UNC Spring Game: Why Bryn Renner Should Be Named Starting Quarterback

John ThomasCorrespondent IApril 16, 2010

On April 10th in the North Carolina spring game, White defeated Blue 17-0.

6'3" redshirt freshman Bryn Renner was the quarterback of the White squad. Senior quarterback and three-year starter T.J. Yates led the Blue team.

Those not familiar with Tar Heel football would be surprised that the team led by the freshman, who has never taken a snap in a college game, defeated the team led by the veteran.

However, loyal Tar Heel fans understand.

T.J. Yates hasn't exactly been impressive as North Carolina's starting quarterback throughout his career.

In his first season as a starter, T.J. threw for 2,655 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions. His completion percentage was 59.7. For a first-year starter, these numbers are acceptable.

Yates was injured during part of his sophomore year. Therefore, these numbers can't be compared to his other statistics.

However, many Tar Heel fans, including myself, expected Yates to take a big step forward last season. He was fully healthy, Carolina had a strong defense, and everything was ready for a run at an ACC title.

Instead, Yates reverted back to a season worse than his freshman year. Although he posted a higher completion percentage, T.J. passed for just 2,136 yards, over 500 less than in his freshman season. His quarterback rating was also eight points lower than in his first season as the Tar Heel starter.

I am certainly not a T.J. Yates believer. The passes he did complete last year were short dump-offs, even in third-and-long situations.

In addition, he made many poor decisions last season. For example, in the Virginia Tech game, Yates faked a handoff on an end around. He received extreme pressure from the Hokie defense. Before being sacked, Yates made a feeble attempt to get rid of the football, resulting in an inexcusable interception at the Tar Heel six-yard line.

The interception can be seen in the highlight package here . It occurs at the 2:33 mark in the video.


In that situation, deep in their own territory, a sack would have been bad. But an interception is much worse. Even though he was an upperclassman, Yates panicked, a mistake no veteran quarterback should make.

The Hokies would score a few plays later. If not for a Ryan Williams fumble late in the game, it would have gone to overtime.

Now, knowing Carolina football history, Virginia Tech would have won that game. Even though that's an assumption, the game would certainly not have been a nail-biter if not for the Yates interception. For Tar Heel fans, this was certainly not an isolated incident.

Even though Bryn Renner is young, his decision-making may equal or be even better than T.J. Yates'. Considering that Yates is a senior and Renner is a freshman, this is almost embarrassing for T.J.

Granted, Renner has not been seen in a game situation. But, considering Yates' lack of success last season, doesn't Bryn at least deserve a shot at the quarterback job?

I understand the Carolina will never start a redshirt freshman over a senior. However, don't be surprised if Renner makes a few starts this season. He is the better option under center.


Photo from: http://media.scout.com/media/image/70/708254.jpg