With Schor leading the way, James Madison looks great

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(STATS) - During Bryan Schor's sophomore season in 2015, Zak Kuhr looked James Madison's quarterback in the eyes and lowered the boom.

"You know, you're not the best player on the team," the Dukes' then co-offensive coordinator blurted out.

Puzzled by where Kuhr was going, Schor responded, "Yeah, why are you saying that?"

"Well, that's not your job to be the best player," said Kuhr, who now holds the same position at Texas State. "We didn't recruit you to be the best player, we recruited you to make everybody else around you better."

Boom delivered.

Ever since, Schor has embraced the concept.

"I've learned there's extremely talented guys on my team," said Schor, who went on to be the field general of James Madison's 2016 FCS championship season.

"My job is to get them in a position to be successful. If I do that, then people might look at me and say I'm pretty good. But that's what's going to make our team win and I think that's what I've probably done best."

Schor is similar to what North Dakota State had in quarterback Brock Jensen, who guided the first three of five straight national titles in the 2011-13 seasons. At first, both quarterbacks were asked to be good game managers and limit the mistakes. Over time, their athleticism, talent and - most importantly - leadership were evident.

Schor will never amass the gaudy quarterback numbers of All-Americans such as Jeremiah Briscoe of Sam Houston State, Gage Gubrud of Eastern Washington and Devlin Hodges of Samford, but he has the hardware every signal caller craves the most. He is the one quarterback who can attempt to lead his team to back-to-back titles FCS this season.

The Dukes kick off their season Saturday at East Carolina - a winnable game against an FBS opponent. Last year's 14-1 squad lost only to an FBS foe, North Carolina.

"There's no doubt we have a tremendous amount of confidence in Bryan," coach Mike Houston said. "His leadership, I think right now compared to where he was last year, not only does he have confidence in himself, but everybody else has the same amount of confidence in him. He's been through the fights and the struggles. He handles everything with a tremendous amount of humility - at the same time, being a driven leader."

The CAA offensive player of the year gets out of the pocket well, which explains why he rushed for 569 yards in addition to passing for 3,002 yards last season. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder led the nation in completion percentage (73.1) and was responsible for 39 touchdowns (29 passing, 10 rushing).

With great depth at running back and receiver, Schor has plenty of teammates whom he can make look better. But they'll now have to deal with having a target on their backs.

"We realize people are going to be gunning for us," Schor said. "We were lucky enough to go on and win a national championship. That's something that everybody else wants."