banner
North Carolina

Interviews: UNC's Marquise Williams, Norkeithus Otis

Posted July 20

North Carolina's Norkeithus Otis answers questions from the media on the first day of the ACC Football Kickoff at the Grandover in Greensboro, July 20, 2014.

Q. You guys have had six consecutive winning seasons but haven't won more than eight games in a year since 1997. What's going to be the biggest factor this year in determining whether you guys have another good year or a special season? 

MARQUISE WILLIAMS: We're going to come out and compete. We've been really impressed with this summer. Coaches are really glad with what we've brought to the table this summer and guys are buying into what Coach Fedora is trying to do. That's the only thing we need, we need everybody to stay on one train and not 10 guys and one guy is off by himself. We're going to come together as one unit and compete at the highest state and play Carolina football: Smart, fast and physical.

Q. First part of my question is how much did the experience of you playing last year help with you moving in as kind of the man this year, and how much do you like that college football now has a playoff?

MARQUISE WILLIAMS: Oh, I love it because, I mean, it gave me a lot of confidence. After winning the Belk Bowl in Charlotte in my hometown it gave me a lot of confidence and a lot of guys on the team confidence. Coming off a winning record and a winning bowl game, that gives you the next step in taking it to the next season, and we're ready for that, and we're going to do our best and come to compete at the highest task this year and do whatever it takes.
As for me, it helps me out a lot. I'm playing with a chip on my shoulder. I feel like I have to go out and earn something that I deserve, and I'm just going to go out and compete at the same time.

Q. How much do you enjoy the college football now has a playoff and there are four teams left at the end of the year?

MARQUISE WILLIAMS: I think that's very, very incredible because it gives other teams that never had the opportunity to play to play for a college championship, the opportunity to play for one. Like I think back to NIU when they played a couple years ago in the Orange Bowl, certain teams get left out, and I think it's very impressive to have the playoff, and it's going to be very exciting to see how it goes this year.

Q. Running back numbers at North Carolina with the exception of Gio a couple years ago have been pretty anemic. The running game improved last year when you took over at quarterback. Why is that and how important is the continued improvement of the running game for North Carolina's success this year?

MARQUISE WILLIAMS: Those guys knew we had to get it together at the front four to establish what we needed to do, and when those guys told me the trainer is going to keep moving and you have to come on and be ready to go, and I was ready to go, I gave them that extra wheel in the backfield. Also with our running backs, I just gave them a little extra more because I can also run the ball, too. With those big guys in front of me, I was just ready to go behind them and I knew that I wasn't going to be touched with those big hosses I have.

Q. What is it going to be like having Elijah Hood and TJ Logan behind you in the backfield?

MARQUISE WILLIAMS: It's incredible, man. We have four good backs, but Elijah Hood, if you haven't heard, this guy squatted 605 as a freshman on Friday. I've seen offensive linemen doing that, but he's a running back squatting 605? I've never seen that a day in my life. But TJ Logan is a guy that can cut the backfield up and do anything he wants. He has like seven gears. It's like a Mustang with a neon speed and everything like that. It's going to be great to see what those guys bring to the table and I'm glad to have a backfield like that because I'm pretty sure we're going to need four footballs in the backfield to try to figure out all those guys.

Q. What are you most excited about?

MARQUISE WILLIAMS: I'm excited to get the season started. I'm excited to get the ball to the playmakers that we have like Ryan Switzer. That's my little‑‑ I call my jitter bug because he's like a little jitter bug and he's always nagging people and he's all across the field. Those guys work their tail off just to be impressive this year and try to play Carolina football. We're ready for the big thing to turn it around and every time you think of Carolina, you think of basketball, you don't think of football, and we're trying to change the program around as Carolina as a basketball and a Carolina football school.

Q. You talked about the playmakers that you have on this offense. How do you define the offense moving forward for you and your expectations of yourself and of them?

MARQUISE WILLIAMS: Well, as a quarterback we talk about it all the time. You don't have to be too flashy. You just distribute the football to the playmakers and let them do the rest. Those guys want to make plays, like Ryan Switzer, Quinshad Davis, TJ Thorpe, Jack Tabb. Just put the ball in those guys' hands and they're going to do the rest for us and as the quarterback, you don't have to be too flashy, just get them the ball.

Q. Some disappointing moments last year from the defensive side of the football. Since spring practice, what have you thought about? What has the team worked on to get ready for opening day?

NORKEITHUS OTIS: I've seen a major difference. I've seen the guys working harder, watching film, teaching the younger guys, trying to get better each and every day.

Q. Talk about the way this defense has evolved, replacing the guys that meant a lot but building on what you've got returning.

NORKEITHUS OTIS: Those guys meant a lot to us, but as a defense we've got to move on. We have a lot of guys that's ready to step up, for example, you have Drennon who played D‑ends, you also have Jesse Rogers who also plays end to try to put pressure on the quarterback. We lost Tim in the middle. We have some guys Nazair Jones, Greg Webb. We have a lot of guys that's getting bigger, getting better.

Q. Who's really challenged you up to this point when you talk about spring ball? Who do you feel has really pushed you offensively to get better defensively?

NORKEITHUS OTIS: I would say Jon Heck. He's one of our tacklers. He's been getting better each and every day he's been working his craft, trying to be successful. I'd also say the offensive line as a whole because in our defense we kind of try to do different stunts, and they've been getting better and working hard.

Q. What did the bowl win do for you guys in the off‑season as far as morale?

NORKEITHUS OTIS: It gave us a whole lot more confidence going into spring ball, going into training camp. You know, training camp is coming up, so we're ready.

Q. When you think about your freshman year and heading into your senior year, what was the personality of the teams then, and what do you think the personality of your team is today?

NORKEITHUS OTIS: I think the personality of our team now is everybody depends on each other. We play together as a unit. It's not about me or him, it's about us as a football team.

Q. Vic is an interesting guy. What's it like playing for him?

NORKEITHUS OTIS: He's a great guy. He teaches us the defense well. He wants everything to be fast. He wants us to play fast, play smart and play physical.

Q. Every coach will tell you you've got to take one game at a time, but if you look midway through the season scheduled, you see the Fighting Irish there at South Bend. Is that date circled in red for you?

NORKEITHUS OTIS: No, it's not circled in red for us. Liberty is circled in red for us right now. We're taking it one game at a time.

Q. Personal goal for yourself this year?

NORKEITHUS OTIS: Personal goal is to keep doing what I'm doing, try to be a better leader. We lost the voice of the defense. I'll try to step in and I'll try to be the leader this year. I'll try to be the voice. I'll try to continue to do what I'm doing, work hard.

Q. And have fun all at the same time, right?

NORKEITHUS OTIS: Yes, sir.

2 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • TeaBagOnLove Jul 24, 11:05 a.m.

    A little birdie said that Marquise may not even be the starter this year. Weir that Fedora would even bring him to the meetings.

  • TwoOuttaThreeUNC Jul 20, 4:32 p.m.

    #MarquiseBLOOD!!!

    #NorkeithusBLOOD!!!

    WOOOOOOOOOT!!!!

    #GO HEELS!!!!

  • NFL: Chicago at Detroit

    Tomorrow at 12:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Philadelphia at Dallas

    Tomorrow at 4:00 pm on FOX50

  • SEC: Arkansas at Missouri

    Friday at 2:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • HSFB: Football Friday with Tom Suiter

    Friday at 11:35 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: NC State vs. Richmond

    Tonight at 7:00 on WRAL-FM

  • NHL: Hurricanes at Florida

    Tonight at 7:30 on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions

    Tomorrow at 12:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
UNC 66
BUT 74
Final
ECU 73
HAW 75
2nd
DUKE 65
FUR 30
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
POR
7:00pm Tonight
NCSU
RICH
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
CAR
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
BRK
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
GSW
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
POR
7:00pm Tonight
CLE
WAS
7:30pm Tonight
DET
LAC
7:30pm Tonight
DAL
NYK
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
TOR
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
MIL
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
SAC
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
UTA
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
IND
9:00pm Tonight
PHO
DEN
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
MEM
Final
UNC 66
BUT 74
Final
FRES 64
MAR 68
Final
CHAT 61
RMU 46
Final
EMICH 68
ROCH 35
 
Final
MRGST 51
LIB 50
 
Final
HAMP 60
AMER 64
 
Final
BEL 78
DEN 57
Final
UMASS 79
NE 54
Final
JMU 79
SHU 72
 
Final
KNST 84
SAMF 71
 
Final
ECU 73
HAW 75
Final
CHAM 60
MIZZ 74
Final
CCAR 61
LAMON 48
Final
OKLA 75
UCLA 65
Final
ELON 65
UNF 72
 
Final
UWMIL 66
ORU 69
 
2nd
WCU 61
CHIST 54
 
2nd
DUKE 65
FUR 30
 
2nd
BYU 37
PURD 43
 
1st
EVAN 16
USF 10
 
7:00pm Tonight
COL
GTDNS
 
7:00pm Tonight
VERM
BRY
 
7:00pm Tonight
OSU
CAMP
7:00pm Tonight
CORN
CAN
7:00pm Tonight
LOU
CLST
7:00pm Tonight
UCF
DAVID
7:00pm Tonight
IONA
DELST
 
7:00pm Tonight
OU
UGST
7:00pm Tonight
TOWS
GOUCHER
 
7:00pm Tonight
ND
GRAM
 
7:00pm Tonight
YALE
LAF
 
7:00pm Tonight
GWU
LONG
 
7:00pm Tonight
VT
UMO
7:00pm Tonight
WAKE
MNTER
 
7:00pm Tonight
NAVY
PSUHARRIS
 
7:00pm Tonight
NCSU
RICH
7:00pm Tonight
MINN
STJ
7:00pm Tonight
JVU
TRINBAPT
 
7:00pm Tonight
YOUNG
UMKC
 
7:00pm Tonight
UAB
WISC
7:30pm Tonight
PITT
KYST
7:30pm Tonight
WVU
VMI
8:00pm Tonight
DEP
LEH
 
8:00pm Tonight
UNT
MVSU
 
8:00pm Tonight
MARS
MORE
8:00pm Tonight
TCU
RAD
 
8:00pm Tonight
SELA
TENT
 
8:00pm Tonight
SMU
TXSOU
 
8:00pm Tonight
UTAH
TXPA
8:00pm Tonight
LMU
UCR
8:00pm Tonight
SCAR
UNCA
 
8:00pm Tonight
SD
WAYNEST
 
8:30pm Tonight
UWGB
FLGC
8:30pm Tonight
IOWA
NILL
9:00pm Tonight
ORST
AUB
9:00pm Tonight
MONT
CARROLLMT
 
9:00pm Tonight
SUTAH
EKENT
9:00pm Tonight
NMST
FAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
WYO
STET
 
9:05pm Tonight
EWASH
NKENTUCKY
 
9:05pm Tonight
IDST
WLVRN
 
9:30pm Tonight
GEOR
UF
9:30pm Tonight
GONZ
UGA
9:30pm Tonight
NIOWA
NW
10:00pm Tonight
SDST
ARZ
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
CPSL
10:00pm Tonight
UCD
UTST
10:30pm Tonight
NDAK
ALAST
11:00pm Tonight
CSNO
PORST
11:30pm Tonight
AKAN
PAC
11:30pm Tonight
OKST
TULSA
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
WAS
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
WIN
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
CAR
7:30pm Tonight
TAM
NYR
7:30pm Tonight
DET
PHI
7:30pm Tonight
PIT
TOR
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
LOS
9:00pm Tonight
COL
CHI
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
CAL