There is no doubt any more. No questions. Marquise Williams is the starting quarterback at North Carolina. Mitch Trubisky is the backup. The competition between Williams and Trubisky that lingered for months is over.
Williams has known for a while now that he’d be UNC's starter. He said he found out two weeks before the season-opening game against Liberty. Then, earlier this week, coach Larry Fedora said definitively that Williams’ place atop the depth chart is secure.
“I didn’t put too much pressure on myself,” Williams said Tuesday. “I love the way Mitch has been pushing me this whole time, and I give that dude credit. He’s one of the hardest working players on this team, and he pushed me to be great and he got me in a better position.”
Fedora did say, though, that Trubisky could continue to play, that he’d be used as needed. After the two quarterbacks split first-team work throughout the preseason, Williams is now working most often with the first team, though he said Tuesday that Trubisky still practices some with the starters.
It’s unclear how exactly Trubisky might be used. He could play a role similar to the one Williams played last season, before Bryn Renner endured a season-ending shoulder injury. Before that, UNC used Williams in specific packages, and he played sporadically.
“Whatever the coaches got in the game plan, I'm down with it,” Williams said.
The game was scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 5.
According to the release from the Charlotte Sports Foundation, the game will be on “primetime national television.” Which means, with 100 percent certainty, that it will be on one of the ESPN networks. The time has yet to be announced.
UNC and South Carolina opened the season against each other on a Thursday night last year in Columbia, S.C., where the Gamecocks defeated the Tar Heels, 27-10. The teams met regularly decades ago when South Carolina was a member of the ACC, and they continued to play regularly through the 1970s and 80s.
After UNC's 21-17 victory in Chapel Hill in 1991, though, the teams didn't play again until 2007 – a 21-15 Gamecocks victory. The teams haven't played at a neutral site since 1955, when they met in Norfolk, Va.