Three Takeaways from Bob Chesney’s 2024 JMU Signing Day Press Conference

Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications

By Bennett Conlin

Bob Chesney met with the media Wednesday to discuss the Dukes’ 2024 transfer portal class and 2024 high school signing class

Let’s break down a few key takeaways from Chesney’s second press conference as JMU’s head coach. 

Player specific comments 

This isn’t Chesney’s fault, but the press conference didn’t feature many questions about specific players, which leaves fans largely in the dark about how Chesney feels about specific additions and position groups. The coach does feel confident in the team’s overall roster, at least. 

“If there’s no movement right now, I think we will be good,” Chesney said. 

He quickly clarified that he’s saying that using his best estimate of the roster, considering he’s yet to see many of the players compete in a JMU game. The Dukes lost much of their returning production to graduation and the transfer portal, which leaves them relying largely on unproven returners or transfer additions. 

Holy Cross transfer linebacker Jacob Dobbs and Washington transfer quarterback Dylan Morris were the two players discussed specifically Wednesday. Chesney and Dobbs’ strong relationship is no secret, as the two formed a close bond at Holy Cross. Dobbs is expected to start for the Dukes at linebacker, and he’ll likely be considered a leader on defense. 

As for Morris, Chesney praised his leadership and maturity. Morris is the Dukes’ projected 2024 starting quarterback entering spring football. 

“I’ve watched him and he sits in the front of the meeting room,” Chesney said. “He’s taking notes all over the place, and I think he’s just very committed.” 

Editor’s note: Thanks to Christopher William Jewelers for the advertising support this season. 

Spring ball will answer questions

Chesney has an idea of what the Dukes might be in 2024, but he should learn a lot more about the roster through winter conditioning and spring football. A spring transfer portal opens from April 16-30, which allows players to enter the portal. 

That period could lead to some players on JMU’s roster leaving for somewhere else – Isaac Ukwu entered the portal during that window last season – and it also opens the possibility of the Dukes adding more talent as Chesney learns about the roster. 

“There’s a lot in the air right now,” Chesney said. 

It wouldn’t be a shock to see increased roster movement during the spring compared to previous seasons. Many of the players don’t know what it’s like to play for Chesney, and there could be some guys who don’t work with his style and seek a better fit elsewhere. Recent spring football sessions came with minimal surprises, as players knew what Cignetti practices looked like. 

Community connection

Chesney plans to visit local elementary schools on a weekly basis moving forward, bringing players with him on the trips. It’s a tradition dating back to his previous coaching stops, including Holy Cross, and it’s an activity he considers important to encourage community involvement with the football program. 

Chesney spoke at length Wednesday about JMU’s stellar fan support – even saying he was stopped twice for photos on a recent trip to Target to buy bed sheets. He wants to engage with the local community as much as possible, which should be beneficial for JMU’s brand in the Commonwealth. 

“You’ll see a different brand, I think from us as coaches, from me as a head coach, and from our players as far as our community involvement and support being reciprocated as opposed to just being absorbed.”

Expect the way Chesney engages fans, donors, media, and players to be much different than the Curt Cignetti era. They’re both elite college coaches, but they’re different people with different approaches and personalities. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *