JMU quarterback battle continues as fall season approaches
HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - On Tuesday, the Dukes took the field for official practice as they prepare to make their Sun Belt debut this fall.
The three-way competition for the quarterback position continues as the Dukes look to fill the void left by veteran James Madison alum Cole Johnson, who finished his JMU campaign second in career passing touchdowns.
“We lived through the air a little bit,” said JMU Head Coach Curt Cignetti, when speaking of Johnson’s last season in 2021.
This year, the battle for signal-caller is between Todd Centeio, Billy Atkins, and Alonza Barnett. Centeio, a graduate transfer from Colorado State, started 13 of 15 games for the Rams last season. With the Dukes, Centeio took first-team reps during the first three days of camp.
Atkins, a redshirt freshman, took first-team reps on Monday while true freshman Alonza Barnett trained with the ones on Tuesday.
Regardless of the starting quarterback this fall, Cignetti said this year’s offense will look different when the Dukes open their season in September.
“Offensively we’re establishing a new identity,” said Cignetti. “As a coaching staff, we’re trying to learn about ourselves after every practice.”
Meanwhile, Cignetti is focused on entering the Sun Belt Conference with a team that’s ready to compete to its full potential this fall.
“How can we find the edge? What do we have to do to be the best we can be? That’s what I wake up at three in the morning thinking about all the time.”
The Dukes kick off the 2022 season on September 3rd when JMU faces Middle Tennessee at Bridgeforth Stadium.
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