January 19, 2016

(STATS) - The burning question with Mike Houston taking over at James Madison was whether he'd install the triple option his Citadel team utilized so well.

The unique running offense would be new to JMU.

On Tuesday, Houston dispelled any lingering worries in Harrisonburg, Virginia, when the 44-year-old was introduced at a campus news conference and said the Dukes will continue running a fast-paced spread attack.

"I'm committed to continuing an exciting style of play here," he said. "On offense, we're going to employ a spread-, attacking-, shotgun-style of offense - very balanced run and pass. I know that some of the offensive guys were worried that I'd bring the flexbone triple option here, but I left that back in Charleston, South Carolina."

Houston went 14-11 in two years at The Citadel, including 9-4 this past season when the Bulldogs won a share of the Southern Conference title and earned their first FCS playoff appearance since 1992. They upset South Carolina to end the regular season and won at Coastal Carolina in the first round of the playoffs, finishing ranked second in the FCS in rushing yards per game.

James Madison had a high-powered running attack as well, ranking seventh nationally, but also mixed in plenty of passing plays to finish second in both total offensive yards per game and scoring average.

Houston succeeds Everett Withers, who left Jan. 6 to take over at Texas State. Including three seasons at Division-II Lenoir-Rhyne, Houston is 43-19 in five seasons as a college head coach.

And in the oh-by-the-way department, Houston also said his defense at James Madison will be flexible, functioning out of both 4-2-5 and 3-4 base alignments.

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