Injuries will sideline JMU trio against William & Mary

HARRISONBURG – James Madison University has been mostly injury free most of the season but that changed in a big way on Saturday.

The Dukes had three players suffer injuries, which will keep them out of this week’s contest with William & Mary. The most notable of those is quarterback Vad Lee.

The redshirt senior suffered a foot injury in the fourth quarter Saturday, and JMU head coach Everett Withers said in his weekly press conference Monday that Lee is out indefinitely. Withers said Lee will have an MRI this week on his foot.

“It will be week-to-week with Vad, and we’ll see how it goes,” Withers said.

JMU wide receiver John Miller was taken off the field on a stretcher in Saturday’s 59-49 loss to the University of Richmond. Withers said he was taken to U.Va. Medical Center on Saturday, but was released and was at a team meeting on Sunday. He said Miller suffered a “muscle injury in his trap area” and will see a spine specialist this week, just as a precaution. He said that he will be out for a while.

JMU true freshman Charles Tutt suffered a broken left fibula during Saturday’s loss and is out for the season. He will have surgery on Thursday.

JMU back-up quarterback Bryan Schor will get the start on the road against William & Mary this Saturday. Schor threw for 73 yards on 4 for 6 passing in the loss to Richmond and also had 18 yards rushing with one rushing and one passing touchdown.

Withers said he has confidence in Schor this week.

“Bryan has done an unbelievable job all year long,” Withers said. “He practices the same offense that Vad practices. He doesn’t do anything any different. Obviously, in the ballgame we go down and we score twice with him in the ballgame. So our expectations aren’t any different for Bryan Schor.”

Controlling the lines: Withers said the biggest key to JMU’s loss to Richmond was not being able to control both sides of the line of scrimmage.

The Dukes were unable to run the ball effectively, while also giving up over 300 rushing yards to the Spiders. Richmond tailback Jacobi Green had 236 yards rushing on 27 carries and five touchdowns.

“I told our team on Friday it was going to be the team that controlled the line of scrimmage that was going to win the game,” Withers said. “They controlled both line of scrimmage’s – therefore you win the game. Great job by (Green). I could have run through some of the holes that he ran through. I’m not going to take anything away from them. They did an unbelievable job of controlling the line of scrimmage and doing a great job with play-action passes on early downs. They had a great plan.”

Withers said practice on Sunday went well, but it was a hard practice for the players.

“Typically when you lose it’s not warm and fuzzy on Sunday,” Withers said. “It was a really hard day for them. We’re very direct. I’m a very direct coach. I tell you when you screw it up. I tell them when I screw it up. … We’re going to put them in some competitive situations this week, and it will be a very, very good practice week for us. I expect us to be a better football team this week.”

GameDay experience: ESPN’s “College GameDay” came to JMU last week and the show was a success, with many of the analysts saying how impressed they were with JMU.

Withers said he was very proud and happy with the way the fans handled themselves throughout the week. He said it was also a great time for the football program as a whole, despite the loss on the field.

“We probably had 35 recruits at the ballgame,” I think we had all but two of our 14 commits at the ballgame. They got a great atmosphere. They got a great GameDay experience. They got to see two really good teams. If it doesn’t help recruiting then something’s wrong.”

JMU’s players showed up during a segment of the three-hour show on Saturday and Withers did a live interview.

JMU senior offensive lineman Austin Lane said he didn’t think having GameDay there was a distraction for them leading into the game.

“I think generally our team did a good job handling all the buzz around campus this week,” Lane said after Saturday’s game. “It was awesome to see JMU Nation out and they did a great job. I’m really proud of the fans and the way they handled the entire week, and they really showed up.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com