Senior Leaders Hope to Keep Dukes Looking Up

By: Damon Dillman Email
By: Damon Dillman Email

They sky was gray and gloomy Tuesday, and a steady rain fell as the 2-5 James Madison football team began preparations for Delaware.

But senior captain Arthur Moats still had a smile on his face.

Moats admits it's hard to stay positive with his team in the midst of a four-game losing streak.

"But I'm a very optimistic guy," he said. "I always find the positive in situations, and try to make it rub off on my teammates."

"Kids all come back quicker than adults do. I have had to rally the coaches a little bit," said head coach Mickey Matthews, who is on pace for his first losing season at JMU since 2002. "But as far as the players, they're down on Sunday and Monday. But by Tuesday they're back and ready to go."

"You grow up a lot in a season like this," said another senior captain, tight end Mike Caussin. "It's just unfortunate that it had to be my senior year."

The Dukes' five losses are more than the last past two regular seasons combined. The program's streak of three consecutive FCS playoff appearances is also expected to end this fall.

"Ever since I've been here we've been a winning program," said Caussin. "Going to the playoffs, stuff like that."

"When you look at our program, we have a winning tradition," said senior Dorian Brooks. "And for us to lose like that, it's hard on us as a team because we expect so much out of each other, and out of our team."

"It's definitely making us closer," said Moats. "We never had to endure such a losing season before, so it's a little different to everyone."

Matthews says he leans on his seniors, and the captains in particular, for leadership within the JMU program.

"I meet with those guys a lot," he said. "From what uniform we're wearing on Saturday, and what we're going to have for lunch."

"As a captain, you've got to corral the team together," said Brooks. "Let them know that even though you lose, you still get another week to play and to prove yourselves."

"Keep giving guys confidence," said Caussin. "Don't think about the last game. Yeah, we lost; yeah, maybe you didn't play as well. But move on to the next week. It's another week to get better and play well."

"You would much rather go home after winning four straight than go home after losing four straight. We don't want to go home saying that we're 2-10 or whatever," said Moats. "I mean, we'd much rather be 6-5, end it on a winning note, and just look forward to next season."

"The saying we use around here a lot is, 'Tough times never last, but tough people do,'" said Matthews. "So it's tough around here, but we'll come out of this all right."


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