On “Good” Marquise Williams and “Bad” Marquise Williams


Marquise Williams is an extremely talented, gifted football player. That’s the initial premise that we must start with when discussing Marquise Williams, because sometimes it is easy to forget just how good he is. It’s easy to forget after he throws two picks in the first quarter against Wake Forest or throws three picks against South Carolina or incompletes four passes in a row.

After those spells of “bad” Marquise, fans are quick to point and scream and yell for Mitch Trubisky to come in. Who can blame them? Watching Marquise is watching a talented yet flawed quarterback. His flaws are pretty easy to point out — he is inconsistent, sometimes maddeningly inconsistent, and careless with the football. These flaws make up “bad” Marquise Williams.

“Good” Marquise Williams? A quarterback who is an excellent passer and runner. An explosive play machine. The perfect CEO of Larry Fedora’s up-tempo, run and gun offense. And a clutch quarterback.

With Marquise, there isn’t much of a middle ground. The perfect example was the game from this past weekend, when Quise was quite bad in the first quarter, throwing two ugly picks, but brilliant after. His stat line, 14 of 20 for 282 yards and three passing TDs, as well as 12 rushes for 59 yards and a score, is as good as anyone’s in the country. That’s the type of stat line that should win Heismans and ACC Player of the Year awards, but I doubt Williams will win either because “bad” Marquise clouds everyone’s judgement of him.

By now, the middle of Quise’s senior season, fans should just come to accept number 12 for who he is. He will never be the consistent, methodical passer or game manager that doesn’t throw any picks or make any outlandish mistakes. But he also adds value because he can throw for a 60 yard TD one series and run for a 60 yard TD the next.

I don’t want to call Mitch Trubisky a “game-manager” just yet, because obviously we haven’t seen him in a full game or full season. But I truly don’t think he can make some of these plays that Marquise can make.

Mitch may be more consistent, and sometimes you want consistent! You want consistent against Delaware when just getting the ball out and on time to UNC’s talented skill position players will win the ballgame.

But sometimes you need more than consistent to win football games. You need explosive, clutch and improvisation, and that’s when Marquise Williams proves his worth.

I think the point I’m trying to make here can best be summed up with this tweet from Saturday from John Tobben of Raleigh Co

With Mitch Trubisky in, you get not Carolina’s best version or worst version but somewhere in the middle.

With Marquise Williams in, you get the highs and the lows, which is both frustrating and exhilarating to watch, depending on the outcome.

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Looking forward to the rest of the season, Carolina has an important stretch of conference games coming up. UNC’s ability to win those games against Pitt, Duke and Miami, the three contenders in the Coastal, will come down to one simple thing — “good” Marquise has to shine above “bad” Marquise. That’s the key. The defense is good enough to win the Coastal. The special teams are fine. The running game is better. The key is for Marquise Williams to show up and come through as he has proven he can do in the past to win these games against tough opponents.

To conclude, don’t call for Mitch to come in after every Marquise Williams turnover. Mitch will get his time next year to prove himself. For now, embrace Williams. Embrace the good and bad and trust that “good” Marquise will continue to make plays when his team needs them.