UNC QB Renner Shines In Boyd's Shadow
By Eric Russell
In an interview with ESPN’s Heather Dinich, North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora said the main focus of spring ball for the team is to find their identity. A major part of that identity will be senior quarterback Bryn Renner. Many are looking at reigning ACC Offensive Player of the Year Tajh Boyd as the cream of the crop among ACC quarterbacks, but Renner should put up some impressive numbers this season.
Renner was the third-most efficient quarterback in the ACC last season behind Tajh Boyd and EJ Manuel. In a wide open ACC Coastal Division, Renner has the potential to lead UNC to an ACC Championship game.
Familiarity With Offense
Not only did Renner post impressive numbers last season - 3,356 yards, a single-season school record 28 touchdowns and a 65 percent completion rate - he did so in Fedora’s new up-tempo offense. Renner may not have been the ideal fit for the style of offense Fedora implemented in his first season; however, he adapted quickly and again threw for 3,000-plus yards and more than 25 touchdowns. Renner should be able to duplicate his success with a full year in Fedora’s system.
The effort to rebuild the offensive line as well as to replace All-ACC running back Giovanni Bernard will hamper the North Carolina offense. Despite the turnover in personnel, two of Renner’s favorite targets are back in receiver Quinshad Davis and tight end Eric Ebron. Davis was the Tar Heels' leading receiver last season. The freshman hauled in 61 passes for 776 yards. The tandem will provide Renner with viable downfield threats.
The senior leader will also have a favorable schedule working for him. The Tar Heels face four of the bottom five pass defenses in the ACC and avoid ACC powerhouses Clemson and Florida State. The biggest defensive test will likely come in the Thursday night season opener against South Carolina. The Gamecocks' pass rush will test the aforementioned, rebuilt offensive line.
If the offense can find its identity as Fedora alluded to, Renner could have the Tar Heels atop the Coastal Division. UNC finished first in the division last season, but was ineligible for postseason play due to NCAA sanctions.