in the neck.

  17. Duke12 / Sep 30 2013

    I played football for JMU a few years ago. Mickey Matthews is a terrible coach and a liar. He is more of an arrogant figure head than a coach. He never really did anything during practices and games but scream and yell profanities. It never motivated anyone, we all just kind of laughed at him behind his back. The coordinators make all of the big decisions at JMU. Also, years ago, it was blatantly obvious to everyone on the team that we were going to get a bit worse in the years to come and that Durden, being the weakest coordinator on the staff, was going to be the scapegoat once things went south. When I heard the news of his firing last year, it was no surprise to me at all. Matthews was just buying himself another year or two with that move, making it look like he is making decisions to make the program better while throwing one of his so called “long time” friends under the bus. But in reality, the program is stagnant because of Mickey Matthews! I know he has some sort of legend status around Hburg, but he really needs to be fired. I feel bad rooting against my old team, but I almost want them to miss the playoffs again this year just to get rid of Matthews. The Akron and Delaware are just proof that Mickey can’t coach.

    I would love to see someone young take over the program, especially if they are considering making the jump to the next level. There is no way Matthews is the guy for the job. His entire strategy is to recruit inner city kids who are borderline criminals, do everything he can to keep them eligible, use them on the field until their eligibility is up, and boot them. I saw him cut two redshirt seniors while I played just to make room for promising prospects, AND I saw him start a freshman, who had no business being on the field, over a solid RSJr just because he promised the kid he would start every game if he picked JMU over two FBS teams. This move impacted our season. He does not care about his players at all, he just cares about getting his NEXT player. At JMU, we need someone with class who can change the reputation of the football program to match the fine reputation of the University.

    Also, a bit off topic, but can we get rid of those terrible uniforms? JMU is an FCS powerhouse and a school with pretty good tradition. Why do we take a generic NIKE modern striped up uniform with junk all over it, which is the same uniform that Houston, Wake Forest, and a few other programs have? It is ugly. When we won the title in 2004 the uniforms were classic looking. Solid Purple and Solid white jerseys, solid gold pants and a solid gold helmet. Then in 2008 we wore alternate solid white pants which were also classy looking, might add one purple and one gold stripe down the side. All the great programs have a look that they are known for: Bama, USC, Texas, Oklahoma, LSU, Florida, Ohio State, Florida State, etc. Lets get traditional, class the place up a bit and change the program for the better.

    Go Dukes

  18. SP 1980 / Sep 30 2013

    I was at the game and ended up sitting on the Delaware side and I gathered a couple of things, we played a great first half, still could have used one of those field goals as a touchdown but that last touchdown should have given them momentum that would have carried most teams through the entire game.
    Birdsong I can only say looked great first half and looked very tentative second half… god he needs to make quicker decisions and never take a 10 yard or more sack. he’s been watching Mansel too much. A guy his size needs to move forward in the pocket not back, he’s not quick enough to keep running back that sack on the goal line lost the game. I also think he goes down way to easy when running the ball I notice a couple of arm tackles that barely touch him he went right down yes he is just a soph but run hard and run forward young man your a big dude punish them or they will punish you!!!
    The defense played a great first half and Robertson was everywhere I had 4 friends with me and we keyed on him every play, he was awesome he only missed to plays both times he got caught in traffic when the QB took off in the middle for 40 and another run up the middle for a big gainer but he was on every other tackle great game. I just checked his stats Wow I was right 16.5 tackles and 4.5 for loss. I would have to say best game I’ve ever seen by a linebacker been watching football since I was 5, father was a head coach. I’m 55 now. I see he got game of the week, he deserved it!
    That punt style didn’t work on the two very crucial points of the game I don’t like it, especially when your down around your 20 or the endzone. The block punt and then the punt out of endzone both terrible that lost the game! when a team puts the block on and that punt takes off so low to the ground everyone is going to put on the block punt on us. That punt was blocked and that guy didn’t even jump he was just standing there watching the punter move to his right and waited.

    I don’t know what happened second half but you got to say we were out coached and special teams were awful every phase of it…

    One last thing: Nine penalties against us to one and most coming on the two crucial drives that tied the game and put them a head by 7. I hate saying these things but 9-1 you figure thats over 100 yards differance. I saw one blantant lousy call on a PF for 15 that our guy did nothing but make a great hard tackle and get up and he got pushed by a Delaware player and than ran off the field, when they showed the reply even the Delaware fans around me were saying no way!!! That play took the ball from the 50 and put it on their 35…BS
    I will leave it as that… BS, I left soon after that, I can’t take watching the officials dictate a game…it leaves a bad taste in your mouth!!!

  19. MRD2012 / Sep 30 2013

    “we truly have the best band in the CAA”

    You spelled “country” wrong, Dukie95

  20. Dukes09 / Sep 30 2013

    Am I the only one who saw what was happening in the trenches on Saturday? I saw a bigger Delaware D-line wear down our O-line and by the time we got to the 4th quarter, they were just simply dominating us at the point of attack. I do think us not running enough in the 2nd half was a little part of it. Also, Delaware’s O-line 30 lb advantage showed up late in the game. Their QB had all day to throw, mainly to the huge TE, which if you have watched JMU over the last several years has been our biggest problem. Now, let get to our young QB Birdsong. I think he has the potential to be great. However, he deserves the most blame. He was indecisive under pressure and totally forgot to look for his best playmaker, #11 D. Scott. He was open in the flats many times in the 2nd half and Birdsong didn’t even look his way. I do not care how young you are as a QB. You always have to know where your best player is on the field.

    As for all the talk of moving up, I am totally against as far as on and off the field. On the field, we are not ready to compete at that level. A game here and there? Sure, we can compete (Akron this year, VT a few years ago). As far as off the field, lets start with recruiting. The fact is with UVA and VT as the two top programs in the state, we will have a hard time recruiting against them for the best players in the state. Ask yourself this, if you are a FBS level talent in VA, where are you going to choose to play? UVA or VT in the ACC, or ODU in C-USA or JMU in whatever Mid-Major conference? Second, Finances is the biggest point here. More scholarships means we have to make more money. There is our problem. We are a good team at the FCS level, but we can’t keep our stadium full now. Raise season ticket prices just to see us struggle to compete? How will that go over with our fans? I have talked to several different season ticket holders who don’t know if they would continue to buy them with a large raise in prices just to watch us struggle to compete. Second, we would have to pay FCS schools to play us and not us getting paid to play FBS schools. I have not even mentioned the lack of passion from the student body since 2008. I also have not mentioned the history our program (pre-2004 anyone?) or the rivalry games that will no longer exist. Look, I know the FCS will not be around forever at the rate things keep changing, but I do not think it is time for us to make this move.

    I believe it would be best for us to stay and put pressure on the CAA to bring in other schools to improve our conference. Maybe raid the Southern conference for the likes of Wofford and Elon. Or raid some of the smaller FCS conferences and get their top dog like they did with Stony Brook and Albany.

  21. Luke / Sep 30 2013

    I’m not sure I agree with the identity point being made here. If you ask me, JMU has had too much identity in the past 4-5 years. It’s been ‘run until we lose and then more’ (and out of the pistol of all things!). Is balance a bad thing? I want us to be a 50/50 run-pass team, especially on first down.

    You guys have also complained about the lack of halftime adjustments. That I agree with. But again, I see failing to adjust at halftime as evidence of relying too heavily on a pre-determined identity. I don’t think we need to know who we are better, I think we need to watch what the damn opponents are doing and then go beat it. We get leads in the first quarter. It’s the opposition’s adjustments that get us, and our failure to respond.

    The game hurt because it felt like ‘same old Dukes’ in the way our hearts were gutted in the second half. Honestly I’m still traumatized from last season, and when I try to remember any JMU game the next day I just have flashes of that near-INT-then-oops-a-TD bobble catch from last year’s ODU games.

    I’m glad to see JMU fall out of the rankings, though. It’s been 4 or 5 straight years of JMU being waaaay overrated in preseason and early season polls. I would’ve dropped us to 25 after we barely scraped by St. Francis. Let’s earn a ranking with some wins over top notch opponents for once.

  22. Luke / Sep 30 2013

    Dukes09, I agreed with you about the CAA up until last year. But with so many schools having left, it feels like we’re going to be the ones left to clean up after the party. The CAA is only valuable insofar as it provides rivalries, consistently strong opposition, and an opportunity for a postseason. Those first two things are in serious jeopardy with the way trends in CFB are going. And if you go into a conference like the MAC, you have a chance at a conference championship game and a bowl, which are almost as cool as playoffs.

    And we are certainly ready to compete. How many D-1 games are close anyway? Half of any team’s season is blowouts, one way or the other. I think you guys overrate how good D-1 teams are. Sure, there’s the SEC, but there’s also the MAC and conferences worse than the MAC. Having grown up around University at Buffalo, one of the ten worst D-1 football programs in America, I’ve had the opportunity to see many bad, bad programs. JMU could beat many of them, and is in a much better position to grow and attract talented prospects than many D-1 schools. UB’s stadium has a giant running track around it, so the fans are always like 50 miles from the game, and that’s the biggest CFB program in NY west of Syracuse.

    Would JMU benefit from having a great year in the CAA before they move up? Absolutely, because you’re right the move will lose the school some season ticket holders up front. But long term it opens up many more opportunities for the school to profit (on the backs of almost-free labor! hooray!) and given the lousy state of some D-1 schools and JMU’s awesome stadium/gameday experience/alumni footprint I don’t think it would take long for JMU to settle in and get quality recruits.

  23. Deacon Danny / Sep 30 2013

    @Dukes09 “…I believe it would be best for us to stay and put pressure on the CAA to bring in other schools to improve our conference. Maybe raid the Southern conference for the likes of Wofford and Elon. Or raid some of the smaller FCS conferences and get their top dog like they did with Stony Brook and Albany.”

    No thank you! At the rate this thing is going, it will not be that long before the CAA resembles the Big South!

  24. Shady_P / Sep 30 2013

    @Dukes09 – “I believe it would be best for us to stay and put pressure on the CAA to bring in other schools to improve our conference. Maybe raid the Southern conference for the likes of Wofford and Elon. Or raid some of the smaller FCS conferences and get their top dog like they did with Stony Brook and Albany.”

    What are you talking about…..if that’s what we want to do, we should leave the CAA – stay in FCS and go play in the BIG SOUTH, dominate that crappy conference and win the auto-bid 8 out of 10 years. The CAA is now a waste-land.

  25. JT2001 / Oct 1 2013

    It comes down to this.

    Can anyone cite a single example of ANYTHING MM has done since ’08 to keep his job?

    We’ve got a random miracle win a Tech and…..that’s it. We’re not talking about a down year or two. It has been all mediocrity all the time. There is too much money invested in this from the school for the program to operate at a mediocre level. It’s that simple.

    If the players don’t execute well in a gutless and poorly conceived scheme I put that on the coaches. If we truly are physically better week in and week out at some point you can’t wonder why the players get beat. Remember the players change every year but the results seem to always be the same.

  26. JT2001 / Oct 1 2013

    And I agree. It was fun being in the SEC of the I-AA when we competed. But now that we just put out half efforts and seemingly have little to no leadership I’d rather make wholesale changes and move up or find a less competitive conference and dominate it.

  27. 757DukeDawg / Oct 1 2013

    Mickey Matthews is done. He should have been fired after last year. The current situation in Harrisonburg reminds me of Al Groh’s last year at UVA. Mickey is trying to bring in new blood in a last effort to save his ass. The problem is it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day it comes down to the head coach. Everybody knows it’s coming. I could sit here and type reasons why it is time for JMU to go in a new direction until my fingers bleed. If we don’t make the play-offs, he has to go and at this point we will need to win out. Maybe we squeeze in with a loss or two. If anyone out there thinks we are going to win out after watching us collapse against an awful Akron team and an average Delaware team, plus the close call against f’n ST FRANCIS, you are crazy. We’ll be lucky to win six games.

    If this were a business (which it kind of is actually), would you accept results ranging from mediocre to poor with top talent? No. It’s time for a change. I’m good with JMU telling Ole Mickey to pick up his banjo and head back to West Virginia. It might actually inspire the boys a little bit. Who knows? I know it’s not going to happen…until December.

    If you can’t tell I’m over Mickey but I do appreciate what he did for the program. We beat W&M the night before I graduated in what was called at the time “the biggest game in school history”. Two weeks later we won the National Championship. That season redefined our campus and what school pride meant to us. It was awesome to be apart of. Up until ’04, I went to one quarter of a game my freshman year. The game day experience in Harrisburg was dead. ’04 was special. I only wish I would’ve made the trip to TN to see it end. Thank you, Mickey. You built our program into what it is today. If it wasn’t for you and that ’04 run, I wouldn’t be checking the JMU Sports Blog every night before I go to bed.

    To wrap up my old man rant, where do we go next? I know it’s pre-mature grumblings but I’d love to hear thoughts/opinions on the next step. Are there any up & coming, open minded coaches at bigger programs that would be a good fit at JMU? Are there any alumni in the coaching ranks? Think Texas Tech with Klinsbury, is Rascati ready?! I’m just kidding about Rascati but I’m serious as a heart attack about Micky Matthews kicking rocks. Good night.

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