The Carolina Countdown will be a countdown of different topics related to UNC football leading towards the opening game against South Carolina, Aug 29, 2013. Right now, North Carolina football is under 100 days days away from kickoff against the Gamecocks..
In our first article, Tar Heel Illustrated takes a look at quarterback Bryn Renner, the leader and starting quarterback for the Tar Heels coming into the 2013 season.
Renner has certainly grown into one of the top quarterbacks in the ACC, flourishing under head coach Larry Fedora last year, throwing for over 3356 yard passing and 28 touchdowns, while only being sacked 11 times in the high-octane offense.
Granted, last year was a little bit of a learning curve for the Tar Heels, but Renner certainly took hold of the reigns and led UNC to an 8-4 record, setting multiple records offensively for the Tar Heels along the way.
Now, coming into his third year as UNC's starter, and second under Fedora, Renner looks to push the Tar Heels to the top again and get an ACC Championship. Renner is a proven leader on and off the field.
Since being the starter, Renner certainly has been one of the best quarterbacks statistically, as one can see over the past two years (ACC rank in parentheses).
Pass Completions: 2011 - 239 (5th)/ 2012 - 276 (4th)
Pass Attempts: 2011 - 350(7th)/ 2012 - 422(6th)
Pass Completion Percentage: 2011 - 68.3(1st)/ 2012 - 65.4(4th)
Passing Yards per Attempt: 2011 - 8.8(1st)/ 2012 - 8.0(3rd)
Passing Touchdowns: 2011 - 26(3rd)/ 2012 - 28 (3rd)
Total Yards: 2011 - 2998(3rd)/ 2012 - 3394(6th)
However, coming into this year, Renner will have to be even a bigger leader on the field, with UNC losing senior wide receiver Erik Highsmith, along with capable pass catcher Giovani Bernard.
Renner will have to manage the game like he did down the stretch, as he was highly productive in UNC's final five games.
Putting the Tar Heels in unique situations, understanding what the defense is doing, and always thinking two or three plays ahead, catching the defense off guard, will all be areas that Renner will have to excel in for the Tar Heels to succeed.
Renner has certainly matured since first taking the UNC quarterback job, but his third year might be the most critical, as the spotlight will be upon the senior quarterback to show off what he is capable of doing and whether or not if he will be able to do the same on Sundays.
Renner will have to get in sync with his wide receivers Quinshad Davis, Sean Tapley, Kendrick Singleton, Eric Ebron, along with whoever else might be on the field at a certain time.
Furthermore, UNC lost three offensive linemen last year and will have to replace what was one of the best lines in the ACC, only allowing Renner to be sacked 15 times in the last two years.
Certainly there will be a learning curve on things this summer and fall, but UNC fans will be looking for a similar show that Renner put on early during the Spring Game, in which he completed 16 of 27 passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns.
Renner will look to continue his high percentage of completions, an area where he slightly dipped below from the year before, but also threw over 70 more passes in the intense offense.
Whether or not Fedora will continue some of his schemes, in which he did last year lining up Renner as a receiver while Marquise Williams took the snap, remains to be seen of course.
However, Renner currently is third on the list as North Carolina's career passing leader, needing only 2,922 yards in his final season as a Tar Heel to break T.J. Yates' record of passing yards and 15 touchdowns to pass Darian Durant's touchdown record.
With Renner in command in the backfield and a plethora of talent around him, breaking these records should be manageable under Fedora's offense.
On the other hand, now Renner will have to add leadership and being a mentor to the list, as he will be the guy on the field leading the Tar Heels to another winning season.