The Countdown to Bowlmas will be a running series on Keeping It Heel leading up to the Belk Bowl on December 28th. The series will recap moments from the season in UNC football from Marquise William’s rise to Ryan Switzer’s amazing returns. Check back every morning for the daily countdown post, and use #Bowlmas to support the movement on Twitter.The 2013 season of Carolina football was a season of change. While last years team resembled Butch Davis’s squad running a different system, this years team was much more Coach Fedora’s doing. That change from old coach to new was never more obvious than at the quarterback position, where Marquise Williams took over for Bryn Renner midway through the season.
Quise was thrown right into the fire, making his first start in a hostile environment in Blacksburg and asked to lead the team to bowl eligibility. Some questioned Marquise’s abilities or readiness, but in the end, he really performed very well for a first year starting QB. He had a big part in five of UNC’s wins and a big part in only two losses. That is definitely something to build on going forward.
But even more important than stats and wins, Marquise had to win the team and the fans hearts. Bryn Renner meant a lot to UNC fans- he stuck with the program through all the good and the bad and carried UNC into the light after the NCAA sanctions. It was tough to have his career as a Tar Heel cut short by injury. Heels fans missed Bryn, and weren’t quite ready to accept a new dual-threat QB as their leader.
Marquise Williams realized all the circumstances of the situation, and took an action that meant a lot to a lot of people. Against Virginia, Williams donned the number two jersey in honor of his injured teammate.
He didn’t have to do that. He could have patted Renner on the back and bragged to the media about how this was now his football team. But instead, Williams wore the number two and in doing so, won a lot of fans among the Carolina faithful.
Going forward, the future is really bright with Marquise. Yes, he wasn’t perfect this season. But he improved upon his passing game and added that to an already strong running threat. He showed flashes of his football potential on deep throws against ODU and fancy scrambles against Pittsburgh. And he illustrated his character against Virginia.
It is sad that this season will be remembered as Bryn Renner’s last, but it will also be remembered as the year Marquise Williams took over and won our hearts.