November 9, 2012
Injury Updates And A Visit From The President
At about 4:40 p.m. Thursday, new JMU president Jonathan Alger, escorted by athletic director Jeff Bourne and another man I didn't recognize, arrived at football practice. They were dressed in black trench coats and looked like federal agents.
They stood on the sideline in front of the non-renovated side of Bridgeforth Stadium and talked with JMU coach Mickey Matthews for a bit. Then, before Madison went to the kicking portion of practice, Alger addressed the team at midfield for about three minutes. I tried to record what he said, but I was pretty far away and only picked up some of it. Here is what I got.
On JMU's 31-7 win over Maine: "Last week, what a thrill. You put it all together. You had to feel good about that."
Some encouraging words: "We had a game-watch party at our house with some very prominent supporters of the university and everybody was so excited. ...OK, this is what we're going to do for the rest of the season, all right. We've got it figured out."
Visualizing a national championship: "I want you guys to dream big these next couple weeks. Can you do that for me? Dream big. And do me a favor, just for a quick second. I want you all to close your eyes
and this is what I want you to do. Think about that national championship trophy and picture - not just you holding it up, but [you're] surrounded by your teammates, OK? That sense of teamwork. And now, I want you to picture one other thing. Think of some of the people who are special to you.
Think about how much it would mean to them.
Do it for them the next two weeks. OK, you got those images in your mind? Great, you can open eyes. Look around at each other. This is your team; this is your time. I'd love nothing better than to finish out this first year, this first season together by doing the best you possibly can and dreaming big, OK guys? All right, let's do it. Thank you, so much."
Alger left to applause, and the team went back to practicing.
When he said "first year" and "first season," I assume he was referring to himself. This is Alger's first year as JMU's president. He took over for the retired Linwood Rose.
It was a short talk, and I was told it was the first time Alger has spoken to the football team. As you can tell, he didn't say anything controversial, and there was no mention of taking JMU to Division I-A. He just wished them a successful season and left.
Michael Birdsong might be back sooner than expected.
The true freshman quarterback - who injured his right ankle in the final minute of Saturday's game at Maine - said Thursday he expected to have the boot off his foot Sunday and could play again in a few weeks.
At practice, he looked more than spry, playing catch with injured TE/WR Derek Hart (quad) and moving around as well as one can while wearing a boot. Birdsong also didn't have a crutch, which he used earlier in the week.
Offensive tackle Austin Lane, who broke his ankle Sept. 22 at Rhode Island, also is healing quickly. He's walking now and rehabbing a lot in hopes of returning for an early round of the playoffs. Since he's been hurt, Wray Fucci has backed up both tackle positions.
But there was some minor, bad injury news. New No. 2 quarterback Lafonte Thourogood missed practice Thursday because of strep throat. Matthews said he still expected Thourogood to make Saturday's game at Villanova.
In the event Thourogood doesn't, the backup QB job will go to walk-on redshirt-freshman Mack Spees. Tailback Dae'Quan Scott, a former high school quarterback, also is possibility. But, if Scott is under center, JMU will be exclusively a wildcat team.
...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now for a FREE Trial