Matthews: Dudzik Has "Upper Hand" in QB Battle

By: Damon Dillman Email
By: Damon Dillman Email

It's a question Mickey Matthews has answered countless times, and will continue to hear for the foreseeable future.

At his press conference Wednesday to discuss James Madison's 2010 recruiting class, Matthews briefly addressed his team's quarterback situation entering upcoming spring practice.

Rising senior Drew Dudzik and rising sophomore Justin Thorpe will enter the spring competing for JMU's starting job for the second straight year.

"I would think probably Drew would have a little bit of an upper hand, by the fact of how the five games went," Matthews said Wednesday. "But certainly you've got to give Justin credit. He played really well the last two or three games."

After competing throughout last spring and summer, Dudzik and Thorpe entered the 2009 season rotating at quarterback. The rotation came to an abrupt end when Dudzik suffered a season-ending foot injury early in the second half of JMU's October 10 loss to Richmond.

"It was a little crazy," Matthews said Wednesday. "We pretty much made the decision at halftime of the Richmond game, Drew was going to finish the game. All of a sudden he goes out and breaks his foot three plays later."

Thorpe took the remainder of the season's snaps at quarterback. After struggling in losses to Villanova and William & Mary, the Dukes failed to score a touchdown for the first 12 quarters after Dudzik's injury, Thorpe guided the team to four straight wins to close the season and was named CAA Offensive Rookie of the Year.

"I know a lot more about both guys than I did after through those five games, watching them," Matthews said. ""It's only fair that you let them go through the spring. See how far each guy's progressed."

Kavon Seaton, who redshirted as a true freshman, was JMU's third quarterback last season. And the position got even more crowded Wednesday when the Dukes added incoming freshmen Jace Edwards and Henry Hunter.

On Wednesday, Matthews wouldn't rule out the possibility of Edwards or Hunter playing in 2010 as a true freshman.


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