When there is a change in the coaching staff for a program that includes a brand new offensive and defensive system, the chances of seeing major changes at certain positions are pretty good. At UNC, the question of who will start at quarterback in 2012 has become a bit muddled with redshirt freshman Marquise Williams giving Bryn Renner some stiff competition in spring practice.
Via ACC Now
If you read the story, you know that the quarterback competition between Williams and incumbent Bryn Renner is open. “Wide open,” as both Fedora and offensive coordinator Blake Anderson put it earlier this week. Fedora was sure to mention, too, that some people might not believe it’s an open competition. But he insists that it is.
Renner has plenty of advantages in the competition. He started 13 games a season ago, and he usually played well. He passed for 3,086 yards and twice as many touchdowns (26) as interceptions (13). But Williams’ athleticism – and the fact that his physical skill fits well into Fedora’s scheme – gives him an advantage over Renner.
Asked to evaluate Williams’ performance in spring practice so far, Anderson said this:
“[I’ve seen] just marked improvement – just daily improvement. Still got a long way to go but the last three to four days, I’ve seen signs of improvement and he’s definitely competitive. He’s spending time studying. You find him in there in the office, watching tape on his own a good bit. Which is a sign of a guy that’s trying.
“It’s a whole lot to process in a really short period of time. And him, and really all the quarterbacks, are still struggling with it. But I’ve been pleased with what we’ve gotten from him to this point.”
If you want to boil down the quarterback competition it is Renner's experience vs Williams skill set being a good fit for the offense. Under normal circumstances Renner would probably come out ahead but this is not normal. A new coaching staff means everyone on the team starts out at the same place. Larry Fedora and Blake Anderson have no attachment to any of the players and will make more objective decisions on who to start. The other aspect is Williams is a better fit for the offense since he is more athletic and mobile than Renner. That doesn't make him a lock to beat out Renner who is experienced and showed himself to be a very good QB in his own right.
If I had to guess, Renner probably retains the starting job but it would not surprise me to see Fedora and Anderson use both him and Williams. The scrimmage at Mallard Creek later today and the spring game on April 14th will offer more clues. Whatever gets decided, having two capable quarterbacks who have plenty of eligibility ahead of them is an excellent problem to have.