It was an interesting choice of practice attire for James Madison head coach Mickey Matthews
A simple white t-shirt, with the phrase "Beat JMU" emblazoned in big, block, purple letters.
The entire JMU coaching staff was wearing the shirts at practice on Thursday.
"It was a surprise when I came out. I was like, 'Wow, alright. Beat JMU. Okay,'" says senior defensive end Arthur Moats.
"I thought it was a joke at first. But then I turned around and saw every coach had it on," says senior defensive tackle Sam Daniels. "So I don't know. I don't know what Coach Matthews is doing."
The players say the JMU coaches have been stressing all week that the Dukes will be entering a hostile environment when they visit Liberty Saturday.
"They said it's going to be like a Super Bowl for them. Twenty-thousand people there, and just crazy," says senior tight end Charlie Newman. "They says it's going to be one of the best atmospheres we play in all year."
"We like that. That's what we want," says Moats. "We want everybody to be aiming for us, trying to knock us off. It makes us play harder."
"We're JMU," adds Moats. "Of course they're going to be fired up to play us."
The coaching staff's wardrobe was another reminder to JMU's players. Earlier in the week, Matthews told his team that Liberty coach Danny Rocco was wearing a similar shirt, a purple t-shirt that read "Beat JMU," following the Flames' win at Lafayette last weekend.
"They had enough nerve to go out there and put the shirt on," says Daniels. "So I guess when our coaches do it, it kind of makes you go out there and think about it a lot."
"I mean, I wasn't expecting it at all, but I like it," says Newman. "It's going to get us a little fire under our belt."
"We just took it as motivation," says Moats with a wide smile. "Now, I guess they went a little overboard now with these shirts."