Marquise Williams ended last season as North Carolina’s starting quarterback and he’s hoping he’ll begin this season the same way. That’s not a given, though. He understands that.
Williams, though, will represent the Tar Heels’ offense at the ACC’s annual preseason kickoff on Sunday in Greensboro. That has to be a good thing for him, right? It has to mean, on some level, that he has solidified himself as the Tar Heels’ starting quarterback, right?
“I don’t take anything of it, saying I’m the starter,” Williams said Wednesday during a pre-media day meeting with media members. “Because I’m still going to compete.”
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Get used to hearing Williams say the word “compete” – or its variation, “competition” – a lot. He said it often on Wednesday and, undoubtedly, the competition he shares with Mitch Trubisky, a second-year freshman, will be a topic of interest when Williams answers questions in Greensboro on Sunday.
Williams, a fourth-year junior, helped lead UNC to victories in five of its final six games last season. His mobility was an asset, especially given the Tar Heels’ inconsistent pass blocking.
Trubisky, though, entered UNC last year as one of the team’s most heralded recruits. He was named Mr. Football in Ohio during his senior year of high school, and he expressed confidence in the spring that he could earn the starting quarterback job.
If that talk bothered Williams, he didn’t express it. At least not publicly.
And though Williams’ appearance in Greensboro doesn’t mean he’s solidified himself as a starter, it probably does mean that his work during the off-season has pleased coach Larry Fedora and his staff. Players mired in the doghouse aren’t just let out to greet a roomful of reporters.
“It’s just given me confidence,” Williams said of being selected to go to media day. “And it’s just given me trust that my coaches trust me to put me in that situation, and they know what I’m going to say to the media when things hit the wall and stuff like that.
“So I’m preparing for it, and I’m excited to be there representing the University of North Carolina.”
Williams laughed when asked how tired he might be on Sunday of the quarterback competition questions. He said he wouldn’t be and, in fact, that he’s trying to anticipate what kinds of questions he’ll be asked.
He said he had a dream in which media members were peppering him with questions. Maybe it was good practice.
“I’m preparing myself and I’m just going to have fun with it,” Williams said. “I’m not going to let one get under my skin with it. I’m just going to have fun and hopefully I don’t (upset) nobody by laughing at them.”