Mitch Trubisky has waited a long time for this chance, longer than he ever imagined. He was North Carolina’s quarterback of the future, Larry Fedora’s hand-picked quarterback recruit, his express path to the starting job derailed through no fault of his own.
While Trubisky redshirted as a freshman, Bryn Renner got hurt and Marquise Williams – who had been on his way out at North Carolina after getting academically suspended for a semester – stepped in and played so well he claimed the job for the next two years while Trubisky watched and waited (and impressed in the few opportunities he had).
Williams is gone, as are several other members of a team that was a play or two away from an ACC title. How Trubisky fares in his long-awaited opportunity, behind a less experienced offensive line, will have a lot to say about the success of a North Carolina offense that has playmakers Elijah Hood, Ryan Switzer and Mack Hollins.
There are questions and turnover on defense, too, especially at linebacker, but it’s reasonable to expect improvement in the second season under Gene Chizik. The recruiting sanctions appear to be far behind the Tar Heels now, and Larry Fedora has things rolling steadily along in Chapel Hill, his personality firmly imprinted on the program.
It may not be fair to expect 11 wins of the Tar Heels again, especially with Miami resurgent, Pittsburgh ascendant and Virginia and Virginia Tech under new management, giving “Coastal Chaos” a whole new meaning. But it is fair to expect Trubisky to pick up where Williams left off. He’s been waiting a long time for this chance. He’ll never be more ready.
Luke DeCock: 919-829-8947, firstname.lastname@example.org, @LukeDeCock