FIELD NOTES: No Distractions

Greg Madia, Publisher
Dukes of JMU
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JMU Athletic Communications

HARRISONBURG – Mike Houston said his James Madison squad “understands what’s important, and what’s not important.”

During the Colonial Athletic Association coaches teleconference on Monday, the second-year Dukes coach reiterated what he already said about ESPN’s College GameDay coming to Harrisonburg.

No. 1 JMU hosts Villanova at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

He added the team would lean on its older players like quarterback Bryan Schor and safety Raven Greene for guidance on avoiding distractions.

“The big thing that all of them have been adamant about is not allowing the team not to get caught up the way it did two years ago,” Houston said.

“I think what we’ll see this week is a team that’s extremely focused.”

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- Houston said those seniors dealt with distractions late last season. “I think a good thing to keep in mind is that this is a team that went through a pretty high-profile playoff run last year,” he said.

- JMU is coming off its bye week. Houston said the team handled the off week well. JMU practiced some and recharged for the second half of its schedule. The team got a few days off when the coaches went out recruiting, but returned Sunday for a practice.

- The Dukes beat Villanova 20-7 last year in Philadelphia. Houston called the game “not only a turning point for our defense, but for our program.” That day JMU clinched the outright CAA title.

- During last season’s contest against the Wildcats, JMU quarterback Bryan Schor got hurt and was replaced by then-true freshman Cole Johnson. Houston said the defense rallied and responded to help the team secure the victory.

- Houston said he expects this Saturday to be very similar with both defenses playing well entering the game.

- Villanova comes off a 31-0 shutout win over Maine. The Wildcats are 4-2 overall this season.

- First-year coach Mark Ferrante said Villanova will start redshirt freshman quarterback Jack Schetelich at the position this week. The team’s starter entering the season was Zach Bednarczyk, who the Dukes played against last year, but Bednarczyk got hurt a few weeks ago and is still out.

- Ferrante said Schetelich and Villanova’s offense will be challenged by JMU’s defense. The Wildcats coach said his quarterback must be able to read passing coverage and recognize blitzes in order to execute the offense.

- As far as Villanova’s perspective on College GameDay being in town, Ferrante said it’s good exposure for JMU, Villanova and the league, but added he has no idea what ESPN’s plan for GameDay is because no one has reached out to him yet.

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