Entering the game against Georgia Tech, UNC quarterback Bryn Renner was no longer a question mark. His accuracy seemed to be no problem. He had made few mistakes. And his future and that of the Tar Heels football team seemed assured.
The past for Renner has always seemed to guarantee his future. He was a SuperPrep All-America, ranked the No. 3 quarterback in the country. ESPN.com ranked him the No. 6 quarterback in the country. Scout.com had him ranked No. 8. And Rivals.com at No. 5.
Yet, despite his credentials, T.J. Yates beat him out his first two years, including last year when many thought Yates would be replaced.
With Yates in the NFL, Renner seemed to be the dead-certain QB starter. And with three games under his belt, and despite his shaky start with Rutgers, Renner seems to have the stuff to win at Georgia Tech.
He did not. In fact, Renner showed something that makes him a questionable champion. Immaturity.
There still remain in Renner high school expectations of how long he can hold the ball, failure to completely buy into the system, and a tendency to believe he can win the game on his own.
There are arguments that his failure to get rid of the ball resulted in the eventual loss to Georgia Tech.
The defense did its job. They did not stop Georgia Tech, but they did slow them down. And in the crucial fourth quarter, they did their job, allowing UNC to tie Georgia Tech, and getting UNC's offense back the ball with enough time left to tie or go for two and win.
It did not happen.
Instead, Renner was sacked and ran out of time without effective and necessary clock management and throwing away the ball when required.
The facts that he still does not buy into the system, and that he does not show necessary maturity, come from one act. Perhaps not enough. Yet that act was shown to be a result of something he was wrong about, and perhaps what decided the end of the game.
With a fourth and many yards, Renner showed his displeasure of being taken out of the game when UNC punted to Georgia Tech. Perhaps he had no faith in the defense. Or perhaps it was a the belief in himself to do so.
But it was wrong on both accounts.
The UNC defense stiffened and got the ball back to Renner with plenty of time left.
And Renner failed, being sacked twice without throwing the ball away.
The East Carolina game could give Renner some breathing space. But to take them as a certain win will be a horrible mistake.
Renner has another chance to show his maturity, and better judgment, in this game. We will see if this quarterback, whose QB rating is a wonderful 168.9, shows more maturity today. If not, look for Renner to be replaced very soon.
Interim head coach Everette Withers cannot afford to lose many more games. Otherwise, he will not keep his job.