Cignetti looking for ‘business-like’ approach as Dukes prep for Virginia

There’s excitement in Harrisonburg as James Madison prepares to face Virginia for the first time in 40 years.
Published: Sep. 6, 2023 at 12:25 AM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - There’s excitement in Harrisonburg as James Madison prepares to face Virginia for the first time in 40 years.

There’s expected to be a variety of emotions on Saturday afternoon. In addition to the excitement from James Madison, Virginia will hold a pregame ceremony to honor the three players: Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis, and D’Sean Perry, who were tragically killed last November after a class field trip.

Saturday’s game marks the first home game for UVA since that tragedy.

Virginia plans to wear stickers on their helmets honoring the three players while one endzone will feature the ‘UVA Strong’ logo.

James Madison head coach Curt Cignetti says it’s important for his team to stay level headed.

“We want to take emotion out of the equation this week in our preparation. Be very detailed and have a great week of prep,” said Cignetti. “We have to play the game with great discipline, poise, play smart, and never too high, never too low. Don’t be emotional in this game. We have to have a very business like focused approach.”

Kickoff on Saturday is slated for noon.

Beating the Heat

Due to the heat wave in Harrisonburg the next few days, JMU is moving their practices to the evening the next few days, according to Cignetti. He mentioned there are restrictions when temperatures rise to a certain level when athletic restrictions are implemented.

“You got to adjust and improvise,” said Cignetti, adding five players have night classes on the team.

Receiving votes

JMU received one vote in the AP Top 25 and the US LBM Coaches Poll.

News and Notes

Cignetti touched on a number of topics at his weekly Tuesday night press conference, including:

  • The challenges Virginia presents
  • Facing UVA and the importance to the JMU fanbase
  • Jordan McCloud’s development at quarterback
  • Losing running back Solomon Vanhorse and defensive lineman Abi Nwabuoku-Okonji to injuries on Saturday against Bucknell

You can watch Cignetti press conferences below.

Curt Cignetti speaks with the media ahead of James Madison's game against Virginia