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August 25, 2014

QB: Still No Decision

CHAPEL HILL - Marquise or Mitch?

Nobody knows just yet, at least Larry Fedora still isn't showing his hand.

Fedora has maintained all along he had no time table in place for when he was going to announce a starting quarterback, even joking last week he had until 6 p.m. Aug. 30 to do so. That's when his UNC Tar Heels kick off with Liberty to open the season. But until then, mum has been the word.

And it was again at Monday's weekly press conference.

Fedora was asked several questions right away about the ongoing quarterback battle between junior Marquise Williams and redshirt freshman Mitch Trubisky and he was classic Fedora in his reveal-nothing responses.

One question was about him not publicizing a decision if he had in fact made one. The third-year coach sarcastically said, wearing a slight grin of approval, "Because it bothers a lot of people, and that would probably be the number one reason. Everybody wants to ask about it and it just gives me pleasure, just gives me pleasure."

Fedora said the team won't be able to figure out if a decision has been made due to any changes in practice routine because there won't be any. The game plan is complete, and with no practice Monday and Tuesday "the last real work day," Fedora said they will taper back, refine some things, and at that time the staff will decide on how they want to make the decision and inform the team.

Just a year ago, Fedora was reminded again first-hand the importance of having a second signal caller read y to go. Starter Bryn Renner's season-ending injury moved Williams into the starting role, and his earlier experience served him and the Tar Heels well. They won five of their last six contests, so there's plenty of proof of the need for a backup to have what Fedora called Monday, "have a little bit of meaningful experience."

There was more classic Fedora on Monday: With the game plan fully in place, the coach was asked if he had scripted in time in the first half for the backup, to which he replied, flashing a late, quick smile, "I haven't made that decision yet, but that's a good suggestion, haven't thought about that, yet."

Asked if this was a situation where neither player had gone out and grabbed a hold of the job, Fedora responded, "Yeah, you can say that if you want."

The follow up question: "Is that a concern for you?"

Fedora: "No, No, I'm not concerned. I've said all the way back in the spring that we've got two guys that we can win with.

"And so, it's really not a position I'm deeply concerned about. I've got a lot more concerns at other positions than I do at that position. In fact, if we can get to a point - and we will get to a point - where we have that type of competition at every position on this football team. And when we do, we're going to be a really good football team, and we're going to reach the goals that we all have."

The two offensive players made available to the media Monday were a little more open in their comments about the quarterback situation.

Sophomore wide receiver Ryan Switzer said there aren't many difference between Williams and Trubisky, though he noted Williams might be a little more mobile.

"Mitch isn't going to like me for saying that, "Switzer said about his roommate. "But other than that, there's really not much difference to them."

Switzer also said they don't lose a beat with either guy.

"I can't tell who's throwing me the ball, to be honest," he said.

Junior offensive guard Landon Turner recognized that Trubisky's most noticeable development was that he's more vocal and confident than at the beginning of camp. Turner said that back in the spring the offensive linemen had to remind Trubisky to be louder with his calls and cadence, but that's no longer a problem. Trubisky barks loudly now, which denotes a serious increase in confidence.

That breeds confidence among his blockers, too.

"Absolutely," Turner said. "We're definitely more confident in him."

So, there you have it: the coaching staff and players are confident in either Williams or Trubisky, but for now, the line from Chapel Hill is nobody knows who will start because a decision hasn't been made.




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