FIELD NOTES: Sizing Up JMU's Defense From An Opponent's View

Greg Madia, Publisher
Dukes of JMU

JMU Athletic Communications

NEWARK, Del. – Not only did James Madison’s defense force Delaware into three turnovers, but the Dukes disrupted the Blue Hens’ offense from start to finish.

JMU recorded three sacks and five tackles for loss as a team.

Delaware offensive lineman Brody Kern said the different blitzes JMU brings get an opposing offense out of rhythm.

“They move a lot,” Kern, the Hens’ center said afterward having spent the afternoon trying to recognize where the blitzes were coming from. “They will walk their safety, Jordan Brown, up and they bring a lot of pressure, especially from the outside.

“Those [defensive line] guys are quick slanters and they do a nice job.”

Delaware coach Danny Rocco, who has coached against JMU’s defense in each of the last few seasons, said there is one big difference with this year’s unit compared to the ones prior to coach Mike Houston and defensive coordinator Bob Trott’s arrival at the school.

“You’d always say they’re very talented on defense,” Rocco said. “I think now they’re still very talented, but they’re also sound. They’re not going to give up big plays, big chunks.”

Trott worked for Rocco at Richmond up until joining Houston’s staff in Harrisonburg.


- Rocco added in year’s past against JMU him and his staffs thought JMU’s defenses were undisciplined, but that isn’t the case anymore. Rocco said that started to change last year when Trott arrived at JMU.

- Seven different JMU defenders had at least four tackles on Saturday. Senior inside linebacker Brandon Hereford led the team with 11 tackles in his first game back from suspension.

- Hereford, who also registered a sack, was one of three plays back from suspension who saw significant action for the Dukes. Senior wide receiver Terrence Alls had three catches for 25 yards and senior right guard Nick Edwards got the start in place of an injured sophomore Gerren Butler.

- Butler, senior wide receiver John Miller (injury), junior linebacker Dimitri Holloway (injury) and senior tight end Jonathan Kloosterman (illness) did not play.

- When asked if JMU needed a defensive touchdown in order to win on Saturday at Delaware, second-year Dukes coach Mike Houston had a simple response. “I don’t about needed, but I’m glad we got it,” Houston said.

- Defensive end Andrew Ankrah’s 23-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown was the first touchdown of his career. It was also the first defensive touchdown for the Dukes this year.

- Junior defensive end Darrious Carter had a sack in the game giving him two for the season, which matches his 2016 season total.

- Both Houston and Rocco said the wind played a factor on Saturday. Houston said the wind made it difficult to kick and throw the ball, which led to JMU running the football 54 times compared to throwing it 19 times.

- JMU junior running back Trai Sharp carried the ball 36 times for 185 yards and a touchdown. It was a career-high in rushing for Sharp. The North Carolina native said as the game went on he could tell it was becoming “a ground game.” He said he trusted his offensive line, which he said did a good job Saturday.

- Rocco said even though JMU quarterback Bryan Schor might not have had the day he wanted throwing the ball, that Schor’s runs on third down, “broke our back.” Those runs extended drives, which prevented Delaware from having as many possession as it wanted to have.

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