HARRISONBURG, Va., March 21, 2011 - The James Madison football team begins its spring practice period Friday (March 25), opening a nearly five-week workout period in preparation for the 2011 season. The workouts will include the "Dukes Tackle the State Capital" event in Richmond, Va., Sat., April 16 at SportsQuest, which will also have a fan event following the practice and scrimmage.
NCAA rules allow Division I football programs up to 15 spring practices to be completed within a 34-day span. Limitations also are set on the number of practices that are allowed to be full-contact sessions.
"The number one objective of our spring training is to establish our starting quarterback," Head Coach Mickey Matthews said. "Our next objective is to improve in all phases of offensive football."
The Dukes' spring workouts, other than the event in Richmond, will be held at the team's practice facility on the north edge of campus, near JMU's old baseball stadium, and at the University Recreation Center's turf playing fields because of the construction underway at JMU's Bridgeforth Stadium/Zane Showker Field. The current phase of construction requires that the playing field at Bridgeforth Stadium/Zane Showker Field be covered to protect it for use during the upcoming 2011 season.
JMU will conduct week-day workouts at 4 p.m. and Saturday sessions and scrimmages will vary by location and time. All sessions are open to the public, and a full spring schedule is listed below. Weather conditions can dictate whether practice is held on a particular day, and up-to-date schedule information can be obtained by calling the JMU football office at 540/568-6517.
Bridgeforth Stadium/Zane Showker Field is in the second phase of a construction project that will increase its seating capacity to approximately 25,000. Construction on the second phase began shortly after the end of JMU's 2010 season, and the current being completed in time for the Dukes' 2011 season.
During spring drills, JMU will be preparing for an 11-game 2011 season where they will face eight Colonial Athletic Association opponents, including conference newcomer Old Dominion. The Dukes will meet a Football Bowl Subdivision team for the fourth-straight season in the Sept. 3 opener at North Carolina, the second time the programs' will have met on the gridiron. The Duke's other FBS foes during recent seasons have included West Virginia (2004), Duke (2008), Maryland (2009), and last season's dramatic win at Virginia Tech (2010).
In non-conference play, Madison will take on Football Championship Subdivision opponents in Central Connecticut State (home, Sept. 10) and Liberty (away, Sept . 17). The Dukes will have an off week after the Oct. 15 game with Villanova and will play CAA foes for eight consecutive weeks following the Sept. 17 game with Liberty.
JMU's Homecoming will take place around the football team's Oct. 1 game with Richmond, while JMU's Oct. 15 game with Villanova will take place during the university's Family Weekend. JMU's CAA schedule includes each of the league's other 10 football-playing members except for Towson and Delaware.
JMU is coming off a 6-5 season in 2010, and the Dukes have a 55-20 record during the last six seasons. Madison closed the 2010 season with two consecutive victories, including a win over then-No. 1 William & Mary.
JMU Spring Practice Schedule
Fri., March 25 - No Pads - 4 p.m.
Tues., March 29 - No Pads - 4 p.m.
Thurs., March 31 - Pads - 4 p.m.
Fri., April 1 - Pads - 4 p.m.
Sat., April 2 - Pads - 12:30 p.m.
Tues., April 5 - Pads - 4 p.m.
Wed., April 6 - Pads - 4 p.m.
Fri., April 8 - Pads - 4 p.m.
Sat., April 9 - Scrimmage - 12:30 p.m.
Tues., April 12 - Pads - 4 p.m.
Thurs., April 14 - Pads - 4 p.m.
Fri., April 15 - JMU Football Alumni Golf Tournament
Sat., April 16 - "Dukes Tackle the State Capital" (SportsQuest - Richmond, Va.) - Practice/Scrimmage - 1:15 p.m.
Tues., April 19 - Pads - 4 p.m.
Wed., April 20 - No Pads - 4 p.m.
Fri., April 22 - Scrimmage - 4 p.m.
2011 JMU Schedule
Sept. 3 - at North Carolina
Sept.10 - Central Connecticut State
Sept. 17 - at Liberty
Sept. 24 - at William & Mary*
Oct. 1 - Richmond* (Homecoming)
Oct. 8 - Maine*
Oct. 15 - Villanova* (Family Weekend)
Oct. 29 - at Old Dominion*
Nov. 5 - at New Hampshire*
Nov. 12 - Rhode Island*
Nov. 19 - at Massachusetts*