QB Job Up For Grabs

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – On Sunday, Butch Davis told reporters that Cam Sexton would continue to be North Carolina's starting quarterback. On Monday, the UNC head coach backed off those statements and indicated that Sexton and T.J. Yates would compete this week for the starting quarterback job against N.C. State.

"We are not going to name a starter as to this Saturday," Davis said during his weekly Monday press conference. "I'm going to meet with both of the quarterbacks this afternoon, as is [offensive coordinator] John Shoop, and we're going to sit down and talk to them and say, ‘Look, both of you need to be prepared.' And we'll try to make a decision at some point later in the week… The most important thing, at all positions, is who gives us the best chance to win."

After telling the media during his Sunday night teleconference that "our plan is right now to start Cam," Davis and his coaching staff spent four to five hours discussing the quarterback situation and the offense during the night. After another meeting early Monday morning, the decision was made to open up the position for competition.

"It's no disrespect to Cam," Davis said. "Cam's done an outstanding job for the most part. He's come in, we've won games with him, he's performed well and he's made some good decisions. Now we're in a situation where he's got a body of work, a history of when he's been playing [and] T.J.'s got 12 games from last year and two-and-a-half games from this year… What is the best choice for our football team?"

Yates missed six weeks of action after suffering a small non-displaced fracture in his left ankle during the third quarter of the 20-17 loss to Virginia Tech in September. The red-shirt sophomore was brought along slowly when cleared to practice over two weeks ago, as the coaching staff worked through cautionary measure while Yates knocked the rust off.

While Sexton has received the majority of practice snaps over the past two weeks, Yates has able to utilize 30 percent of the snaps to work back into game shape. Even with Yates directing a series late in the Georgia Tech game, Davis indicated that Shoop was careful in his play calling to protect his signal caller.

Davis pointed out that Yates has only worked through six full practices, as he experienced his first blitz drill just 12 days ago. The plan this week is to allow him to run his portion of practice while putting him through difficult situations, including having to avoid sacks and hits.

"He practiced last night and moved around, and we got a chance to see him and see what [our options are] as we move forward," Davis said.

Sexton has posted a 4-2 record as a starter for North Carolina, completing 90 of his 162 attempts for 1,230 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions. But the red-shirt junior endured his worst performance of the season in Saturday's loss to Maryland, connecting on 10 of his 24 passes for 166 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Through the first three games of the season, Yates had thrown for 623 yards on 60.6 percent passing (40-of-66) and six touchdowns with one interception.

As a team, North Carolina leads the ACC with a 136.8 pass efficiency rating.

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