Starting week strong point of emphasis for JMU

James Madison head coach Curt Cignetti wants better execution during Tuesday practices to set the tone for the rest of the week.
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 12:19 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The James Madison football team doesn’t face Utah State until Saturday but the work week begins much sooner for the Dukes.

You may remember last week leading into the matchup against Troy when JMU head coach Curt Cignetti was critical of the team’s Tuesday practice, saying his team lacked energy.

Cignetti admitted during the Sun Belt Coach’s Media Call on Monday the practice didn’t go as badly as it was communicated. However, he did stress the importance of starting the work week strong.

“We have to up our standards collectively on how we start the Tuesday practice with the details,” says Cignetti. “It’s amazing when you watch and grade the tape from Saturday that don’t do the little details, it’s the same guys on Tuesday. We got a lot of them that do it right, we need more of them that do it right.

Cignetti added the energy level is great to start the week but he wants the execution to tighten up.

“We control what happens on Saturday,” says Cignetti. “We got to make sure we’re not sleep walking into an ambush.”

Hitting the road

The Dukes will play their third straight game away from Bridgeforth Stadium on Saturday, quite a rare feat.

Cignetti said the Dukes returned from Troy around 4 a.m. Sunday morning and expect to return from Utah State around 7 or 8 a.m. on Sunday.

“I think it’s hard on the players and it’s hard on the coaches too. It’s part of the j-o-b,” said Cignetti. “How we ended up with three away games in a row without a bye week, I don’t know. I guess that’s part of our transition penalty,” Cignetti said jokingly.

Playing at altitude

While the Dukes will arrive home from Utah State early Sunday, they’ll leave late on Friday. The strategy revolves around the altitude at Utah State. Logan, Utah sits more than 4,500 feet above sea level.

“We went out there a couple years ago against Weber [State],” said Cignetti. “The old school thought was go out a couple days early and there’s another school of thought to go out as late as possible. We did that against Weber.”