Williams Ready for QB Battle

Williams Ready for QB Battle

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Marquise Williams entered North Carolina's opening spring practice on Wednesday as the frontrunner for the starting quarterback job. The junior signal caller is well aware, however, that he has to win the job to earn the final nod.

Williams, hailing from Charlotte, N.C., threw for 1,698 yards and ran for 536 more in 2012. He started the final five games after starting quarterback Bryn Renner was lost for the season due to injury.

"Marquise got a lot of reps," UNC head coach Larry Fedora told reporters following practice. "He started some games. He's got some live action under his belt, which made him a lot more comfortable today and you could see that when you're looking at all of the quarterbacks as they're competing. He's just a lot more comfortable than the other two."

Williams's primary challenger is red-shirt freshman Mitch Trubisky, while sophomore Kanler Coker is also in the mix.

"He's going to push me; I'm going to push him," Williams said of Trubisky. "We're out here to do the same thing – be the first-string quarterback. I love the competition."

Fedora said it was too early to talk about the potential for a quarterback rotation in the fall. He indicated that quarterbacks coach Keith Heckendorf would work all three quarterbacks with the first team during the spring.

"Heck will move them in with the ones and the twos throughout the spring so they all get equal reps," Fedora said.

** Heckendorf joins offensive coordinator/tight ends coach Seth Littrell and running backs coach Larry Porter as new additions to the coaching staff.

"I think the transition has be really [good]," Fedora said. "I think the guys have done a nice job. They understand what's going on. Two of them today were a little wide-eyed moving and getting from drill to drill, but their players know what's going on, so they'll get them there."

Given that Heckendorf worked under former offensive coordinator Blake Anderson at UNC in 2012-13, it's safe to assume that Fedora was referring to Littrell and Porter.

While Anderson brought a laid-back style to the meeting room, Littrell comes with plenty of fire.

"Coach Littrell brings a lot of energy," sophomore A-back Ryan Switzer said. "He doesn't even hardly know us yet, but he's out here trying to get us better each day."

Switzer said he's heard Littrell coaching style is "pretty intense" and expects to see that side of his new offensive coordinator once he gets acclimated.

‘Coach Seth is about business," Williams said. "You mess up, he's going to let you know how he feels about you."

** There were several position changes noticeable during the media portion of practice. Former starting cornerback Tim Scott has moved to free safety, defensive tackle J.J. Patterson is back at offensive guard, defensive end Tyler Alberts has switched to tight and Darius Lipford and Darien Rankin were both working at linebacker.

This marks the second time Patterson has switched across the line in the trenches.

"We need offensive linemen," Fedora said of Patterson's move. "We just don't have much depth. "

** Defensive back Brandon Ellerbe, who tallied five tackles and 1.5 sacks in the Belk Bowl victory, is not with the team this spring. Fedora expects him back in the fall.

** There is no update on the status of suspended senior linebacker Travis Hughes. "He's not doing any team activities," Fedora said.

 

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