UNC Spring Football Preview: Quarterbacks


Dec 28, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Marquise Williams (12) runs the ball during the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bearcats in the Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium. Carolina defeated Cincinnati 39-17. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Beautiful weather and sunny skies can only mean one thing- its time for the UNC Spring Football game! North Carolina’s Spring game takes place this Saturday, and to get you ready, Keeping It Heel will feature position by position previews before the game. Check back all week on KeepingItHeel.com and on Twitter @KeepingItHeel for updates! Today, we start with Quarterbacks.

Who is Coming Back?

After the graduation of Bryn Renner, Marquise Williams is the lone returning contributor at quarterback. Marquise threw for nearly 1700 yards in 11 games last season while completing 58.1% of his passes. His touchdown to interception ratio was also pretty good, throwing 15 TDs to just six interceptions. Marquise also added valuable contributions to the UNC offense with his legs, running for 536 yards and six touchdowns in his sophomore season.

Williams got valuable experience playing last season after Bryn Renner went down with injury, and now this is Marquise Williams’s team. That is assuming of course that one of these next guys does not take his job.

Who is New?

Freshman Mitch Trubisky is new to the quarterback competition, as he redshirted last season. Trubisky was highly rated coming out of his high school in Mentor, Ohio and will push Marquise for the starting job this spring. Trubisky’s best traits are his accuracy and dual threat capabilities. With a good spring and Spring game, Mitch could enter camp this summer with an outside shot at winning the starting job.

UNC has two other quarterbacks on the roster- Junior Caleb Pressey and Sophomore Kanler Coker. Neither figures to be a major factor in the starting quarterback race, but as we saw last year with Bryn Renner’s injury, anything can happen at the quarterback position. No amount of depth is too much in a system like Carolina’s that has the quarterback moving and running the football.

What areas should be improved this spring?

If I had to pick one area that must be improved this spring, it would be both accuracy and completion percentage. UNC’s offensive line will be young and understaffed next season, so Tar Heel QBs won’t have tons of time in the pocket to operate. North Carolina’s quarterbacks have to be able to complete passes and connect with wide receivers and running backs in the screen game next season. Marquise Williams’s 58.1% completion percentage from last season was partially a product of being thrown into the fire midseason, but that isn’t going to cut it in year two from Marquise.

Who wins the Positional Battle?

Coach Fedora has been making a point to encourage competition at all positions this spring, and quarterback is no exception. He opened up the competition this spring, but come Saturdays in the fall, look for Marquise Williams to be the unquestioned starter. I could see Coach Fedora opting for a two quarterback system if Marquise can’t up his completion percentage or gets off to a slow start to the season. With that being said, Marquise Williams will get the chance against Liberty and San Diego State to prove himself as the starter before Mitch jumps in.

What number in particular should I be looking for on Saturday?

Number 10: Mitch Trubisky

Trubisky has been running with the second team offense during Spring practice but will get a chance to shine in the Spring game. Look to see if Trubisky can make all the throws while on the run outside the pocket, and also look to see if Mitch can sustain drives against the first team defense.