Football season is just around the corner and there’s plenty of excitement in Chapel Hill about the 2014 Tar Heels. Some of the faithful are even optimistic that Carolina can win the ACC Coastal Division. Whether that’s realistic or not remains to be seen. However, one thing is for sure – UNC’s success this season will depend on the development of junior quarterback Marquise Williams.
Last year, the Tar Heels were well on their way to another disappointing season on the gridiron… then things changed. Sophomore Marquise Williams took over at signal caller for an injured Bryn Renner and what do you know, the team began to take off. With Williams under center, the Carolina offense started to look like a Larry Fedora coached unit and as a result the W’s began to rack up. The Tar Heels were 3-4 in games started by Renner (Marquise finished the victory at N.C. State) and 4-2 in the contest that Williams started. Now I’m aware that there were several factors to why each quarterback had the record they did but even the biggest Bryn Renner supporters can’t deny the fact that the Heels “O” looked a whole lot better under Marquise.
The 6’2″ 220 lbs dual threat from Charlotte is an ideal fit for Coach Fedora system and with the sneak peek he gave us last season, it’s easy to see why UNC fans are looking forward to the fall. Marquise threw for 1,698 yards, 15 touchdowns (six interceptions) and completed 58.8 percent of his passes. We can’t for get about the work he did on the ground because all this young man did was lead the team in rushing with 536 yards. He also lead the squad with six rushing scores, all as a part-time player essentially.
I’m well aware that the sample size is small and Williams will have to lead the offense these season without all world tight end Eric Ebron. But, Carolina has plenty of weapons and going off what I saw last year this guy just makes the players around him better.
While some have spoken about a potential quarterback competition at UNC, I fully expect Marquise to be the victor of any battle for the starting spot. With that, I’m expecting a pretty big 2014 from the junior. Williams and the Carolina offense should be one tough group to deal with. Having playmakers like wide receivers Quinshad Davis and Ryan Switzer will no doubt make Marquise’s job a little easier and his ability to run will finally add that dimension to the offense that was missing under Renner’s leadership. I believe that Williams can double all his passing numbers from a year ago and put up another 700 plus yards on the ground with 7-10 touchdowns. If he can come close to those lofty expectations, Marquise and the Tar Heels could be coming home for a championship game in December!