Category Archives: JMU

JMU’s OC Is One Of Football’s Hottest Coaches And Its QB Is On SportsCenter

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For the 10% of our already small audience that actually cares, HOW ‘BOUT THEM JMU DUKES?

They beat SMU (an actual FBS team!), at SMU, last Saturday with an incredible display of offensive firepower (729 yards!), and now they’re getting pub on the digital pages of SI:

In August 2003, Utah quarterback Brett Elliott led the Utes to a 40-20 victory over Utah State. He opened the scoring with a 12-yard touchdown pass to receiver Larry Miles on a play called Houston. The moment remains notable as it marked the first touchdown of Urban Meyer’s coaching career at Utah.

Twelve years later, Elliott mentioned the touchdown pass as a fitting mile marker on his circuitous route to becoming one of the hot coordinators in college football. Elliott, 32, is in his first season as co-offensive coordinator at FCS James Madison, which pulled off a 48-45 upset of SMU on Saturday night.

If you’ve never heard of Elliott, that’s because he got hurt a week after that victory at Utah State. An under-recruited back-up named Alex Smith took over the starting job, and in 2004 led Utah to an undefeated season and became the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. Realizing he’d have a hard time beating out Smith, Elliott transferred to Division III Linfield for the 2004 season.

[ … ]

He hooked back up with his old quarterback coach at Utah, Dan Mullen, and spent the last three years in Starkville in quality control helping with the quarterbacks. He worked closely with Dak Prescott […] “He’s a very sharp and up-and-coming coach,” Mullen said on Sunday night. “He will be a hot name in coaching soon. He paid his dues the right way, worked hard and is taking advantage of his opportunity.”

Elliott’s big break came when JMU offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer left for Houston last year. JMU head coach Everett Withers is a former defensive coordinator under Meyer at Ohio State. He wanted someone with experience in Meyer’s offense. Elliott walked into an ideal situation, as JMU quarterback Vad Lee, a Georgia Tech transfer, may be the best QB in the FCS. Lee ranks No. 5 in the FCS in passing yards and No. 5 in the FCS in rushing yards.

He reminds Elliott of the quarterback he left behind in Starkville. “There are so many similarities between Vad and Dak,” Elliott said. “From everything on the field to what they’re like off the field. They are like clones.”

[ … ]

It showed in JMU’s signature victory on Saturday, as Lee led the Dukes (4-0) on an eight-play, 75-yard drive for the winning touchdown with 27 seconds left to beat SMU. That leaves JMU as No. 1 in total offense (671.3), No. 2 in scoring offense (50.3) and No. 1 in rushing offense (356.3).

Things are going so well for the Dukes that Lee was selected as ESPN’s Big Man on Campus this week. The SportsCenter segment:

DMV: Georgia Tech’s Starting QB Transferring To JMU (Go Dukes!)

Redshirt sophomore Vad Lee is headed to Harrisonburg. [JMUSB]

Remember when James Franklin and Bill O’Brien were Terps? [Bog]

GW has a big game with VCU tonight, and new unis to boot. [Bog]

RGIII got kind of defensive in a Facebook screed to fans, and Bears TE Martellus Bennett slammed him for it. [FTW, FTW]

Now fans are sending Kirk Cousins wedding gifts too. [Bog]

An ex-Redskin is guaranteed to win a Super Bowl. [John Keim]

Wiz get much-needed win in Chicago with balanced attack. [BF]

Gheorge Muresan makes 6’11” Marcin Gortat look small. [Bog]

O’s sign Delmon Young and Jack Cust to minor league deals. [Sun]

Dylan Bundy targets June 28 for his return. [B’more Sports Report]

Desmond and Machado are among baseball’s best arms. [Score]

DMV: Is Ohio State’s D. Coordinator JMU’s New Head Coach?

Unconfirmed report says Everett Withers is the guy. [FB Scoop, JMUSB]

Jordan Reed now out for the season with a concussion. Scary. [Insider]

Kyle Shanahan refutes that La Canfora report that killed him. [Insider]

On RGIII’s coach-ability. If it wasn’t Keim, I would’t read. [Keim]

Caps rook Tom Wilson avoids suspension for charging. [Puck Daddy]

O’s Balfour signing may not happen due to a shoulder issue. [Sun]

The best D.C. sports moments of 2013. Short list, as usual. [Bog]

(Note: If this seems short, it’s because SB Nation is down this a.m.)

JMU’s Original Duke Dog Mascot Is Truly Horrifying

James Madison unveiled its new basketball court over the weekend, and it prominently features the Duke Dog (see above). FTW calls it “hideous” and SI calls it “not good”, but I disagree, mostly because you can never have too much Duke Dog. (Go Dukes!)

The Duke Dog is a cuddly fuzzball, you see, so much so that my daughter has a toy one somewhere under the mountain of stuffed animals on her bed. But it wasn’t always such a hit with the kids. Here’s how it looked back in 1973, according to JMU’s Duke Dog web page:


The story behind this demon who probably killed both of those cheerleaders and then ate the royal bulldog for dessert is found on another JMU web page that looks like it was designed by one of my Mass Comm classmates in 1998:

The Duke Dog mascot as we know him today first appeared in the 1982-83 basketball season. There had been an earlier version of the Duke Dog mascot. A wild-eyed – and totally unconvincing – mascot first appeared in the 1972-73 basketball season but failed to generate any support for continued existence.

I wonder why it “failed to generate any support for continued existence”? Probably because co-eds kept disappearing in the Shenandoah Valley.

In any event, let this be a reminder that mascots are frightening and will haunt you forever, even those that are 40 years gone and hardly existed to begin with.

DMV: One Of JMU’s Finest Tweaks One Of The Biogenesis Boys

Former JMU pitcher Dan Meyer, who had a five-year MLB career, is not happy about having lost his job to a PED user. [FTW]

Nats lose series opener to Atlanta, fall 13.5 games back. [CSN Washington]

The kinda-hurt Jayson Werth named NL Player the Month. [Nats Journal]

Gio dodged the Biogenesis bullet. So that’s something. [Nats Journal]

Nick Markakis has really declined and is now overpaid. [Camden Chat]

Our old friend Luke Scott has an amazing rat rail now. [FTW]

Mike Shanahan has a plan for RGIII, and he’s sticking to it. [The Insider]

Chris Cooley sounds genuinely excited to be on sports talk radio. [Bog]

John Wall will work out with Gary Payton. Awesome. [ProBasketballTalk]

Stefon Diggs showed up at Terps media day with some Tupac hair. [Bog]

Three storyline for JMU football heading into the season. [JMU Sports Blog]

UVA’s offer letter contained a spelling error, which is funny. [FTW]

Washington Post sold to billionaire. At least it wasn’t Snyder. [WaPo]

JMU May Be Leaving The CAA Too

I’m not going to pretend to know the particulars of this, and JMU Sports Blog has a very good rundown of it, but the CAA is crumbling and it sounds like JMU may be moving to the Sun Belt Conference. That is, if Western Kentucky is moving on to C-USA. So nothing is definitely happening here.

My know-nothing reactions to that would be two-fold, though:

1. D-1/FBS football! Sweet! There are two schools of thought, but I’d rather the Dukes be a top-division bottom-feeder than a second-division power.

2. Who are these guys? I’m only vaguely aware of most of the Sun Belt schools (sure are Southern, though!), but it’s not like GMU, Richmond, VCU or ODU are still in the CAA anyway.

In any event, JMU has to do something, and it’ll probably be driven by football. The Sun Belt’s not the MAC, but it’d do.

Continue reading JMU May Be Leaving The CAA Too

JMU Comes Up Just 21 Short

Indiana ran away with the first half (43-22), but JMU kept it even in the second (40-40) before losing in the NCAA Tournament to the top-seeded Hoosiers, 83-62. That was a fun sentence to write, despite the loss.

I hope I get to write something like it again sometime soon. With freshman Andre Nation (above) and Charles Cooke combining for 42 points against Indiana, maybe I will. Maybe it’ll be even better, but this sure was fun.

JMU Is In The Final 64!

Not only did JMU get into the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 19 years, but now they have their first NCAA Tournament win in 30 years. This is fun.

Freshman Andre Nation was a beast, putting up 14, seven and five (blocks!), and 25-year-old senior A.J. Davis was A.J. Davis, scoring 20 from inside and out as the Dukes mostly led LIU wire-to-wire. Their reward? No. 1-seeded Indiana in Dayton at 4:10 ET on Friday.

But let’s remember this one. The game was on national TV (well, truTV) and called by Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg, which was odd. The opponent was from the same conference as Robert Morris, which knocked off Kentucky in the NIT. And JMU looked superior, with size, athleticism and poise, despite a lot of “jaw-jackin'” going on. Plus, it was fun hearing Nantz award victory to “the Dukes of the Shenandoah Valley.”

You could say, so what, it’s a “First Four” game, whatever that is. Or you could say, JMU WON AN NCAA TOURNAMENT GAME. I choose the latter, and it makes all the difference.

(GIF taken with love from SB Nation, which should be renamed Andre Nation.)