Although varying in severity, Duke, North Carolina and N.C. State each have their own very different quarterback issues that have arisen after spring practices.
The Blue Devils have to replace back-up and goal-line specialist Brandon Connette, who will transfer from Duke to a school on the west coast.
North Carolina has two quarterbacks to choose from as its starter, although coach Larry Fedora is confident that the Tar Heels can win with both.
N.C. State, which has the most difficult challenge of the three, will have to lean on a transfer quarterback that hasn’t taken a game snap in a Wolfpack uniform.
At the most important position on the field, all three Atlantic Coast Conference schools located in the Triangle still have a little bit to figure out before the season begins in late August.
“We’re starting the year with only one quarterback that has ever play collegiately,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said. “The big deal right now is we are definitively looking at whoever we can use as a back-up.”
Returning starter Anthony Boone, a redshirt senior in his second year as starting quarterback, gives the Blue Devils the most stability at the position of the three major school.
However Cutcliffe, the reigning ACC Coach of the Year, is after something he had during his previous two stops as a head coach.
He wants stability and experience behind Boone.
“I’m real serious about trying to find a way to get our young quarterbacks some meaningful snaps,” said Cutcliffe, who pointed to Thomas Sirk or Parker Boehme as replacements for Connette. “... I always just want to stay aware of that depth situation.”
North Carolina already knows it has a skilled back-up. Fedora just isn’t sure which of his two top quarterbacks will be the starter yet.
Marquise Williams might seem like the logical choice, but redshirt freshman Mitch Trubisky has shined during spring practice.
“There were certain days when one would do better than the other,” Fedora said. “That’s the great thing about the competition right now. I do feel comfortable that we have two guys that we can win with.
“As far as when that’ll be determined, we’ll see how it works out.”
Fedora said he has not set a date for making a final decision about the Tar Heels’ quarterback situation. Williams threw for 1,527 yards and 14 touchdowns while making five starts last year.
“I think both guys have competed really well,” said Fedora, who returners just one scholarship starter on offense. “I think that has brought out the best in both of them. They’ll continue to do that through the summer and fall camp.”
The Wolfpack, which opens with Georgia Southern, has a completely different situation at hand.
Leading a team with 70 percent underclassmen, second-year coach Dave Doeren will lean on transfer quarterback Jacoby Brissett.
Brissett, who was rated as the No. 3 quarterback in the nation out of high school, transferred to N.C. State. The team went winless in ACC play last year, but the transfer from Florida seems perfect for Doeren up-tempo offense. The 6-foot-4, 236-pound Brissett will have to rely on a young group of receivers, lead by Bo Hines, who had the most consistent spring as a true freshman according to Doeren.
“We just need to get a consistent performance,” said Doeren, citing an up-and-down spring for returners Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Jumichael Ramos. “A lot of times when a guy plays as a true freshman, they get a big head. That’s one thing guys can’t do. ... Those two guys need to have great summers for us.”
Justin Hite can be reached at 407-9951 or email@example.com