It’s the time of the summer that sports fans start to count down the days until football. Carolina football’s home opener against Liberty in Kenan Stadium is just 73 days away, but the storyline of the summer remains centered around who will get the start behind center.
College football guru Phil Steele has UNC redshirt junior Marquise Williams pegged as the second best quarterback in the entire ACC heading into the 2014 season.
But Williams has his work cut out for him just to secure the No. 1 position on his own team this fall. Williams says he enjoys the competition with redshirt freshman Mitch Trubisky, but also is assuring that regardless of who wins the starting job, the team chemistry will remain intact.
“I’m confident off last year’s season. I just keep building off that and let these coaches know that I’m the one for the first team. I love this competition. He’s a great guy – a competitive guy. I love it. We’re going to be brothers regardless. Whoever starts, we’re going to be brothers,” Williams says.
Encouragingly for the Tar Heels, Trubisky is also putting the team first. He says his primary goal is to gain the trust of the rest of the offense.
“I think the main thing is just earning the trust of the other ten guys on the field. I have belief in my abilities. I need to earn their belief in my abilities so we can just go out there and everyone be on the same page and start clicking. I know I have the skills and capabilities to do it. It’s not all about me. It’s about the team. What quarterback makes the offense better?” Trubisky says.
No matter who ultimately snags the signal caller spot, the offensive line remains a question mark with the loss of elite tackle James Hurst to the NFL. Williams says despite some struggles in practice, it’s vital for him to be a leader and give off a positive vibe to the guys up front.
“It’s been a struggle. Those guys are going to come along. They are going to be ready to go. You just got to keep pushing. Coach [Seth] Littrell talks about body language. As a quarterback, you have to come out here with a lot of energy. […] I got to pick those guys up. If those guys see me keep picking them up, they’re going to rally around me,” Williams says.
Williams brings the experience to the table. He has five games as a starter under his belt after Bryn Renner suffered a season-ending injury at N.C.State.
The Charlotte native completed 107 of 184 passes for 1527 yards and 14 touchdowns while finishing with 490 rushing yards and six rushing scores. He’s truly a dual-threat option for new offensive coordinator Seth Littrell.
Trubisky, on the other hand, has a stronger arm and is a more natural thrower. The Ohio native is not hurting for any confidence either. He says he believes he’s winning the head-to-head competition.
“They haven’t told us who’s ahead in the competition. I feel like I’m ahead. That’s just how I feel. I feel like I’m ready to take over. That’s how I’m preparing every day. I don’t know what the coaches think. They just say to keep battling,” Trubisky says
Head Coach Larry Fedora has revealed no timetable for a final decision to be made, so expect the suspense to linger into August.
But return specialist and wide receiver Ryan Switzer isn’t worried. He says both quarterbacks have their own ‘It’ factor. That’s good news for Tar Heel fans as the highly anticipated college football season draws near.