TarHeelIllustrated - Quarterbacks Talk: Jace Ruder
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Quarterbacks Talk: Jace Ruder

CHAPEL HILL – North Carolina made its three quarterbacks battling for the starting job available following Tuesday’s practice, which was the 11th of fall camp for the Tar Heels.

Jace Ruder, Cade Fortin and Sam Howell have not yet been available for interviews since camp iopened until now, and THI was on hand to ask some questions and capture everything they had to say.

Above is Ruder's full interview, and below are some notes and quotes from what he had to say:

Note: Ruder is a redshirt sophomore who played 25 snaps last season versus Gergia Tech before braking his shoulder forcing him to miss the rest of the season. He’s 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds.

*While Cade Fortin admitted to having some anxiety as fall camp approached, did Ruder experience anything similar?

“This is my second training camp, so I think it’s natural to have a little bit of anxiety, a little nervousness because there’s a lot on the line given the fact that there’s three of us going for the job,” he said. “But, it’s been a blast. There’s not a day in here where I’m dead, the team’s dead.

“We all come in here (and) it’s like a game every day, and that’s the big difference in making training camp miserable and what’s getting us through it.”

*Mack Brown said before fall camp started that the QBs could move up or down on the "depth chart" based on a single pass, the competition would be that fierce. How much is competing every moment of every practice going to benefit whoever wins the job considering they won’t have a lot of time being The Guy leading to the opener versus South Carolina?

“It’s a great opportunity for the three of us to better our games,” Ruder replied. “Coach Brown is very tough on us, every throw does have an impact on where we stand and that makes us rise to the level of the competition.”

*One of the negatives Brown has also noted is that with three guys equal in the pecking order, it’s been difficult for any of the QBs to gain any traction as the kind of leader the team will need from its starter. How have the quarterbacks approached that?

“That’s something you can’t take for granted, because at the quarterback position you’ve got to a leader,” Ruder said. “And I think day in and day out, each morning we wake up we’ve got to remember that. We’ve got to lead this team, we’ve got to set the example and we just have to go out there and do our thing.”

*Brown and offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Phil Longo have maintained this week that the battle is absolutely even. Does Ruder have any idea of maybe there is some kind of pecking order in the coaches’ minds?

“Not at all,” he said. “Coach Longo said the three of us, we’re all even right now. We all have different games, we bring different things to the table, it’s just going to come down to the last minute, grinding it out and seeing who can be the most productive on the field.”