PINEHURST, N.C. – The North Carolina football team dug itself too many holes last season, both in games and early in their 6-7 season. The Tar Heels lost four straight after opening with wins over Liberty and San Diego State.
North Carolina has lost its first game against an FBS team in each of Larry Fedora’s three years as head coach.
Quarterback Marquise Williams is planning on better things, beginning with a Sept. 3 opener against South Carolina in Charlotte.
“We’ve been playing from behind for the past few years,” the record-setting senior said Monday during an ACC Football Kickoff interview at the Pinehurst Resort. “It kind of sucks, man, because then you have to win more games to get bowl-eligible.
“But if we come out and we start fast and we win the first five games, we have one more win to be bowl-eligible. And if we start fast and we finish fast, we can be playing in the college playoffs.”
That’s a very bold, not very Tar Heel-like goal.
But if North Carolina doesn’t make strides, it is probably because the defense needs more work than new defensive coordinator Gene Chizik can fix.
Williams has done his part. He already owns North Carolina’s record for rushing yards (1,510) and rushing touchdowns (22) by a quarterback. He threw for 3,068 yards and 21 TDs (13 interceptions) last season.
Best game: 38 for 47 for 390 yards and four touchdowns in a 48-43 victory over eventual Orange Bowl champion Georgia Tech.
The game against the Gamecocks will take place in Williams’ hometown. He graduated from Charlotte’s Mallard Creek High School.
“It’s great for us,” Williams said. “It will get our head ready. We’re going to be ready for that game in Charlotte. We’re excited; I mean, it’s an SEC opponent. A lot of people might think, ‘Hey, South Carolina is going to go run over them.’ It’s exciting for us, because we’ll have no pressure. We can just go out and have fun and play ball.”
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff