Eric Russell

There's A Silver Lining For Tar Heels

Created on Nov. 14, 2013 6:58 PM EST

Marquise Williams is now North Carolina's No. 1 quarterback, and he could be the silver lining in the Tar Heels' season.

An injury to any player is never a positive, let alone when it's a starting quarterback. The Tar Heels lost Bryn Renner for the season Nov. 2 with a shoulder injury during a 27-19 win over North Carolina State.

Williams now gets much-needed experience as a starter before taking over next season. If Saturday's 45-14 win over Virginia was any indication, the Tar Heels (4-5, 3-3 ACC Coastal Division) will be fine.

The sophomore completed 15 of 28 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns. He did throw an interception, but for the most part has avoided making big mistakes.

"We're not asking him to do anything special, stay within the offense and take what the defense gives you," coach Larry Fedora said during Wednesday's ACC coaches teleconference. "It may not always be what you want, but if you take what they give you, you check the ball down when you're supposed to. You distribute the ball where it's supposed to go. You don't force things. Then we have a chance to have success."  

Fedora and his staff knew they needed to get Williams snaps earlier this season because of his abilities and the added dimension he brings to the offense. Those snaps have proved to be important as the Tar Heels haven't had to change much about the offense other than adding a few running plays.

Williams also gets control of the team at an important time. The Tar Heels need to win two of their final three games to become bowl eligible.

Next on the schedule is Aaron Donald and Pittsburgh (5-4, 2-3 ACC Coastal Division). Donald, a defensive tackle, will test the Tar Heels' offensive line and find ways to get into the backfield after Williams. It should be a good test for Williams in his third start at quarterback.

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