How big of a blow was it to see Bryn Renner’s collegiate career come to an end?
“It’s tough because it’s somebody I’ve been looking up to since I came to college. I knew he’d never let me down. He always encouraged me to be a leader and to do better. When things aren’t going right, he always encouraged me just to do the right things. It’s a big blow for us but it’s tough. I’ve got a lot people who’ll say, 'Well, this is your time to start.' You know it is but as of right now it’s tough because that’s my big brother from another mother. I’ve been with him since Day One, since I’ve been here. Regardless, until he goes to the league I’m still going to look up to him. It’s just tough for us right now.”
How much has Bryn influenced you as a player?
“He influenced me a lot. He changed a lot of things about me. You know he’s the reason why I became more mature than I was last year. I had to focus on more of the game and stuff. Just taking things in life more seriously. Like I said, when I was gone in the spring I didn’t take things seriously and it was going to be like that but the guy taught me so much. Being more mature, being more respectful and learning the quarterback role. You can’t do what everybody else is doing around here as a receiver, a running back or a defensive back. You’ve got to carry yourself different.
"I remember one day I wore a crazy shirt but he’s like, ‘You can’t do that Marquise because you’re the quarterback now. That’s something you’ve got to step up to.’ That’s something he always taught me. I mean the guy has put so much tremendous thoughts and things into me. He helped me in the offseason just become better than who I was. The guy is unbelievable. It’s tough for me right now.”
How much does it mean for Bryn to offer so much help throughout your career?
“A lot of people trash talk and say, 'Marquise you should start.' No, no, it’s not me. I’m behind my leader and 'til this day he's still leading. 'Til this day, he’s still the leader to me and that’s regardless if he’s hurt or not. I’m still going to ask him what to do. They’re going to say it’s my team but this is his team. That’s tough for me because like I said I’ve been looking up to him since I was 18 years old coming into Carolina.”
What did it mean to see Bryn play Saturday after suffering the injury that would inevitably end his career?
“Unbelievable guy. He’s like a super hero to me. I get emotional, man, because like I said, the guy is unbelievable. Being banged up the whole time here but he’s never going to let the team down. He’s always going to be on top and that’s what encouraged me to be who I am today. Never stop doing what you’re doing because Bryn never stopped what he did. Bryn was always banged up but I’d go in for a play and he’d always come back. I call him a super hero. He’s the Incredible Hulk to me.”
What was the process of finding out the severity of the situation and how did that play out between you and Bryn?
“A lot of people didn’t know. I didn’t know to be honest with you. I went home last night. I knew he was getting a MRI. I just knew today on Twitter. I saw it and I texted him and said, 'Is it true.' I broke down, man, because like I said it’s somebody I’ve been looking up to all my life since I’ve been at Carolina. It’s going to hurt me but you know I’m playing for him because it’s a guy I always look up to and an unbelievable guy. It’s emotional, man. I can’t even speak on Bryn Renner.”
You suffered an injury Saturday as well. Are you feeling healthy now sans any lingering issues?
“Yeah, it was just a stinger. It was nothing major. Just lying there and they told me just to lie there. It was all right when I was laying down because I was talking about what I was going to eat after we get the win and stuff like that. It wasn’t that bad. A guy got me and got a good hit on me but I came back and had to finish.”
Does it help moving forward knowing that the whole offensive playbook has been open to you over the past few weeks as opposed to just specific packages?
“It helps me a lot. I’ve been doing my stuff and also the whole playbook. Coming back and studying the playbook in the offseason with the work and the progress it helps me out a lot. Also, with No. 2 (Renner) encouraging me to study the game more and take the game more seriously. That’s been a big accomplishment for me.”
What have you been doing to mentor Kanler Coker as he steps up into the backup role now?
“I just tell him, 'You’ve got to practice like you’re the No. 1. I could be one snap away from it.' I’m going to do what Bryn did to me. I’m going to do it for him because as of now I’m going to have to encourage him to play hard and take the game more serious. It’s tough when you’re the backup but you’ve got to take the game more serious.”
You repeatedly said this is Bryn Renner’s team, do you feel as if this is now your team moving forward?
“Nah, man. Regardless, this is still Bryn Renner’s team and I’m playing for his team. I’m playing for his role and that’s one thing about it. People are going to say this is your team now. It might be my team since I’m the starter but overall this is Bryn Renner’s team.”