DiNucci, Johnson bring experience & depth to JMU QB position

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HARRISONBURG, Va. -- With redshirt senior Ben DiNucci and redshirt junior Cole Johnson, James Madison has experience and depth at the quarterback position.

Ben DiNucci (6) and Cole Johnson (12) bring experience and depth to the James Madison quarterback position.

JMU head coach Curt Cignetti said Sunday he is likely to make a decision on a starting quarterback sometime this week. DiNucci is considered the favorite to start in 2019. He's had a strong preseason camp and has earned praise from Cignetti multiple times over the past few weeks.

DiNucci started every game for JMU in 2018 and was an All-CAA performer. He struggled at times with turnovers in a regular season loss at New Hampshire and a postseason defeat at Colgate in the second round of the FCS Playoffs. The former Pitt transfer says he has been working to correct the mistakes he made last season.

"(I'm) just trying to be more accurate, a better rhythm passer," said DiNucci. "You know, not skipping reads. Staying in the pocket while I can. Those are kind of the big points of emphasis heading into this fall camp. Through two weeks I feel like I have done a really good job in terms of how I have played, my confidence, and just my mental makeup."

DiNucci has taken most of the reps with the first-string offense. Johnson has worked with the No. 1 offense at times in camp but has primarily been with the second-string unit.

Johnson has played significant snaps throughout his career at JMU. He was the No. 2 quarterback behind DiNucci for the first part of 2018 after serving as Bryan Schor's backup for two seasons. Johnson played in just four games last season in order to retain an extra year of eligibility due to NCAA redshirt rules.

The Virginia Beach native has also garnered praise from Cignetti during preseason camp. While he may begin the season as the backup QB, Johnson knows he could be called upon at any moment.

"I look at it as, even if I am No. 2, I am one play away from starting the rest of the season," said Johnson. "I love this team and this winning tradition here and anything I can do to help this team win, I am always there for it and I love playing here."

Redshirt sophomore Gage Moloney entered camp in competition for the starting quarterback job after a strong performance in the spring but has been battling a hamstring injury during preseason practice.