Nov 9 / jmusport

Guest Post: A Mike Houston Football Team

Jason Kennedy won our prediction contest for the 3rd time last week. Here’s his piece on what makes a Mike Houston football team, the disappointing F lot situation, and the importance of family.

As a third time winner of the prediction contest it was harder to come up with a topic for my guest post this time around.  As you can see my post is more a stream of consciousness/randomness piece more than anything specific so hopefully its worth the read.

As Dukes football is the primary focus of the fanbase at this time of year I definitely wanted to write at least a portion of the post about it even if many of the previous guest posters and of course Rob and Todd have already covered it. But I do agree with many of the salient points that have been made about the current team’s style / personality as it relates to both previous teams and how it impacts this years playoffs. Let’s all just take a big collective breath and embrace the 2017 team for what it is. Coach Houston has done such an amazing job in less than 2 seasons and has done it with many players he didn’t recruit. The talent of course is there as it has been for many years, but lets not forget the effort it takes to establish chemistry and an identity and that usually occurs over many consecutive years with the same coaching staff, i.e. Mickey’s way for so many years. Right or wrong, you can’t argue with the fact that with as many years Mickey was at JMU he had established a culture or style that we all for the most part grew accustomed to. Then you get a complete change with Withers and then another one with Houston. My overall assessment based on less than two full seasons is that this team is shaping into somewhat of a hybrid between the two previous coaching tenures.  

We have the defense that was similarly dominant for the most part of Mickey’s years but we have a much better offense than he had most seasons. And while we don’t have quite the same level of Wither’s offense, we have definitely enough to win games and well, lets be honest any defense is better than what we had with Withers but ours is leaps and bounds better. By the way if you look back at last years team, there were some games that we squeaked by and got a little lucky, which is always a key part of any long winning streak – breaks go your way sometimes even when you are dominant. So what I am saying is even last year as great as it was, I believe this year could be, when looking back after it is over, be better.  

Coach Houston leads with integrity and it shows on the field through determination and effort even through bouts of adversity. I haven’t booked it yet as to not jinx, but a flight to the south-central part of the US in January may be in my future.

Related to football, but more about the guest post brought up a few weeks ago about some rude or inappropriate JMU fans, I noticed JMU Athletics sent out a notice about F lot at Convo Center and how there was some unfortunate behavior displayed with full beer cans being thrown at police and other first responders. Even though I risk sounding like the old man almun, I think its important to just reiterate that JMU Nation is better than this, and if it was something that did occur by a student or JMU alum then it needs to stop because there is no room for that kind of behavior towards those who are trying to go help others in need.

Speaking of the Convocation Center, I have heard and read some amazing things about the new facility. Hopefully we will have a men’s team that is able to draw the 8,600 people it would take to fill it. I understand its going to probably be a rough road this year for the men’s team but hopefully some of the transfers can bring some kind of life into a team that hasn’t performed very well in the past few seasons. I went to JMU when Lou Rowe was a player and have many fond memories of his game as he was one of the better players to come through the doors when I was a student. My thoughts are that he needs another year or two at least to establish himself from a recruiting standpoint. Hopefully whenever the new Convo opens it will help improve recruiting, much as the new BFS has helped in some fashion with football. Unfortunately it won’t move forward with construction until the $12 million is raised, which is apparently only at 59% right now, so that is still an uncertainty.

Uncertainty and change is almost as guaranteed in life as death and taxes and while its not always easy to accept change or deal with the anxiety of uncertainty, its always good to know when you have someone or some group of people in your life that you can count on. Since I last wrote my previous post in October 2016, I have gone through a tough set of personal things in my life, but knowing that my brother, a JMU alum too, has been there for me has meant a lot. He and I had some good memories of JMU and still do enjoy talking JMU sports and hope that everyone had a sibling or best friend as great as him in their lives. We don’t see each other as much as we used to due to distance but no matter how far away we can always talk Dukes football or basketball or any sport for that matter and that is another great thing about being a Dukes fan and alum. In closing, I just want to wish everyone in JMU Nation a wonderful holiday season with your family and friends and hope to see you all in Frisco in January!!

Keep rootin’ and Go Dukes!!


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  1. 07Duke / Nov 9 2017

    Great post! Go Dukes!

  2. Drake / Nov 9 2017

    Great post. I share many of the same thoughts. One thing I’ve been impressed with is Coach Houston’s comments on certain players not being where they need to be in regards to grades. It’s one thing to have a successful program on the field, but it’s more impressive to have them be successful in class as well.

    I think the players have adjusted well to the coaching changes and that’s where you see the defensive dominance from the playoffs until now.

    I look forward to the playoffs and I’m really on the fence about Friday games. On one hand, I loved coming home from work and immediately start drinking and watching JMU. On the other hand, I hope to make it to a playoff game and a Saturday game would help immensely.

  3. Jay / Nov 9 2017

    Great Post! I agree with the comments on the behavior in the upper Convo lot. We are better than that. Coach Houston is amazing and we are very lucky to have him. Go Dukes!

  4. cabdallas / Nov 9 2017

    Great post. You may have missed this announcement. The money for the convocation was raised and the ground breaking is this spring. The players that are freshmen the is year will play in it, as it opens in the fall of 2020.

  5. Drake / Nov 9 2017

    Since they raised that money, now let’s work on raising the money to complete the student side of the stadium, even if it’s to match the end-zone section.

  6. maddukes98 / Nov 9 2017

    @cabdallas – yes I must have missed that, thanks for updating and sharing. My bad. I was using this site: for my info and I should have done a little more investigative journalism! 🙂 LOL.

    Glad to hear the news about the naming rights and that its moving forward pretty soon by construction standards.

  7. Herb / Nov 9 2017

    Excellent post.

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