JMU football kicks off spring practice

JMU football kicks off spring practice
JMU football kicks off spring practice(WHSV)
Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 3:59 PM EDT
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JMU football kicks off spring practice

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - It is officially spring football season in Harrisonburg as James Madison began spring practices on Thursday morning at Bridgeforth Stadium.

After a historic Sun Belt debut that saw the Dukes go 8-3 overall and earn their first Top 25 National Ranking in program history, JMU will be entering this season with a target on its back. The Dukes have moved from a newcomer in the Sun Belt to an established conference power.

Redshirt senior offensive lineman Nick Kidwell emphasized the shift in mindset throughout last season that helped the Dukes end 2022 with a 47-7 romp over one of the top Sun Belt squads, Coastal Carolina.

“Going into last year, we didn’t know what we were expecting,” said Kidwell. “Once we played the first few games we realized it was just regular football... the game we’ve been playing since we got here.”

JMU head coach Curt Cignetti will be adding 30 new faces to the program before the 2023 fall campaign, including 10 mid-year transfers who made their practice debut in the purple and gold. Cignetti said he expects production from returning players as well, especially redshirt student-athletes who did not start in past seasons.

“There are guys who haven’t gotten a lot of snaps that we think have a future,” said Cignetti. “Reps are important because they learn by doing. In the grand scheme of things, we’re developing players and trying to keep our guys healthy so we can head into the fall at full force.”

After missing last spring season due to injury, Kidwell returns to the field this spring with limited practice times. The Dukes will have a four-way quarterback battle to replace Todd Centeio, who is preparing for the upcoming NFL Draft.

The Dukes will be in action for the Spring Game on April 22 at 1 p.m. at Bridgeforth Stadium.