Three big events are set in Chapel Hill this weekend: the annual Carolina Spring Blue-White Game, the Lettermen’s Reunion and a concert Saturday night by Chase Rice, a former Tar Heel linebacker hitting it big in the country music world.
The Blue-White game will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday in Kenan Stadium and will feature an offense now led by Mitch Trubisky and a cast of veterans around him and a defense still evolving under coordinator Gene Chizik.
The offense lost quarterback Marquise Williams from last year’s 11-3 team, but Trubisky is well-suited to take his place. Also gone is receiver Quinshad Davis, but the Tar Heels are deep at receiver with seniors Bug Howard, Mack Hollins and Ryan Switzer. The biggest question mark is finding a replacement for right guard Landon Turner, and O-line coach Chris Kapilovic says it will likely be mid-August before he makes a decision on who among John Ferranto, Brad Henson or someone else earns that job.
“I’m definitely excited,” says Trubisky, a rising junior. “We have so much talent coming back, the sky’s the limit for this team. We want to build off last year. We’ll look at what went well, look at the mistakes we made, try to make this season even better. That’s the goal—to go places we haven’t been before, to do something special.”
The defense has been hit by the loss of linebackers Jeff Schoettmer and Shakeel Rashad and safety Sam Smiley and injuries this spring to linebacker Andre Smith and end Dajaun Drennon. Two promising freshmen who enrolled in January are Myles Dorn, son of Tar Heel Letterman Torn, and linebacker Jonathan Smith.
“We had a lot of positives throughout the regular season, but you don’t want to end on a note like we did the last two games against Clemson and Baylor,” Chizik says. “We want to win games on defense. We didn’t do that. We don’t run from our inadequacies. Why we did not produce in championship moments? Our job is to reach back and figure out why. The silver lining of those two losses is they show us exactly where we are and what we have to do to get better.”
The Lettermen’s festivities begin with a full field for the Morris Mason Golf Tournament, which tees off at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Finley Golf Course. There will be a social and dinner beginning at 6:30 Friday night at the Blue Zone, and a pre-game BBQ on Saturday beginning at 12:30 at the Bell Tower.
For information on the Lettermen weekend, contact Teresa Vanderford in the football office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919/962-9144.
Rice, who lettered for Carolina from 2005-08, will play Saturday night in Carmichael Arena for the 2016 UNC Jubliee Concert. The show is part of Rice’s “Back to College Tour.” For ticket orders, click here.