Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Could Mallard Creek's Marquise Williams win North Carolina's starting quarterback job?

Marquise Williams, the redshirt freshman quarterback at North Carolina and a former standout at Mallard Creek High in Charlotte, came to UNC for a couple of reasons: One, his cousin played for the Tar Heels years ago. And two, Williams formed a bond with former UNC offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach John Shoop.

At Mallard Creek High in Charlotte, Williams was an adept passer and runner. In his high school’s offense, he was asked to do both, and he usually managed to do so with great success. Still, Shoop convinced Williams he could thrive in UNC’s traditional, pro-style offense – an offense in which Williams would have spent most of his time under center. So Williams took it hard when Shoop and the rest of UNC’s old staff cleared out.

By January, Williams had been at UNC for less than six months. Yet he was already learning how to work with his third head coach. First there was Butch Davis, whom UNC fired days before the start of practice for the 2011 season. Then interim head coach Everett Withers. And then Larry Fedora, whom UNC hired in December.

Fedora brought in a completely new coaching staff, and a completely new offensive (and defensive) philosophy. And as it turns out, Williams might have the most to gain out of anybody from the coaching transition.

Before the coaching change, Williams was attempting to fit into an offensive system that was unlike the one he thrived in during his high school years. He had never before been in a pro-style offense. Fedora’s system, though, might better utilize Williams’ diverse skill set.

The quarterback competition between Williams and incumbent Bryn Renner is open. “Wide open,” as both Fedora and offensive coordinator Blake Anderson put it earlier this week. Fedora was sure to mention, too, that some people might not believe it’s an open competition. But he insists that it is.

(Read today's story from the Observer about the quarterback competition and Thursday's scrimmage at Mallard Creek here.) 

Renner has plenty of advantages. He started 13 games a season ago, and he usually played well. He passed for 3,086 yards and twice as many touchdowns (26) as interceptions (13). But Williams’ athleticism – and the fact that his physical skill fits well into Fedora’s scheme – gives him an advantage over Renner.

Asked to evaluate Williams’ performance in spring practice so far, Anderson said this:

“[I’ve seen] just marked improvement – just daily improvement. Still got a long way to go but the last three to four days, I’ve seen signs of improvement and he’s definitely competitive. He’s spending time studying. You find him in there in the office, watching tape on his own a good bit. Which is a sign of a guy that’s trying.

“It’s a whole lot to process in a really short period of time. And him, and really all the quarterbacks, are still struggling with it. But I’ve been pleased with what we’ve gotten from him to this point.”

-- Andrew Carter


Anonymous said...

Thank-you Holden Thorpe for RUINING UNC Football for the next decade!!!

Anonymous said...

Yep. Thorpe was the only problem all right! Nice to see the Tar Heel team travel to Mallard Creek HIgh last night on a recruiting trip. I wonder who authorized the use of a couple of state troopers to accompany their buses and tie up rush hour traffic. That's one fine use of state funds-so glad I could help pay for it.
On the bright side, God did show his disapproval of this little stunt by sending some lightning to the area to cancel the planned scrimmage. GO TAR HOLES!

sports bookmaker said...

I read the reasons you exposed about why Marquise Williams went to UNC and I could not agree more with you, and I think I have a third one, his girlfriend is from North Carolina ;)