If you thought Marquise Williams was just going to waltz through the spring as the clear starter for North Carolina football in 2014, think again. UNC head coach Larry Fedora has said the quarterback competition this spring is opened up and Mitch Trubisky and Kanler Coker will each have a chance to compete with Williams for the starting job edge this spring.
“We’ve opened the position up,” Fedora said to ESPN.com. “He and Mitch Trubisky and Kanler Coker are going to battle it out this spring, and we’ll see what happens there.”
This may come as somewhat of a surprise after Williams took over the Tar Heel offense last season once Bryn Renner went down with an injury. Williams ended the season completing 58.1 percent of his passes for 1,698 yards and 15 touchdowns with six interceptions. Williams was one of the sparks to the turnaround last season as well, with UNC going from 1-5 to finishing the season with a 7-6 record. Williams was the starting quarterback for the final five games of the 2013 season, including the bowl game against Cincinnati, and UNC went 4-1 in that span. Williams also added some flexibility to the offensive game by rushing for a team high 536 yards and six touchdowns.
Is Williams really in a competition or is this just Fedora trying to light a fire under all of his players this spring?
“We’re going to compete and we’ll see what happens,” Fedora said. “[Williams] has the most experience of anybody, but those guys are definitely going to compete for that job. You don’t earn a job just because a guy gets hurt. Marquise stepped into that role because Bryn got hurt. Now we’re going to compete for the job. Yeah, he does have the advantage because he started [five] games, but that doesn’t mean it’s his job.”
Unless Trubisky or Coker make a huge statement starting this spring, it still seems as though the starting job will eventually be for Williams to lose.