Caulton Tudor

Renner's fate forces Heels to revise intriguing QB depth chart

Posted November 6, 2013

— Bryn Renner deserved better. Much better.

Fairness looked the other way when the North Carolina quarterback’s college career ended last Saturday after a shoulder injury in a 27-19 win at N.C. State.

Had Renner got his just reward, he would have bowed out after the last game rather than the season’s eighth. He would have done so playing for a title contender and with a so-long performance befitting the exceptional class and resiliency he displayed without fail or frown through one of the most trying periods in Carolina football history.

But football too often is the cruelest of all masters. It demands long, exhaustive physical training - and in the case of quarterbacks, just as much devotion to mental commitment  - only to reward its best and brightest with intense pain and unreasonable frustration.

That’s why my sincere hope today is that ECU’s Shane Carden is dining daily on a menu of four-leaf clover salad topped with horseshoe crab meat and rabbit feet. If ever there has been jinxed season for in-state quarterbacks, this is it. Hopefully, he can dodge the pattern.

Everyone gets hurt eventually in football but it comes as a double whammy to all players - even those still in sound health - when quarterbacks go down.

The unheralded linemen, special teamers, walk-ons and scout teamers are in it simply for the fun of enjoying as many wins as in possible. When their quarterback gets hurt, the chance for victory almost always is reduced.


Another aspect of football’s culture is there’s rarely time for teammates and staff to comfort victims.

By the time Renner met with the media Tuesday afternoon to discuss his merciless fate, the hopes of a 3-5, bowl-starved team had long since been thrust upon new starter Marquise Williams.

It’s likely that second-year coach Larry Fedora and his aides had been advised about the severity of Renner’s injury shortly after the bus ride back to Chapel Hill. Odds are, no one got to sleep until long after Plan-B was unofficially in motion.

That plan doesn’t  (and can’t) stop and end with Williams, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound sophomore from Charlotte's Mallard Creek who has been effective in relief of Renner.

Williams has more quickness but less passing accuracy than Renner. After Saturday’s win, Renner had completed 66 percent of his 231 passes for 1,765 yards with 10 touchdowns against five interceptions.

Williams has completed 60.6 percent (40-of-66) for 537 yards with 6 TDs and three picks.

But given the punishment quarterbacks absorb, there’s a 50-50 chance new backup Kanler Coker (6-foot-4, 215, redshirt frosh) may have to ready to take over even before the end of this Saturday’s game against Virginia in Kenan Stadium.

To some degree, Williams is playing just as much for his future as to salvage what’s left of 2013.

Behind Renner and Williams, Fedora and offensive coordinator Blake Anderson have amassed a pool of hotly recruited former high school stars.

Had Renner been able to take the majority of snaps in every game this season, Carolina’s spring practice would have resembled a quarterback cavalry charge with up to five or six starting hopefuls in the chase. That may still be the case should Williams play poorly or get hurt.

Aside from Williams and Coker, the current roster also includes Mitch Trubisky (6-foot-3, 210, frosh, Mentor, Ohio) and Caleb Pressley (6-foot-1, 205, soph, Asheville) with highly regarded Caleb Henderson (6-foot-3, 225, Burke, Va. Lake Braddock) committed and at least two other prep juniors looming on the recruiting radar.

Although the time may soon arrive when many college programs go to two quarterback rotations simply to stay pro-active on injuries, the best-case scenario for the Heels would be for Williams to seize the steering wheel and establish sole possession of the offensive leadership role.

But as we’ve seen much too often this season, quarterback injuries have collectively become the mean mother of depth chart fluidity. At Carolina, Williams may have the job only as long as his strong body allows.


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  • PricelessGemUNC Nov 9, 2013

    It's sad that Renner ended his career early but he did so beating our biggest rival in football NCSU! Sorry guys but Dook is our biggest rival in Basketball. Great job Renner on the win but the job belongs to Williams. He is the future of UNC football. He is way more athletic, elusive, stronger arm, smarter, gives us a run treat and a better fit for Fedora's style of offense! Go Williams!

  • mxteam44 Nov 7, 2013

    View quoted thread

    Actually, I went back and looked at this play tonight (still had it DVR'd) Caldwell was probably ok, as Renner did make a pretty awkward slide. The 2nd hit (which basically sandwiched Renner) was a late hit. These plays happen so quick, the refs miss a few. You can't really call it a dirty play, but it was close.

    That being said, we're still ok. Williams will do fine, and has done fine so far this year. He's certainly had plenty of game-time reps.

    Go Heels!!!!

  • Lost and Loaded Nov 7, 2013

    Hate to see the kid's college career end prematurely. He worked hard to craft himself into a capable college QB.

    Honestly never thought he had enough skills to be a top notch QB, but he surprised me and many with some really good games. It will be interesting to see who the next player is...if they work as hard as Renner did, the Tarheels won't suffer much from Renner's loss.

  • NCSU84 Nov 7, 2013

    View quoted thread

    Was it flagged for a late hit?? If not, get over it.

  • rduguyhere Nov 7, 2013

    Where is the scandal story for NCheatSU? Did the wolpfie boosters already pay off this rag to make it go away?

    I hate it for Renner, too bad the flagrant hit by the two state players while he was already on the ground has cost him the rest of his career for the Heels. Dirty dirty players..... the NCheatSU way!

  • Ken D. Nov 7, 2013

    View quoted thread

    So, according to kmor, I'm a "unc homer" because I point out the error of his assertion that Carolina "lost" 26 games in two seasons. But, since I deny that State players were guilty of a late hit/cheap shot I'm an ABCer.

    Is it possible to be both at the same time? Is being objective not allowed here?

  • ttaylor58 Nov 7, 2013

    View quoted thread

    LOL and PUKE hasn't won an important game in football since the early 60's.

  • ttaylor58 Nov 7, 2013

    View quoted thread

    kmore is a bandwagon dook fan and couldn't find Durham on a map of Durham county.....truly pathetic.

  • stomponurlogo Nov 6, 2013

    View quoted thread

    Well of course it was, you'd have to be an ABCER to deny it.

  • cole1949 Nov 6, 2013

    If you look at the play that ended Renner's season you will see the late hit to the shoulder by the State player ( Caldwell ) that wasn't called. Cheap shot !




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