UNC comfortable in dual-quarterback set
When backup quarterback Marquise Williams hears his name called to replace starter Bryn Renner during a game, as part of the North Carolina football team’s new dual-quarterback system, the two frequently have a similar exchange.
“Only thing he says is, ‘Do what you gotta do — do your part,’” Williams said. “And that’s what we preach, you gotta do your own part. Every day in and out, you gotta do your own part and get some positive things going.”
Heading into Thursday’s game against Miami, UNC’s game plan was to play Williams during the team’s third series of the night. The redshirt sophomore, however, heard his name echo down the sideline earlier than he anticipated, but he was already prepared with Renner’s constant advice already etched in his mind.
Part of Williams’ day-to-day job is to smoothly transition into the game for Renner while maintaining the speed of UNC’s no-huddle offense.
And when third-year starter Renner makes his way to the sideline in exchange for a less experienced Williams, Offensive Coordinator Blake Anderson isn’t worried, and he said the offense often can’t distinguish between the two.
“As long as ’Quise communicates clearly and they know what the plays are, they don’t know who’s back there behind them,” Anderson said. “I think they’ve got confidence in both (quarterbacks) at this point and I think it’s more what it does to the defense than what it does for or to us.”
Senior tailback A.J. Blue said the team values the dual-quarterback scheme, especially when Williams joins Renner to bolster the passing game. Despite throwing an interception on his first play of the Miami game, Williams settled in on his next series and threw a 71-yard touchdown pass to tight end Eric Ebron.
“They both threw touchdowns (against Miami), which lets us know that both of them are capable of making plays,” he said. “I think it humbles both of them in a way that neither one is too good to be taken out and both feed off each other.”
Anderson said the team will continue to rely on the two-quarterback system to put pressure on opposing defenses.
“As long as we don’t create issues with the transition, which so far we haven’t, and as long as both guys are healthy and playing effectively, I think it creates stress for the defense as much as anything,” he said. “Our guys seem to be handling it just fine and we just gotta make plays and do our job.”
As for Williams’ job, the backup quaterback knows it’s one he can’t do on his own.
“When it’s my time, it’s my time,” he said. “I’m rooting for my boy (No.) 2, and we’re going to try to win these things together from here on out.”