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UNC football concludes camp: What we learned

The North Carolina offensive line faced plenty of questions, but overall it came together well during the preseason. ROBERT WILLETT

CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina on Monday finished up the formal “camp” portion of the preseason. Obviously, there’s still a bit of time – nine days, to be exact – before the Tar Heels begin the season on Aug. 29 at South Carolina. And so there is some preseason remaining.

But the rest of it will be focused on preparing for the Gamecocks. UNC on Monday actually began installing its game plan for South Carolina. Before that practice, on Saturday, the Tar Heels moved out of the hotel they shared during the past three weeks.

Indeed, camp is over. But, good or bad, the work the Tar Heels accomplished in recent weeks is likely to carry on throughout the season. Here’s a look at some things we learned from UNC’s preseason camp …

UNC backup QB position might belong to freshman Mitch Trubisky

North Carolina freshman quarterback Mitch Trubisky enrolled early and played well during the spring. ROBERT WILLETT

CHAPEL HILL — It’s a question no head coach with an experienced senior quarterback wants to consider but one, undoubtedly, that North Carolina’s Larry Fedora has spent time pondering: What happens if that senior quarterback gets hurt for a while?

If UNC senior quarterback Bryn Renner suffers an injury that keeps him sidelined for a while – and it’s not all that likely, given he has been durable as a two-year starter – the Tar Heels just might turn their offense over to Mitch Trubisky, a freshman from Ohio who enrolled in school last January. Here's the story.

And here’s the thing about this: Whether or not Trubisky plays this season would likely depend a lot on if he’s needed, and when that potential need arises. UNC already has a somewhat experienced backup in Marquise Williams.

UNC QB Marquise Williams works on maturity

North Carolina QB Marquise Williams missed spring practice and is still working to become more mature, he said. ROBERT WILLETT

CHAPEL HILL — After leaving school last spring due to an academic issue, North Carolina quarterback Marquise Williams knew he had some work to do. He focused on internal improvement, he said after one recent Tar Heels’ practice.

“I’m working on my maturity, and just being more focused,” Williams said. “That’s one thing I’ve been focusing on this year when I went through my adversity – being a more mature guy than I was.”

UNC coach Larry Fedora: Ready or not, offensive line must gel

North Carolina left tackle James Hurst is back, but the Tar Heels' offensive line entered preseason camp with plenty of questions. ROBERT WILLETT

CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina held its annual preseason football media day earlier today … Some news and notes:

UNC QB Marquise Williams back in school

North Carolina quarterback Marquise Williams is back in school -- but can he reclaim his job as backup to Bryn Renner? ROBERT WILLETT

CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina quarterback Marquise Williams is back in school after not being enrolled during the spring semester, team spokesman Kevin Best said on Friday.

Marquise Williams no longer enrolled at UNC

Marquise Williams, a top recruit in North Carolina's 2011 signing class, is no longer enrolled at UNC. ROBERT WILLETT

CHAPEL HILL — Marquise Williams, the quarterback who was one of the top-rated members of North Carolina’s 2011 recruiting class, is not enrolled at UNC for the spring semester, a team spokesman said on Monday.

UNC spring football game: What we learned

UNC coach Larry Fedora address his team after the Tar Heels' spring game on Saturday. PHOTO: Robert Willett

CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina held its annual Blue vs. White spring football scrimmage at Kenan Stadium on Saturday. In case you missed the story that ran in the paper about this yesterday, you can read it right here. The Blue team defeated the White, 44-7. Well, actually, the final scoreboard read 44-21 – but that includes 14 points that the White team received at halftime to make the game a bit more competitive.

Of course, the final score of a spring scrimmage doesn’t mean much. And it’s difficult to read too much into the Tar Heels’ spring game, anyway, because it was, you have to remember, UNC’s 14th practice in the completely new, completely different offensive and defensive system that first-year coach Larry Fedora and his assistants are installing. A lot will change between now and September.

Even so, the spring game provided us some insight and some lessons. Here are some of them:

UNC spring football game: What to watch

UNC coach Larry Fedora wants to see energy and enthusiasm during the Tar Heels' spring game on Saturday. PHOTO: Robert Willett

CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina coach Larry Fedora wouldn’t mind another 25, 30 practices or so this spring. Maybe by then, he said earlier this week, the Tar Heels would be able to accomplish all they need to accomplish before heading into the off-season conditioning program.

But there will not be 25 or 30 more practices for Fedora and UNC. NCAA rules limit teams to 15 spring practices, and UNC’s final one comes on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Kenan Stadium, where the Tar Heels will play their annual spring scrimmage (admission free, game televised at

Here are some things to watch:

Marquise Williams emerges in competition for starting QB at UNC

UNC coach Larry Fedora says the quarterback competition between Bryn Renner and Marquise Williams (pictured, left) is "wide open." PHOTO: Robert Willett

CHAPEL HILL Here’s a story I wrote today about Marquise Williams, the rising redshirt freshman quarterback at North Carolina.

Williams, a former standout at Mallard Creek High in Charlotte, came to UNC for a couple of reasons, mainly: One, his cousin played for the Tar Heels years ago. And two, Williams formed a bond with former UNC offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach John Shoop.

Five UNC recruits enroll early

Five new North Carolina football players got a head start on their college careers on Monday.

Marquise Williams, T.J. Thorpe, Landon Turner, Travis Riley and Sylvester Williams enrolled a semester early for the Tar Heels. Williams, Thorpe, Turner and Riley are freshmen. Sylvester Williams is a junior-college transfer.

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