Oct. 28, 2010

North Carolina's players and coaches are very familiar with one of William & Mary's quarterbacks. Michael Paulus was a Tar Heel before transferring for this year.

Paulus, though, is only half of the equation behind center for the Tribe, and both have combined to give coach Jimmye Laycock one of the best teams in the Championship Subdivision.

"Quarterback wise, I know a lot will be made of Mike Paulus," Tar Heels coach Butch Davis said of the two-year Tar Heel, but "... we have to be prepared to see both of these guys."

As often as not, that has been how Laycock has guided his team to a 6-1 record that includes victories against defending national champion and top-ranked Villanova and fellow Colonial Athletic Association power Delaware, another of the top-rated programs in the FCS.

The Delaware victory came last weekend when Mike Callahan, who lost his starting job because of a separated shoulder, came off the bench and rallied the Tribe to win, 17-16.

Callahan, who started the first four games before Paulus came on and rallied William & Mary past Maine, 24-21, is expected to start, but Paulus said he will be ready, too.

"I think it's kind of gotten to the point where I realize and maybe Callahan and the guys on the team, everyone realizes that it's going to take both of us to do something special this year. It already has," the junior with two touchdown passes and two interceptions said.

"He's won games for us, I've won games for us. I had to go in for him, he had to come in for me," he continued. "It's kind of been back and forth, and it's kind of like whichever one of us is in there, I think the team and the coaching staff thinks we're going to win."

Callahan has thrown six TD passes and three interceptions, and said he and Paulus will spend a lot of time this week watching film together, with Paulus providing any inside information about how certain players play, their tendencies and anything else of help.

He also he knows that William & Mary wouldn't look like a contender to become the fifth different team from the CAA to win the national championship in eight years if not for Paulus' work when he was hurt.

"It's always good to have depth at any position," he said. "People don't really talk about depth at their quarterback position because only one plays, and in most situations, you really don't get to see that second guy. But when you need him, you need him to be in there and you need him to win. The win against Nova, the win against Rhode Island, those were big."

Both quarterbacks have seen action in five games, and regardless of whether Paulus gets to play again on the Kenan Stadium field, emotions will be mixed for the Tar Heels coaches.

North Carolina (4-3) is trying to bounce back from a blowout loss to Miami.

"Mike's a very good kid. He's a very good quarterback. He's led them to some significant victories," Davis said, while allowing the situation feels rather bizarre. "It is a little bit odd that somebody who played for you is on the field playing for another team."

Offensive coordinator John Shoop agrees.

"All season, I've been rooting for what Mike wants to happen to happen. I've been rooting for him," Shoop said. "I'm not going to be rooting for him this weekend, obviously, but I've got feelings invested in him, and I hope good things happen to him down the road."

Paulus, meanwhile, admits that he's probably stayed in too close contact with North Carolina quarterback T.J. Yates, and perhaps other former teammates he'll see Saturday.

"He shot the guys some text messages talking a little smack, but that's Mike," safety Deunta Williams said.

It was all in good fun, Paulus said.

"It'll be fun," he said. "I'm excited to see those guys."


AP Sports Writer Joedy McCreary in Raleigh, N.C., contributed to this report.