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Spring game will be first look at Renner

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Freshman Bryn Renner welcomes the chance to play in any football game at Kenan Stadium, even if it's against his own teammates.

The Tar Heels' spring game on Saturday will be the public's first glimpse at Renner, the program's quarterback of the future.

As the quarterback of the White team, Renner will be going against senior starter T.J. Yates, who'll lead the Blues. He's not approaching the game as a direct competition with Yates, who has held the starting job for three years.

"I know the fans are going to be a lot of that," Renner said Wednesday. "I'm more concerned with getting better. The more experience I can get, the better I'll be as a player."

Renner has impressed everyone in UNC's camp, coaches and players alike, with his arm strength and energy. At 6-3 and 195 pounds, he also has good mobility.

That combination of raw talent has led UNC coach Butch Davis to re-examine the starting job, although the coach has been clear that it's Yates' job to lose before the Sept. 3 opener against Louisiana State on national television.

Even Yates, who described Renner as his "little brother," said there's not getting around Renner's natural ability.

"He's got a really good arm," Yates said of Renner. "He's got so much energy, he's definitely a fun guy to be around."

Renner has been trying to balance football practice with his first baseball season. The NCAA limits the number of hours of participation in single day and over the course of a week. With Renner playing for the baseball team, that has cut into his time with the football coaches. He doesn't think playing two sports has hurt his chances of supplanting Yates.

"I don't think so," Renner said. "I try to balance my day. I think it's worked out greatly."


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what has ncsu done this off season to warrant a bowl game? Irving can't come back and play all the positions on defense!


No, Nate can't play all positions. But don't underestimate the ability of one player to take the pressure off those around him. Irving's presence should make those around him better.

Regarding the secondary, that's a huge concern. Can they improve enough to be functional? Can they stay healthy? Afraid we won't know this until the pigskin starts to fly in September.


I think bringing in Tenuta was a very good move. Linebackers with the return of Irving should be sound. The secondary will be suspect and probably get torched frequently. The main reason they will go bowling is Wilson. The pack has good receivers and this team is going to put some points on the board. They need to keep the D off the field as much as possible though

I can't wait to see Carolina

I can't wait to see Carolina stumble over themselves again, only to leave their fanbase a fraction of the size it was when the season started. Who knows though, maybe they won't get embarassed in their opener, and maybe ol' BMFD can figure out how to out-coach TOB for just one stinkin' game.

But seriously, maybe this will be the year that we have some real fun in the triangle. Duke finally looked competitive last season, Carolina's bringing back a good defense, and State should have a good offense again this year (especially if RW is back). Like always with triangle football though, I'm expecting mediocrity, and hoping for excellence.

There you have it, folks

Mad_max is Rush Limbaugh.  Some of the stuff you say, I'm really on board with, but other things, such as the first part of that post, I think you just say because it's ridiculous enough to net in some feedback.

Just messing with you.  Dook looked good last year, but unless Renfree makes a full recovery and successfully fills the shoes of Thad Lewis, it will most likely be a rebuilding year for a sub-.500 team.  They'll be faster than they've been since the mid 90s and fun to watch, but I don't see them as a force to be reckoned with.

I have trouble seeing State do well after last season, but I also see us having trouble beating State.  Nate Irving will help, but that secondary will most likely once again be atrocioius.  Every game will be a shootout.  Russell Wilson is the man, though, so I believe he'll single-handedly win a few.  Yes, football is undoubtedly a team sport, but let's be honest.  Wilson is the most valuable player in the ACC, and this is coming from a Carolina fan.

It's too early to make predictions on the Heels.  I just hope Yates has a great year so that there won't be a QB contraversy and Renner can take one more year to learn.  Our defense is where it needs to be not just for a conference title, but a national title.  Yes, I said it.  We have a national title-caliber defense.  However, our offense would have trouble putting points up on Richmond, and that can be the difference between 11-1 and 7-5.  I'm just looking forward to the spring game tomorrow and enjoying a good football atmosphere in Chapel Hill.


11-1.....Your not bailing on that first game are you? I got plenty of Koolade I can bring to the game tomorrow if you want some.

Nah, I think LSU will be a win

FSU is who I'm worried about.  They will have one of the best offenses in the country this season.  Theoretically, good defense beats good offense.  However, when your good defense craps the bed by playing too conservative and leaving an 8 to 12-yard cushion underneath for a good QB to throw to, then you won't win.

We're definitely capable of winning every game on this schedule, but I don't think it will happen.  The bar is set so high for the defense that if they aren't top 3 in the nation, then they're a disappointment.  Our offensive guys NEED to stay healthy, particularly Pianalto and Little.  So many variables factor into the equation that it's nearly impossible to predict what our record will be.

That said, I'm thinking 9-3.


I agree with your analysis. Pianalto showed how important he is at the end of last season when he was healthy. TJ really likes to use him as a go to target but he is so fundamentally sound on blocking assignments and that was so important last season with the beat up line.

Its TJs job to lose and BD has been really faithful to him but the next couple of bad decisions that lead to interceptions might put him on the bench. I am just glad we have a decent alternative. Not any mention of AJ Blue in all this Spring talk.Is he healthy? 

AJ Blue

He's still recovering, but I think they expect him to return this season.  The depth chart has him down as an RB, though.  With the way the ground game was looking yesterday, he may be more valuable there.


He is a versatile and dangerous player and can hurt you from a bunch of different positions. We will need him next year.

Agree on the running game 

After watching LSU's spring game...

I'm liking UNC's chances for the mild upset.


Humm..that first statement. I think the fanbase is alive and well. BD is bringing the program along nicely. I certainly hope for the Packers sake that State doesn't stumble as badly as it did last year. 

Well the one thing we can count on this year is that it will be quite the game between State and Carolina. I suspect both teams are going to have vastly better teams than last year. I can't help but believe RW will be back. He will light it up. But UNC's D should be dominating.  

I think this is a make or break year for TOB. I believe he will respond though and the Pack should be bowling. Hopefully for you folks the Wpack club can be patient with this guy. I think he has the potential to surpass the Sheridan years in quality of teams and sustain it for quite some time if allowed and encouraged to stay. I always thought it was a tremendous hire for the Pack.

But the heck with all this Pack praise. Go HEELS 



We'll see.

I'm thinking this may be the year for UNC to take a big step forward. A lot will depend on the offense. It's pretty evident now that Yates is entrenched as the starter. I only hope a better O line and more experienced wr's will help him to limit mistakes.

I see

that the injury bug has already hit two of our promising Oline folks. Hope they can recover by the fall. I think we can only be vastly better offensively this year. Perhaps having Renner as a backup will loosen up Yates. I can't help but think the guy felt that he had the whole offense on his shoulders last year and with no one to back him up was tentative. He rarely rushed the ball for fear of injury. 

Looking forward to the game on Saturday 

The real deal

I've watched some of his tapes in spring practice. Not that this says much, but he already puts more touch on his passes than Yates. The potential is definitely there, but just remember that making plays in practice doesn't necessarily translate to game-day success. Just ask Jay Davis.


Or Justin Burke.

Oh man oh man!

I'm so looking forward to seeing this team in action. I personally feel they have a real chance to do some things this year. The defense will be stout, and offensive line looks to be much better. The wr's have a year of experience. Yates must improve or Renner will be there, and I'm sure he's ready to show what he's got. I just can't wait!

Can't wait to see what this

Can't wait to see what this guy can do

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About the blogger

Joe Giglio covers the ACC for the News & Observer, where he has worked since 1997.