During the week, it's difficult to get much reaction from Bethune-Cookman University junior quarterback Quentin Williams. He's placid, studious, non-talkative — and sometimes it makes you wonder what he's really feeling.
On game day, there's no confusion at all.
“He goes from mellowed-out to one of the most fired-up guys you'll ever see,” B-CU offensive coordinator Jim Pry said. “Some kids might be very nervous in this kind of situation. Not Quentin. He'll be super excited. And he will relish the challenge.”
As challenges go, this one is particularly large.
The Wildcats (3-0), coming off the school's first victory against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent after beating Florida International University on the road, 34-13, travel Saturday to Tallahassee's Doak Campbell Stadium for a meeting with the No. 8-ranked Florida State Seminoles (2-0).
“Just excited about it,” said Williams, who rushed for 69 yards while completing six of 11 passes for 38 yards against FIU. “I don't care about the stats. I care about winning. Just want to do my job.”
So far, whether at Jefferson High School or B-CU, it has been a job well done.
Big-time moments are nothing new. He was selected Florida's Mr. Football after leading the 15-0 Dragons to the Class 3A state title in 2010. Williams set state single-season and career records for passing yards and touchdown passes.
Nothing has been given to Williams at B-CU, which conducts a weekly competition among three quarterbacks to determine who gets playing time in that week's game. Then again, nothing has been expected either, unless it has been earned. The Wildcats showed their confidence last week in Williams, who played every snap against FIU.
Last season, Williams took over B-CU's starting job in the third game and led the Wildcats to their first outright Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title in 10 years. He led the MEAC in passing efficiency, completing 59.9 percent of his attempts for 1,173 yards, while rushing for 445 more.
This season, the Wildcats have utilized Williams, Brodrick Waters and Jackie Wilson at quarterback, keeping opponents guessing. Each has unique skills, but by all accounts, Williams is the most versatile performer.
“Quentin is a humble guy,” B-CU coach Brian Jenkins said. “He doesn't expect for people to look at what he did in high school, then think he's entitled to something. He comes out and works.
“He loves to win at anything and everything. Anybody who watches him knows how competitive he is and how much it means to him.”
That has been evident since Williams was elevated from Jefferson's junior varsity in 2007, when the Dragons still were seeking an able replacement for record-setting Stephen Garcia. When a defensive back turned his hips, Williams made an instant adjustment, zipping a rifled throw past the unsuspecting player's ear, into the arms of a waiting receiver.
Jefferson coach Jeremy Earle, then the team's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, remembers smiling and nodding in silence at other staff members.
“We knew we had someone special,” Earle said. “He's definitely licking his chops at the opportunity of going to Florida State. I can see him right now, getting his teammates ready to play, preparing. He has this quiet energy, and he was always able to channel it into a nice performance. We're really proud of him still.”
Beating FIU, while very significant for B-CU, is one thing.
Taking on FSU is quite another.
But Williams, a 6-foot-1, 190-pounder who stayed loyal to his B-CU commitment despite other offers that emerged following his record-setting prep career, doesn't have stars in his eyes.
And Jenkins won't concede a thing against FSU, which has star freshman Jameis Winston at quarterback.
“(Winston) is playing at a level that I haven't seen from a young quarterback in a very long, long time,” Jenkins said. “This young man demands and commands productivity from that offense. Then you look at their three running backs (including James Wilder Jr. of Plant High) and all you can say is, 'Wow!'
“No doubt, they are capable of playing for a national championship. But we are a championship-caliber team, too. … We don't even think in that manner (of B-CU being a heavy underdog). We always think above and beyond what other people seek. We think winning. Nothing else is in our thought process.”
That confidence is reflected in Williams, who isn't nervous about lining up against the Seminoles. He's excited.