Fedora: UNC quarterback competition will continue in preseason

Mitch Trubisky, a rising sophomore, has expressed confidence that he will earn the starting quarterback job at North Carolina this season.
Mitch Trubisky, a rising sophomore, has expressed confidence that he will earn the starting quarterback job at North Carolina this season. Robert Willett - rwillett@newsobserver.com

North Carolina coach Larry Fedora said earlier today that he had no timetable in mind to name a starting quarterback between Marquise Williams and Mitch Trubisky, both of whom competed for the job throughout spring practice.

Williams, a rising junior who will be in his fourth year in the program next season, started the Tar Heels’ final five games last season and led UNC to a 4-1 finish. Trubisky, a freshman who redshirted last season, was among the most heralded members of UNC’s 2013 recruiting class.

Fedora said both Williams and Trubisky “competed really well” during spring practice, and that the competition “brought out the best in both of them.” If one player is ahead of the other, though, Fedora wouldn’t say on Wednesday when he spoke during the ACC’s annual spring teleconference.

“I’m pleased with the way they’ve handled the situation,” Fedora said. “I don’t have a given date and I’ll make a decision and I think that way that gives everybody something to talk about all year.”

Williams, a former standout at Mallard Creek High in Charlotte, arrived at UNC in 2011 and redshirted his freshman season. He was among the Tar Heels’ most prized offensive recruits in his incoming class, but he played a limited role in 2012 and then missed spring practice last year while serving a suspension related to academics.

When he returned to school, Williams had to regain Fedora’s trust. He made his first start in place of the injured Bryn Renner early last October, in a loss at Virginia Tech, and then Williams took over at quarterback when Renner suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in a victory at N.C. State early last November.

Williams last season completed 58.1 percent of his passes, threw for 1,698 yards and threw 15 touchdown passes and six interceptions. He also ran for 536 yards and six touchdowns, and his mobility was an important asset given UNC’s inconsistent pass protection.

Trubisky, though, is also a mobile quarterback. He earned Mr. Football honors during his senior season at Mentor High in Ohio. During one interview after a practice this spring, Trubisky said he expected to earn the starting quarterback job.

Both Williams and Trubisky had similar numbers in the spring game. Williams completed 22 of his 32 attempts for 135 yards, while Trubisky completed 20 of his 32 attempts for 183 yards. Both players threw one interception.

And both players, it seems, will be competing for the starting job well into preseason practice.

“I do feel comfortable that we’ve got two guys we can win with,” Fedora said. “And that’s a great thing right there. So as far as when it will be determined, I don’t know. We’ll see how it works out.”

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