Quarterback competition on display at UNC’s spring football game

jalexander@newsobserver.comApril 12, 2014 

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    Stats

    Passing

    Marquise Williams 22-32 135 yds 0 TD 1 INT

    Mitch Trubisky 20-32 183 yds 0 TD 1 INT

    Kanler Coker 8-19 75 yds 1 TD 1 INT

    Rushing

    Elijah Hood 9 Att 21 yds

    Charles Brunson 15 Att 54 yds

    Khris Francis 18 Att 88 yds 2 TD

    T.J. Logan 15 Att 109 yds 2 TD

    Pass Receiving

    T.J. Thorpe 4 catches 71 yds 1 TD

    Quinshad Davis 6 catches 58 yds

    Bug Howard 6 catches 33 yards 1 TD

    Jack Tabb 3 catches 37 yards

    Defense

    Justin Thomason 5 tackles 2 sacks 1 pass breakup

    Desmond Lawrence 6 tackles 1 pass breakup 1 tackle-for-loss

    Dominique Green 7 tackles

    Alex Dixon 6 tackles 2 pass breakups

    Sam Smiley 11 Tackles 2 pass breakups 1 sack

— Mitch Trubisky told reporters last week that he felt he had done enough this off-season to be ahead of fellow quarterback Marquise Williams on the Tar Heels’ depth chart.

And he looked liked he meant it.

When asked Saturday after North Carolina’s spring football game if he felt the same, neither his answer nor demeanor changed.

“I’m just curious of what the coaches think right now,” Trubisky said. “But I’m just going to keep working hard and do only the things that I can control.”

When Williams was asked about the quarterback competition he seemed bothered.

“I’m just tired of it. It’s annoying,” Williams said. “It’s just competition. I know what I need to do and I’m going to focus on me. My job is to focus on me and I can’t worry about the next guy.”

If there was ever a time to prove who was the man for the job, Saturday’s spring game was the time to do so. But despite splitting equal time at quarterback for both the blue and white team, neither seemed to make that statement.

Williams completed 22 of 32 passes for 135 yards and one interception and was sacked six times. Trubisky completed 20 of 32 passes for 183 yards and one interception. He was sacked once.

Both had their moments – Williams used his legs to pick up first downs, and Trubisky hit key third-and-long plays in the air.

Wide receiver Quinshad Davis, who caught six passes for 58 yards, said the pressure of the competition had gotten to both of the quarterbacks.

“In the back of their mind they know they’re competing so I feel like they’re kind of nervous,” Davis said. “They sometimes tense up. They might look past a read earlier than they are supposed to or later than they are supposed to.”

He said he couldn’t determine who is ahead in the competition and he will have no favorite heading into the fall.

“Whoever is back there, I’m going to be out wide to make a play regardless,” Davis said.

Coach Larry Fedora wouldn’t say who was leading in the depth chart, but he said both appeared prepared to get the job done.

“I thought they did a nice job of just managing the offense today,” Fedora said. “There were probably a couple of balls that were thrown that shouldn’t have been thrown, but they were and we’ve got to get that adjusted. But pretty much I thought the decision-making process was pretty good.”

Fedora credited Williams for his leadership and Trubisky for his understanding of the offense.

“We’ll keep evaluating and they’ll keep competing,” Fedora said.

Trubisky is considered the most talented quarterback prospect that Fedora has recruited to UNC. Trubisky was named Ohio’s Mr. Football his senior year at Mentor High.

“I just have confidence in myself and I think if they put me out there I can do whatever it takes to help the team win,” Trubisky said. “That’s my mindset.”

When Trubisky chose to play at UNC, many expected him to be Bryn Renner’s successor – but Williams’ performance last season quieted that speculation.

Williams ended last season as the Tar Heels’ starter and led UNC’s turnaround after its 1-5 start. The Tar Heels finished the season winning six of their last seven games.

He led the team with 536 rushing yards and 21 overall touchdowns.

Williams said he’s more confident then he’s ever been.

“I’ve been doing this since last year, and that’s how I look at it,” he said. “So when I step out on the field, I’ll step out with swagger like I’m the best and that’s how I’ll continue to look at it.”

Alexander: 919-932-2008; Twitter: @jonmalexander1

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