By Eddy Landreth
If one took a poll as to the quarterbackâ€™s role in the spread offense, many people would say rushing the football would rank high on his list of responsibilities.
This is true for some individuals, but it is not a certainty for the position itself.
The number-one goal for any quarterback, particularly one in the spread offense, is to utilize the weapons he has at his disposal.
Carolina would have a hard time finding a better man than Bryn Renner to do this. Renner is going to be a huge success in the spread for several reasons, beginning with his both strong and accurate arm.
â€œYou have to locate the ball where the receivers can catch it every time,â€ Renner said. â€œThat is what I try to do. We have a drill where we try to locate the ball where a receiver can turn and get 4 yards.â€
What was almost humorous last season was to listen to people who criticized Renner for any problems in the Carolina offense.
Whatever success the Tar Heels had on offense was due in large part to Renner. He finished first in the ACC in pass efficiency, and UNC finished first as a team in pass efficiency.
And that was throwing out of a two-receiver set. Clemsonâ€™s Tajh Boyd led the league in overall passing. He threw 33 touchdowns and 12 interceptions â€“ out of the spread.
Renner threw 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, and Rennerâ€™s completion percentage was best among all the quarterbacks in the ACC at 68.3 percent.
Coach Larry Fedora knows he has something special in Renner, who is ultra-competitive and a hard worker in the film room and on the practice field.
â€œThere is no doubt, Bryn has that will to win,â€ Fedora said. â€œHe has that, and not every kid has that, that strong desire to do everything that it takes to be successful. Heâ€™s definitely a leader. He has the intangibles. He has all the little things weâ€™re looking for off the football field.
â€œHe has that â€˜itâ€™ factor. Everybody says, â€˜Well, what is it?â€™ I donâ€™t know what it is. When you have it in a quarterback you have something special. Heâ€™s got that â€˜itâ€™ factor. He understands the game. He understands how to extend plays. He understands the importance of being a student of the game.â€
It would be shocking if Renner had not made significant progress since spring practice. There is no one on the roster that wants to win as much or is more willing to do what it takes.
Also, remember that he accomplished all he did last year with a foot that required surgery as soon as the season ended. He needed it earlier but refused to do it because he wants so dearly to be the Carolina quarterback and lead this team to success.
â€œIâ€™ve pushed myself to the max,â€ Renner said. â€œI think after the bowl game and the surgery I really just put it upon myself to step up and be the leader of this team.
â€œLast year I could have done a better job of doing that, but this year I just want to prove my leadership skills and hone the offense. Iâ€™ve spent a lot of time in the film room, talking with [offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Blake] Anderson, trying to pick his brain and get the little nuances of this offense.â€
The great news is that not since Dick Crum inherited Bill Dooleyâ€™s players has a new football coach at UNC had so much talent waiting for him in-house.
Renner has one proven star at running back in Giovani Bernard and another in waiting with Romar Morris. Both can catch the ball out of the backfield.
Renner will be surrounded by gifted wide receivers and a future NFL tight end in Eric Ebron. Ebron is 6-feet-4 and has huge hands, Ebron also possesses outstanding speed. He is going to be the one to punish defenses if they try to double-team the three or four wide receivers who will be on the field at all times.
He will also be a nightmare for linebackers who try to cover him.
This is where Renner comes into the picture again. The new offense will provide Renner with far more opportunities to throw to open receivers, talented receivers with speed.
The other outstanding part of this equation is Renner will have the ideal backup in Marquise Williams. Williams redshirted last season, so he does not have the experience of game pressure yet.
What he does have is a great body for a spread quarterback, a strong arm and all the tools to one day take the reins when Renner is gone.
If Renner is injured, Williams should have enough practice time in summer camp and the first weeks of the season to have a far better grasp on the new offense.
When the Tar Heels finished spring training, there was naturally plenty still to learn about this new offense. But the coaching staff knows they have outstanding people to use in this system, starting with Renner.
Heâ€™s going to be the trigger-man who makes this new offense work.