Countdown to Kickoff: 2015 Spring Recap and Quarterbacks


To get you ready for next season, Keeping It Heel recaps the 2015 Spring football season and previews the UNC Football quarterback position. 

Coming off a disappointing season, this off-season saw many changes including a coaching overhaul on the defensive side of the ball. The Hire of Gene Chizik brought excitement on and off the field. Chizik has assembled his staff (Tray Scott, John Papuchis, Carlton Warren) and along side of Head Coach Larry Fedora, the Tar Heels put in a bunch of work during spring ball.

Chizik and company made several changes to last year’s dreadful defense by simplifying the playbook, putting players in the correct positions, and by increasing competition. We found out that no player’s status was safe as it seemed like players kept playing musical chairs up and down the depth chart. The increase in competition only makes the depth stronger. On the offensive side of the ball we watched musical chairs on the offensive line with young talent shaking up old mainstays. With Marquise Williams sidelined, Mitch Trubisky took the reigns as QB1 and gained valuable snaps that should benefit depth this upcoming season. It seems like for the first time in a couple of years, Spring Ball seemed to have a glimpse of excitement and not a plethora of questions.

Nov 20, 2014; Durham, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Larry Fedora on the sidelines in their game against the Duke Blue Devils at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

With Tuesday (May 26th) marking it just 100 days until Carolina vs that team from South of the border, it’s time to shift gears from the spring baseball and lacrosse routine and immerse ourselves in Summer Workouts and Summer Ball. My memory of the next 100 days were grueling workouts in blistering heat, hours upon hours in the weight room, in the training room and  in the film room. The next 100 days make or break a season. It’s time for our young stars to get their mind, bodies and emotions in check so they fire out of the chute September 3rd.

The Quarterbacks

Starting off on this year’s pre Summer Ball preview are the Quarterbacks. For the first half of 2014 we watched a coaching staff that seemed focused on splitting snaps between Option A at Quarterback, Marquise Williams, and Option B, Mitch Trubisky. As the season wore on and the snaps piled up it became apparent that Williams, despite a busted up hip, ankle and shoulder was the guy at QB1. In the second half of the season the majority of snaps that Trubisky faced came when the ball game was decided. Headed into spring ball, Marquise Williams was sidelined following hip surgery, an injury that plagued his mobility for the greater part of 2014. Trubisky took the reigns as QB1 with the rest of the bunch splitting time among the 2nd, 3rd and scout teams. Following the spring it became clear that extra snaps served Trubisky well as he was able to find a rhythm with the offense’s overstock of talent. Following Quise and Trubisky, we saw Caleb Henderson in with the second team this spring, and newcomer Anthony Ratliff Williams taking snaps with the 3rd and scout teams. Each Quarterback on the roster possesses a unique set of skills but all have a varying degree of experience.

Projected Depth Chart

QB1 Marquise Williams (#12) 6-2 220 lbs Redshirt Senior

Nov 20, 2014; Durham, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Marquise Williams (12) waves to the crowd after scoring against the Duke Blue Devils at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

The returning starter and unmatched leader on the offensive side of the ball. Marquise sat out all of 2015 Spring Ball following hip surgery repairing an injury that goes back to 2013. Williams has the opportunity to be a special player in his senior campaign. If the backfield stays healthy Quise will be as heavily relied upon in the run game. If Quise balls out this year it’s not unimaginable to think this team should rip off 8+ wins.

QB2 Mitch Trubisky (#10) 6-3 215 lbs Redshirt Sophomore

Trubisky appeared in 9 games this past year after being thrown into the wolves in the early season rotation. He performed so-so during his  appearances but showed raw and the ability to win after sealing a road victory at UVA. Trubisky took the reigns as QB1 during the spring and made the most of gaining those snaps. I’m a believer the drop off after Marquise won’t be as severe this upcoming season.

Nov 29, 2014; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) throws a pass during the second half against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Kenan Memorial Stadium. The Wolfpack won 35-7. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

QB3 Caleb Henderson (#6) 6-3 215 lbs Redshirt Freshman

After being dinged up since setting foot on campus Henderson was finally able to get some worth while snaps with the second team this spring. The coaching staff is very excited what Henderson brings to the table as the kid may have the best arm in the program.

QB3 Anthony Ratliff-Williams (#17) 6-1 195 lbs True Freshman

Ratliff-Williams is a very raw talent from Charlotte who could see the field this fall in the wildcat formation. He’s a freak athlete who has potential at more than just the quarterback position.

Comfort Level with this Position Group (1 to 5 scale, 5 being best): 4.5

This group has much better clear depth than they’ve had in years. The coaching staff argues that despite the not true experience past Marquise Williams, there’s quality depth that between Trubisky and Henderson with a wild card in Ratliff-Williams that should let this offense crank away. We have to remember the amount of quality talent at the skill positions on this offense. Quarterbacks will need to make sure to take care of the ball and help get the ball to skill players in space.

Carolina’s loaded backfield is up next. Until then.

Go Heels.