UNC QB Bryn Renner will spend this weekend as a counselor at the Manning Passing Academy. PHOTO: Robert Willett
CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner this weekend will be a counselor at the Manning Passing Academy. But he’s also there to learn.
Renner, the rising junior quarterback, headed down to Louisiana on Thursday for the Manning camp. You can read the story I wrote about it right here.
The gist: Renner hoping to gain some valuable insights from the brothers Manning – Peyton and Eli – who have both been through unique situations recently. Eli Manning, of course, most recently led the New York Giants to a victory in the Super Bowl. Peyton Manning, meanwhile, is attempting to start anew with the Denver Broncos.
Renner is beginning a new journey, too. He’s attempting to adapt to the up-tempo, no-huddle spread offense that Tar Heels coach Larry Fedora began installing in the spring. I had a chance to spend a few minutes on the phone with Renner while he was on his way to the Manning Passing Academy.
Here’s the q-and-a:
Andrew Carter: So you’re headed to the Manning Passing Academy. How did this opportunity come about for you?
Bryn Renner: Well I went my first year, my redshirt freshman year. I went down there, and got the opportunity to watch and kind of just observe and help out any way I could the first year. And they offered me to come down, and last year I couldn’t go due to my foot, and then this year got another chance and got an opportunity to go down and really just learn from two of the best quarterbacks in the game. So it’s really a great opportunity.
AC: So what will your role be down there with camp?
BR: You’re kind of like a coach. So basically you’re just a camp counselor for four days … Mr. Manning, Archie, reached out to me my first year, the first year I went and last year he offered me to come down and then I couldn’t because of my foot and then this year he called me again, and shot me an email and said, come down and be a coach again.
AC: But I imagine you’ll have a chance to learn some stuff, too. What will that be like?
BR: Oh, absolutely. It’s a great opportunity just to ask questions and kind of learn from two of the best in the game. I mean, it’s a huge, huge honor and a huge privilege to be around a lot of quarterbacks. Obviously, Eli just won the Super Bowl. So anything you can learn and ask questions. And they’re really receptive of you asking questions and just learning about the quarterback craft. And there’s not a better opportunity in the country, I don’t think.
AC: Does anything come to mind about what you might want to learn from Eli and Peyton?
BR: Just mostly the mental aspect. I mean, I just want to learn more about – they’ve obviously adjusted to offenses before in the past, and I’m going through the same transition with a new offensive coordinator and really just want to ask some questions maybe about that and how they handled it and how they dealt with it. I know Peyton’s going through that with the Broncos, and he’s going to have to adjust to that, so it’s going to be the same situation for me. And any information I can get from them, just tips on how to be a better quarterback.
AC: Do you have a favorite Manning, one you’ve studied more than the other?
BR: I watch a lot of both of them. I mean, I think they both kind of play the same way. They’re both been two of the best for the past 10 years, so anytime you can watch either one of them, you can learn something.
AC: Of course, preseason practice starts soon. What’s the main thing you’ve been focusing on before the start of practice?
BR: You know, I think just getting everybody on the same page. I think spring ball was a huge plus for us – that we could get in there and learn. But I think it really took the receivers, the running backs and the tight ends and the quarterbacks, just to get together this summer and do it on our own without coaches there. I think that’s the best time that we learn as players, is when we have to hold each other accountable for knowing the system … we’ve accomplished a ton and just gotten a lot better in terms of handling the offense.
AC: Has the summer been what you anticipated in terms of going over the new offense?
BR: It’s the best summer we’ve had since I’ve been here. Just as far as discipline … coach Lou [Hernandez], our strength coach, has done a great job with just getting our bodies in shape for this new system that we’re going to run. Because we really needed to get in shape. After spring ball, I think everybody realized that we weren’t in the best shape to run this offense. But I think with three weeks to go, we can say we’re ready for training camp.
AC: And how is the foot?
BR: Yeah, after spring ball, I was probably a month away from being healthy. And I’m 100 percent right now. It’s been a year that I’ve had to deal with this foot injury, so it’s really good to be 100 percent.
AC: And last, what do you think it’s going to be like to coach a bit these next few days?
BR: I think it’s a great opportunity. Every kid wants to be a quarterback growing up, so it’s just a great opportunity just to teach them any little nuances that you had growing up, and what you’ve learned over the years. Coaching those kids really makes you understand how much hard work it took to get there, that you put in personally. So it’s great to give back to those kids, too. And they’re really receptive to learning.
So there you have it. Thanks to Bryn for his time.