Spring Football Game Offers No Resolution To UNC QB Battle

“I would like to get on the field any way possible whether at quarterback or I have to block, whatever it is. I just want to help the Tar Heels this season. If it comes down to splitting time, we’ll see how it goes – whatever helps the team win,” Mitch Trubisky says.

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Redshirt freshman quarterback Trubisky has a deep desire to help the Tar Heels live up to high expectations in 2014.

The Blue team on Saturday consisted primarily of the projected starters this fall, but quarterback Marquise Williams split the signal caller duties with Trubisky. Both men staked their claim for the starting job.

Williams says he was pleased with the way he was feeling out on the field.

“It felt good throwing the ball. It felt real good outside. I felt a little velocity on the ball and getting my hips through. I felt very good out there with the guys,” Williams says.

Williams was 22-32 for 135 yards while Trubisky went 20-32 for 183 yards. Neither quarterback threw a touchdown pass, but wide receiver Quinshad Davis flung a touchdown to fellow wideout T.J. Thorpe to thrill the crowd.

Running back T.J. Logan scampered across the end zone for a pair of touchdowns while young Elijah Hood impressed with some grinding plays of his own.

Better known for his abilities as a return man, Ryan Switzer says he’s been working on improving his game as a receiver for the upcoming season.

“I really wanted to come in and perfect my route running. I was able to fine-tune those things. I think I’m a better player for it. I’m looking forward to showing it off during the season,” Switzer says.

But the story of the day might have been the impressive play of the defense, keeping the Tar Heel offense under pressure with aggressive penetration into the backfield. Junior Justin Thomason recorded five tackles and two sacks at the defensive end position.

All in all, Head Coach Larry Fedora says the game served its purpose with Tar Heels on both sides of the ball making plays.

Switzer says he’s confident in the skills of both Williams and Trubisky at the quarterback position and is looking forward to hauling in passes from whoever grabs the starting spot.

“They both bring different things to the table. A lot of people say ‘Quise [Williams] has the experience over Mitch, which he does, but Mitch has been so cool in the pocket in all of our scrimmages. He’s been a cool cat. I’m looking forward to catching balls from both of them. The coaches are going to pick the right guy, and that guy is going to do a great job for us,” Switzer says.

With the quarterback situation still up in the air, there’s still plenty of questions heading into the summer lead-up to the fall season that promises to be an exciting one for Carolina football.


Blue Downs White 38-17 In Annual Spring Football Game

Blue beat White 38-17 Saturday afternoon in Kenan Stadium as the Carolina football team put a wrap on its spring preparations for the 2014 college football season.

The Blue team consisted primarily of the projected starters this fall, but quarterback Marquise Williams split the signal caller duties with Mitch Trubisky. Both men staked their claim for the starting job.

Williams was 22-32 for 135 yards while Trubisky went 20-32 for 183 yards. Neither quarterback threw a touchdown pass, but wide receiver Quinshad Davis flung a touchdown to fellow wideout T.J. Thorpe to thrill the crowd.

The story of the day might have been the impressive play of the defense, keeping the Tar Heel offense under pressure with aggressive penetration into the backfield. Junior Justin Thomason recorded five tackles and two sacks at the defensive end position.

All in all, Head Coach Larry Fedora says the game served its purpose.

“We had a good day. Got a lot done, finished up spring, our 15th practice right there. I thought we had guys on both sides of the ball, on both teams, that made some plays today,” Coach Fedora says.



Plenty Of Questions Remain For Coach Fedora Heading Into Spring Game

The Carolina football team is ready to put on a show for the outside world Saturday in Chapel Hill. The annual Blue & White Spring Game will allow fans to get a glimpse of what is to come when the competition really heats up later in the fall.

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The Tar Heel offense, by all appearances, seems ‘locked and loaded’. But will the defense be able to answer the bell? Head Coach Larry Fedora says he’s pleased with the development in the offseason.

“We’re definitely ahead of the offensive line right now. Guys are making some plays for us. We’re finally building up some depth in the defensive line. We’re making a lot of progress there I think,” Coach Fedora says.

Coach Fedora says the transition from Blake Anderson to Seth Littrell as offensive skipper has been rather seamless, but he says the team is still putting together the pieces to the offensive puzzle ahead of the 2014 season.

“We’re still trying to identify who we are personnel-wise as an offense. That’s the most difficult thing. What kind of offense are we going to be? What kind of plays are we going to be able to take advantage of this year?” Coach Fedora says.

Coach Fedora is looking for some pretty basic things from the Tar Heels out in Kenan Stadium this Saturday. And for starters, it all starts with playing hard.

“It’s there opportunity to show out. I want to see effort – that’s the main thing. I want to see these guys play hard and have fun,” Coach Fedora says.

The stable of running backs at Carolina’s disposal is quite impressive. Coach Fedora says the most highly touted, Elijah Hood, is becoming more and more comfortable in the offense with each practice.

“I think he’s come a long way this spring. I think he has a pretty good grasp of what we’re doing offensively,” Coach Fedora says.

Carolina will play four 15-minute quarters Saturday afternoon, but the final two quarters of play will feature a running clock. Viewing this Tar Heel team in a game scenario is sure to answer more questions for both Carolina’s coaching staff and fan base moving forward into the summer months.


Pivotal ACC Series For Tar Heels As Demon Deacons Invade Chapel Hill

The No. 29 North Carolina baseball team, 19-14 on the year and 7-8 in conference, faces a tough weekend series challenge starting Friday from Wake Forest, 22-13 overall and 10-5 in ACC play.

The Tar Heels are coming off a disappointing 3-2 loss in extra innings to Coastal Carolina Wednesday while the Demon Deacons fell to UNC-Greensboro 4-2 in a midweek contest.

Sophomore slinger Trent Thornton will be looking to continue his fine form on the mound this season, but Carolina’s bats will likely decide the series. The Tar Heels only managed two runs, both in the first inning, Wednesday against the Chanticleers.

Carolina leads the all-time series with Wake Forest 95-73-1. The Demon Deacons are searching for their first series win in Chapel Hill since 2001.

First pitch for game one is slated for 7 p.m. Friday. Game two on Saturday will commence at 6 p.m. while the series finale gets underway at 1 p.m. Sunday.


Diamond Heels Stumble In Extras To Chanticleers

The No. 29 North Carolina baseball team failed to get its offense going Wednesday night en route to a 3-2 loss to Coastal Carolina to fall to 19-14 on the year.

With the win, the Chanticleers improved to 15-19 on the season.

Korey Dunbar’s home run in the first inning produced Carolina’s only two runs of the game. Coastal rallied in the latter innings to pull off the upset win.

UNC pitcher Taylore Cherry recorded five innings of work and only surrendered two hits. Carolina managed to hold a 2-1 edge until the ninth, when Coastal was able to manufacture the tying run to send the contest to extra innings.

Coastal seized the lead in the eleventh when Spencer Trayner’s throw to home plate was a little late. The Tar Heels could not answer the run.

Next up for the Tar Heels is a weekend series beginning on Friday with ACC foe Wake Forest.


Tenacious Tar Heel Men’s Lax Fights For ACC Supremacy This Weekend

After starting 0-2 in ACC play, the Carolina men’s lacrosse team was in a world of trouble. But now, the Tar Heels are No. 4 in the nation and will be playing for a potential No. 1 seed in the ACC Tournament when they take on No. 7 Syracuse this Saturday.

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Head Coach Joe Breschi couldn’t say enough positive things about the way his team played in a crucial ACC game against rival Virginia.

“I’m proud of our guys. Virginia is a terrific lacrosse team, top ten in the country. How hard we played for 60 minutes – we’ve been stressing that all year,” Coach Breschi says.

The ACC race is loaded with the ‘who’s who’ of college lacrosse. Each and every game seemingly features two top ten teams facing off.

Senior Frankie Kelly says the Virginia win provided the team with more of a sense of relief than jubilation. Kelly knew it was a must-win scenario.

Coach Breschi agrees. But he says it only makes this weekend’s game at Syracuse inside the Carrier Dome that much bigger.

“This was big. We’re now at 2-2. We feel pretty good with where we’re at. We have to go up to Syracuse now, and they’re fighting for their playoff life in the ACC. There’s a lot in front of us, but I’m just proud of taking another step forward,” Coach Breschi says.

Senior midfielder R.G. Keenan has supplied some timely late-game magic for the Tar Heels in his career. And Keenan will be hoping to hold a few more tricks up his sleeve as his playing days at Chapel Hill come to an end.

And as another lacrosse season winds down, Coach Breschi salutes the impact of Keenan, Kelly and the rest of the senior class.

“We got a great group of 12 seniors. They’ve done a wonderful job all year leading this group. To finish like this is wonderful for them,” Coach Breschi says.

One promising sign for the Tar Heels moving forward is the continued development of the defense. It was UNC’s stingy defense down the stretch that served as a catalyst to the victory over the Cavaliers.

The Tar Heels’ battle with the perennial powerhouse Orange will be a historic one. The two squads haven’t played each other since 1996. The collision is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday and will be nationally televised on ESPNU.


Carolina Knocks Off NC A&T, Meets Coastal Next

The No. 29 North Carolina baseball team hammered North Carolina A&T 10-0 Tuesday evening at Boshamer Stadium to improve to 19-13 on the season.

It was a special night for Carolina’s A.J. Bogucki. In his first career start, the freshman maintained a no-hitter heading into the seventh inning. With the loss, NC A&T fell to 11-22 on the year.

Michael Russell continued to lead the Tar Heel bats, going four for four to carry the Tar Heel offense. Skye Bolt also continued his upward spike in play, tallying two hits of his own.

All in all, it was UNC’s first combined one-hitter since Trent Thornton, Reilly Hovis and Luis Paula recorded the feat last March against Gardner Webb.

Next up for the resurgent Tar Heels is game two of a five-game homestand Wednesday at 6 p.m. This time, Carolina will meet Coastal Carolina.


Playing For Keeps: Competition Heating Up With UNC Spring Game Looming

With the annual Spring Football Game just days away, the battle continues on for myriad starting positions. The pride of running out onto Kenan Stadium as a Carolina football starter this fall is well within reach for many unheralded players.

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Head Coach Larry Fedora and staff have fostered a competition-based working environment with a “best man will play” motto adding a sense of urgency to the spring practices.

But Offensive Coordinator Seth Littrell says this heightened sense of competition doesn’t have to damage the camaraderie between teammates.

“Every single day that you come out here, you are going to compete for your job. That’s my philosophy and Coach Fedora’s philosophy. Our players know that. It’s one thing competing on the field, and it’s another thing making sure you’re a tight-knit family and helping each other grow off the field. Just because you’re competing doesn’t mean you can’t be great friends,” Coach Littrell says.

Quarterback Marquise Williams says the bevy of talent in the backfield, from Kris Francis to Elijah Hood, has him pumped up for the potential offensive explosions ahead in 2014.

“All of those guys are going to be helpful. I’ve never been in a backfield where you have all four of those different type backs, but also all of them are great. They’re all still learning, but they’re going to do great things for this football team this year. We’re going to have a real good backfield,” Williams says.

One of the most fascinating duels for a starting position will center around the signal callers, and Coach Fedora says that redshirt freshman Mitch Trubisky is progressing along well.

“I think he’s doing a nice job. He picked up where he left off. He’s done a good job studying the game and understands what we’re trying to do. Now it’s just getting as many reps as possible under his belt so that he feels more comfortable back there,” Coach Fedora says.

Trubisky’s rival for the quarterback job, Williams, has been focusing his efforts on improving his leadership qualities in the offseason. He hopes he is lifting the levels of the guys around him.

“You have to come out here with a lot of energy. I got to pick those guys up. If those guys see me pick them up, they’re going to rally around me. That’s the main key, just rallying behind me and doing what I need to do to help these guys come out with some victories this year,” Williams says.

Who’s been getting the most reps with the first team this spring? Coach Fedora says he’s an equal opportunity employer.

“We roll them. One guy gets reps with the ones, and then the next day the other guy starts with the ones. They’re both still getting reps with ones and twos every day,” Coach Fedora says.

Besides the gridiron grind, all sorts of festivities will surround the Spring Game this year including autograph sessions from the players and a live band performance at Bell Tower Park.

But one thing Tar Heel fans can expect when they take their seats inside what will likely be a beautiful sun-bathed Kenan Stadium Saturday is a bunch of hungry Tar Heels fighting for coveted starting spots this fall. It’s a big chance to shine in a game day atmosphere for veterans and rookies alike.



2014 UNC Women’s Soccer Schedule Released

The University of North Carolina has announced its 2014 women’s soccer schedule on Monday and it features 10 games against teams which played in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, including defending champion UCLA, runner-up Florida State and semifinalist Virginia Tech.

UNC has assembled one of the nation’s toughest non-conference schedules for 2014. It includes games against 2013 NCAA participants Stanford (3rd round), Ohio State (1st round), UCLA (champion), Arkansas (3rd round) and Penn State (2nd round). The Tar Heels will also play at Pepperdine to conclude a two-game trip to the West Coast which starts against UCLA on August 29.

For the first time in league history, the ACC, which will include 14 teams, will not play a complete round robin. UNC will play 10 league foes including games at Notre Dame and Duke and at home against Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and Florida State. All five of those teams qualified for the 2013 NCAA Tournament with all five reaching at least the third round of the tournament.

In the ACC rotation, UNC will not play regular season games this year against Virginia, Boston College or Louisville.

The ACC Tournament semifinals and finals will be played at UNC Greensboro on Nov. 7 and 9. The six rounds of the NCAA Tournament begin Saturday, Nov. 15. The College Cup is slated for Fort Lauderdale, Florida on December 5 and 7.

North Carolina finished the 2013 season with a 20-5 record before losing in double overtime to eventual NCAA champion UCLA 1-0 in the NCAA quarterfinals at Fetzer Field. Coach Anson Dorrance will be crafting a squad in 2014 that needs to replace six starters from the 2013 squad – forward Kealia Ohai, midfielders Crystal Dunn, Meg Morris and Kelly McFarlane, defender Megan Brigman and goalkeeper Anna Sieloff.

Fri. Aug. 22 Carolina Nike Classic (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
Duke vs. Ohio State, 5 p.m.
UNC vs. Stanford, 7 p.m.
Sun., Aug. 24 Carolina Nike Classic (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
Duke vs. Stanford, 1 p.m.
UNC vs. Ohio State, 3 p.m.
Fri., Aug 29 at UCLA, 5 p.m. (8 p.m. EDT)
Sun., Aug. 31 at Pepperdine, 1 p.m. (4 p.m. EDT)
Fri., Sept. 5 Duke Nike Classic (Durham, N.C.)
UNC vs. Arkansas, 5 p.m.
Duke vs. Penn State, 7 p.m.
Sun., Sept. 7 Duke Nike Classic (Durham, N.C.)
UNC vs. Penn State, 12 p.m.
Duke vs. Arkansas, 2 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 20 at Notre Dame, 7 p.m.
Thurs., Sept. 25 at Clemson, 7 p.m.
Sun., Sept. 28 at NC State, 1 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 3 Virginia Tech, 5 p.m.
Thurs., Oct. 9 Wake Forest, 7 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 12 Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 19 at Duke, 2 p.m.
Thurs., Oct. 23 Florida State, 7 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 26 Miami, 1 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 2 at Syracuse, 1 p.m.
Fri., Nov. 7 ACC Tournament Semifinals (Greensboro, N.C.)
Sun., Nov. 9 ACC Tournament Finals (Greensboro, N.C.)
Sat., Nov. 15 NCAA Tournament First Round
Fri., Nov. 21 NCAA Tournament Second Round
Sun., Nov. 23 NCAA Tournament Third Round
Sat., Nov. 29 NCAA Quarterfinals
Fri., Dec. 5 NCAA Semifinals (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Sun., Dec. 7 NCAA Finals (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)


Diamond Heels Gear Up For Critical Five-Game Homestand

The No. 29 North Carolina baseball team, 18-13 on the year, opens up a five-game homestand Tuesday evening at Boshamer Stadium. The Diamond Heels will be aiming to build off the momentum of a road series ACC win over Boston College last weekend.

The Diamond Heels are a work in progress this season. But after struggling through a shocking six-game losing streak, UNC has rebounded with wins in three of the last four outings.

Head Coach Mike Fox says he was especially impressed with reliever Reilly Hovis’ ability to recover from his inability to close out the game Saturday and toss a nearly flawless four innings on Sunday to close out the Eagles.

As for the Tar Heel bats, Coach Fox says Michael Russell has emerged as the leader of the Carolina offensive charge this season.

Despite the sluggish start to the year, the Tar Heels are again approaching .500 in the ACC. Coach Fox says his team is full of fighting spirit and he believes this young squad’s best baseball is in front of them.

Carolina will play two midweek games against winnable opponents in NC A&T and Coastal Carolina before welcoming the Wake Forest Demon Deacons to Chapel Hill for a likely pivotal three-game set this weekend.