Withers Looking To Change Culture At JMU Football

HARRISONBURG, VA. (WHSV) -- JMU football is only in day two of practice for the 2014 season. In fact, by the time the Dukes take the field in College Park, Maryland for their season opener, the team will have practiced 29 times, with the goal of just becoming a better football team than they are now.

Head coach Everett Withers knows that change isn't easy, especially for a program that's been led by Mickey Matthews for 15 seasons before Withers was hired last December.

But after a 6-6 campaign in 2013, and missing the playoffs for the fourth time in the last five years, Withers is looking to take James Madison in another direction. Withers noted that talent isn't the issue on this team. But rather, it's how the dukes have played in recent years that Withers wants to leave in the past.

"Anytime you're new, you come into a situation where you feel like there's some things that you need to change. How you do academics. How you monitor your kids both on and off the field. The accountability aspect of things,” Withers said.

“Those are the things we felt like we had to blow up. Not saying that what was going on before us was wrong. It was just not the way we do things. But I feel like our kids have done an unbelievable job with accepting the transition."

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