This past Monday, Larry Fedora and a few of the players for UNC were available for media day to answer questions about the current progression of the team. One of the bigger questions out there was, of course, when Fedora believes he will know who the starting quarterback will be.
“September 2nd,” Larry Fedora said with a smile. “As soon as possible though, really I mean I’d like to know as soon as possible just like you guys want to know. The sooner the better because then that guy can zero in on leading the team.”
It is widely believed that while Fedora has a four-way competition for who will be the starting quarterback for the Tar Heels, former LSU player Brandon Harris is likely to win the starting spot for when Carolina faces off against Cal on September 2nd. The only other quarterback with any college experience to this point is Nathan Elliott, who backed up Mitch Trubisky last year.
Not much later, Fedora was asked what it is physically that Harris has been able to do that has impressed him to this point:
“He can make every throw there is,” Fedora said. “The guy has a tremendous arm and I have really been impressed with his accuracy. It’s easy to tell when he isn’t going to be accurate because his feet are messed up. When his feet are messed up then he’s usually not accurate so it’s not about arm strength - he’s got plenty of arm and he can be plenty accurate when he knows where he is going with the ball, and he can run so he’s got all of the tools that we’re looking for.”
The issue with Harris’ feet are a byproduct of the growing pains of transitioning into UNC’s style off offense compared to what he was asked to do during his time at LSU. Harris came from an NFL-style offense where seven-step and five-step drops were common in Cam Cameron’s system. This is quite a change for him, seeing how Fedora’s system is built mostly around three-step drops. This on top of all of the new terminology and play concepts has made for quite the expected adjustment for Harris, but it seems as though he is handling the challenge as well as one would expect to this point.
Harris was also available during media day to answer some questions about his progress since arriving in Chapel Hill. He echoed some of the sentiments made by Coach Fedora, stating that the footwork and scheme are very different from what he did at LSU. During his time at LSU, the offense was heavily reliant running back Leonard Fournette in early down situations. A lot of Harris’ throws were in third-and-long situations, so it is easy to see why he believes that UNC’s system is a better fit for him.
“I think I can throw the football,” Harris said. “I think I can run the football, but I think the thing is getting in a rhythm and being able to come out on early downs and throw the football. That way you can loosen up the defense, that way the running game opens up and I think it makes you successful as a quarterback. On offense, you have to be balanced. When a coach gives you easy throws, you have to make those.”
So far Larry Fedora has said that all four quarterbacks have been getting an equal amount of reps during practice. It is to be expected that things will get interesting if they haven’t already as the Heels held their first scrimmage Tuesday. More updates on Harris as well as the battle for the starting position are likely to come out in the days to come, as the summer begins to wind down and UNC gets ready for their first matchup of the season against Cal.