Matthews Won't Rule Out QB Change at JMU

By: Damon Dillman Email
By: Damon Dillman Email

Change could be on the way for the floundering James Madison offense.

"When you throw for five yards in three quarters, you're probably going to talk about making some changes, you know," coach Mickey Matthews said Monday at his weekly press conference.

That answer was in response to a question about whether Matthews is contemplating a change in play-callers. That job currently belongs to offensive coordinator Jeff Durden.

But Matthews wouldn't rule out a change at quarterback either, after fifth-year senior Drew Dudzik struggled again in Saturday's 13-10 overtime loss at Richmond that was the final nail in JMU's playoff chances.

"Certainly there's talk of changing quarterbacks. Drew needs to play better," Matthews said. "And it's not an easy situation, because we have two games left. He didn't play his best game. He needs to play better."

Dudzik was just six-of-15 passing against the Spiders, with two interceptions and two sacks, including a disastrous 14-yard loss in overtime that knocked JMU out of field goal range.

"Did we talk on the headset? Yes, we did," Matthews said when asked if the coaching staff discussed benching Dudzik at Richmond. "Obviously we didn't do it."

True freshman Jace Edwards has been Dudzik's backup since a knee injury ended Justin Thorpe's sophomore season in the Dukes' opening win against Morehead State.

"With Justin being out, there's just a lot of variables that have to be decided," said Matthews. "I don't know if there's an easy answer.

"Obviously, we don't think he is [ready], or we'd have put him in the game," Matthews said of Edwards. "But it's getting so late."

Edwards has not appeared in a game this season, and the JMU coaching staff is reluctant to burn his redshirt with two games remaining on the schedule.

Matthews also pointed out that the Dukes recently changed their approach offensively, abandoning the pistol formation they used earlier in the year, including during their upset of Virginia Tech.

Going away from the pistol, going back to the other option. That's something that Drew's very comfortable with," he said. "Jace hasn't even ran those plays."

But Matthews wouldn't rule out an Edwards appearance, either.

"I've never really been a guy that coaches for next year. I've never been one of those guys," he pointed out. "Obviously, we've burned so many redshirts this year, and we've burned redshirts in the past when we thought it could help us win games.

"Sometimes things, they do not make sense," Matthews added. "You just have to do them."


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